Did you know that many apps have messaging systems that don’t always follow your parental settings? Many apps are designed for adults and don’t include settings that would allow you to block strangers or monitor conversations…one mom found this out the hard way when she noticed an inbox on her daughter’s musical.ly app specifically for people that aren’t friends. This ‘other’ inbox was a new feature that many parents didn’t even know to check for. The app defaults to a public profile, and while parents usually changed the settings to ‘private,’ they had no idea about the hidden messages from strangers being sent to their children.
Brenna Jennings has a daughter named Anna, and at first, Jennings loved the fun little videos that her daughter would post. The app allows users to upload silly 15-second videos of them lipsyncing to popular songs…but Jennings had rules.
Anna wasn’t allowed to post her real information, her mother was allowed to pick up her phone at any time to monitor activity, and above all else, the account had to remain private. Anna switched her account back to public, and mom found this horrifying message in the hidden inbox:
It wasn’t the hand gestures or obnoxious song loops or even the swears Anna would always report to me that ended her video career, it was finding that she switched her account to public, had deleted comments, and then this, which I found in her “people you don’t know” mailbox. I trust your judgement with your own kids, but remind you to be diligent in monitoring their activity.”
If Anna had responded, or sent private pictures to this stranger, it could have ended very differently. Child predators use situations like this to blackmail children, and Jennings is just thankful that she spotted it in time.
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