Do you know who your child is talking to online?

Posted at 6:58 PM, Feb 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-04 18:58:24-05

Do you know who your child is talking to when they're online?

It's a question many parents may be asking themselves after the death of 13-year old Nicole Lovell.

According to authorities in Virginia, Nicole was murdered by a person she met through a popular messenger app called Kik.

The Boynton Beach Police Department has a detective who is part of a task force to help combat the problem with child predators.

Detective Ramos has been part of the South Florida Crimes Against Children Task Force for six years.

He is well aware of what apps children and criminals are using to message people.

"People that are looking to chat with young children keep trying until they find someone that will accept them. As soon as they open the door, they work their way in," the detective said.

He says it's crucial parents are aware of what apps their kids are using on their phones.

Det. Ramos said parents should check their child's cell phone often and even learn their usernames and passwords.

"Look at their phone. If you see an app on their phone and you don't know what it is, sit down at your computer and search and find out what it's about," he said.

He added, "If you child won't give you that, take the phone away. The phone is a privilege, not a right."

The detective said many kids are using these apps because it's easy to get rid of the messages and pictures on their phone, rather than using the standard text message app that comes with a phone.

"A child could easily press on the screen and delete and app and you never knew it was there as opposed to you can't get rid of phone records that Sprint or Verizon has," he said.

Det. Ramos said a child predator will do whatever it takes to track down a victim, "People that want to molest children tell the child everything they want to hear. 'Your parents suck, they don't understand you. You're very mature. You're very beautiful.' They build up their self esteem so high."

Which is why he said it's important to stay alert on what your child is doing online.

"If they have too much free time by themselves, they're going to seek out attention. The internet is a way a lot of people seek out other people."