Apps help predators prey on children online

- It's an all too common sight: mug shot upon mug shot of suspects accused of trying to meet up with children for sex and many predators find their victims online and through mobile apps designed for secrecy.

Tuesday, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd's latest round-up resulted in 19 arrests. For this sting, undercover deputies turned to social media and smart phone apps, pretending to be young children looking for sex. Judd says the predators took the bait.

"These freaks and these deviants are looking for our children online every day," Judd said Tuesday. "There are now apps that conceal apps. It's getting more difficult every day to find and track these very dangerous predators.  But there's one thing for sure, they will not stop trying to trap your children."

Judd pointed out, children may be engaging with predators online and parents may never know. He stressed the importance of parents talking with their children and routinely checking their phones.

The Sheriff's Office didn't single out any particular apps, but it's a concern one Alabama district attorney is tackling head on.

Blount County, Alabama District Attorney Pamela Casey says there are plenty of apps to worry about. Casey posts  weekly "App Alerts" for her Facebook followers, explaining the function and format of apps she says are dangerous for kids.

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