GEORGETOWN, Texas — Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody is urging Central Texas parents to check on how their kids are using cell phones and laptops, specifically one live-streaming app he said is being utilized by pedophiles.
In a tweet from Tuesday night, Chody warns of the "Live.Me" app, saying, "Pedophiles have a virtual window to your child's bedroom" because of the app.
The way the app works is you log in with a phone number, Facebook account or Instagram account. Then you can broadcast live video for anyone to see, which shows a core use of encouraging people to meet and interact with strangers. You do have to be 18 or have consent from parents to use. However, it's easy to get past these restrictions. What might be most concerning is that the app uses geo-location to share videos so users know broadcasters' exact location.
Not only have there been reports of predators utilizing this app to contact younger users, teens and tweens can earn coins -- which some predators are using to pay for pictures. There are also comments on broadcast that are mature, racist or negative.
If you are a parent and find out your teen has this app, it's probably best to just have them delete it. With social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, there are still plenty of ways to go live or create video content. It's not about avoiding online use and interaction, it's about doing so in a healthy, safe manner.