WARSAW — Around 50 parents, grandparents, educators and teens gathered at the Baker Youth Club last night, Dec. 7 for an informational presentation, Trending Apps & Teens.
The presentation was separated into two different groups.
The teens joined officers from the FBI and the Fort Wayne Police Department in a room separate from their parents. The officers gave the teens an inside view of how teens are targeted and lured into dangerous situations through various popular apps.
Clinton Faupel, from Remedy Live, taught the adults about trending apps and their possible dangers.
“All of these apps were created for good things,” said Faupel. “We just have people using them in bad ways.”
Some of the apps that Faupel talked about were Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Meet Me, Tinder, Seeking Arrangement, Yik Yak, Ask FM, KIK Messenger, Whisper and After School.
His advice to parents were to download these apps themselves and become familiar with how they work. He also encouraged parents to open up a dialogue with their children about how to safely use the apps.
“This is an extension of our kid’s persona. This is how our kids are communicating.”
Crista Miller, from Fort Wayne, also spoke to both the parents and teens during the event. Miller’s daughter was put into a human trafficking situation around April of this year when her daughter started using apps dangerously. She spoke to the groups as a parent and as someone who has done research on these sometimes dangerous apps.
“The reason why I do what I do is because I want you to know that if your family is in crisis, if there is a child in need in your house, it’s absolutely OK to look for help,” explained Miller.
She shared the story of her daughter’s situation. After Miller’s daughter was safe and in therapy, Miller asked her why she didn’t reach out to her parents for help. Her daughter replied that she was scared she was going to get into trouble.
Miller explained that “kids in crisis don’t think.” It’s up to the parents to bridge the generation gap and become educated with how their children are communicating.
At the end of the presentation, both Miller and Faupel named a few services that can help protect teens and how they access the internet. SafeGuard Tek, Net Nanny and TeenSafe were the services most recommended.
Remedy Live also has live chats available for teens online and through texting. They have a team of trained professionals available to talk to teens about depression, sexuality, self-harm and suicide 24/7.