I guess the bullets have stopped flying long enough for me to post about another topic I’ve been covering for years, online predators. Back at the height of my online notoriety, I would post stories about crime from almost every active social network at the time. It started with the MySpace generation, and I’ve followed social media trends up until today. Sadly, I no longer have the time to focus on the ills of every social network or app. However, there are two that continually grab my attention since I feel like they’re not being covered in the media enough. Those would be the mobile messaging app Kik, and the ‘talk with strangers’ chat site Omegle. This story has both.
But before we get started with the story, I guess I should tell any new readers what Kik and Omegle are. Kik is a messaging app in the vein of AIM or MSN Messenger, except for mobile devices like phones and tablets. You can also start or join chat rooms on Kik. Many of the chat rooms are full of sex offenders, pedophiles, child porn collectors, and child traffickers.
Omegle, on the other hand, is a good old-fashioned website that can be accessed from any web browser. Let me be absolutely clear about Omegle. It is not an app. It can be accessed from any device that has internet connectivity. Omegle allows you to chat on cam with random strangers without performing any type of real age verification. Omegle says the chats are monitored, but history says otherwise.
25-year-old Tyler Josephs of Crestwood, Kentucky, is said to have gone to Omegle and engaged in a chat with someone who was advertising they have a 7-year-old daughter. Using the screen name ‘daddytyler2020’, Josephs moved the conversation to Kik. Allegedly, Josephs asked the person he was chatting with for explicit images of the 7-year-old girl. As you can probably guess, the man with the 7-year-old girl was actually an FBI agent, and there was no 7-year-old girl. I know some of you are about to leave a comment saying this is entrapment. It isn’t, stop typing.
In shades of ‘To Catch a Predator’ Josephs allegedly told investigators that he requested the pictures of the 7-year-old girl, so he could gather evidence and contact authorities. He also said that he had reported other bad actors to the platforms he found such material. Although, he couldn’t name any of those platforms. He sounds like a stand-up citizen, doesn’t he? Except that he was also said to be found in possession of 100 explicit images of younger females on his phone. He eventually admitted to investigators that he had ‘an interest’ in 14 and 15-year-old girls.
If I had a nickel for each creeper that said they were going to report the explicit content they’ve found online, I’d have a lot of nickels, and that would be a weird way to make a living. I enjoy how these criminal masterminds think they’ve come up with a line they think cops have never heard before.
If your kids have the Kik app on their phone or tablet, review their communications and friends list on it to make sure they’re not talking to anyone inappropriate. For Omegle, you’ll have to check their web browser history to see if they’ve been using it. Also, consider having a no devices rule for your kids’ bedrooms after lights out.
Lastly, you would think I wouldn’t have to say this, but this is the country we live in now. This is what a real groomer does. This is how they gain access to your children. Instead of worrying about your kids’ teachers forcing them to transition or Disney turning your kids gay, worry more about some random guy they’ve met online.
Source: Crestwood man facing more than 100 child pornography charges