When your children are playing on phone apps, do you know who's watching them?
WASHINGTON (ABC7) —
The young girl you see in the video above is not an adult.
She says to her viewers, "Give me 500 likes and I’ll twerk.”
She gets 500. Sets up her phone, steps back, bends over, and begins to gyrate.
This scene did not play out on an adult website; it was captured from the popular live streaming app, Live.me.
This, and apps like it, are widely popular with kids as young as seven or eight; though the apps themselves say they prohibit use by children.
"They have my favorite songs on them,” 10-year-old Boston told us. “You just click on the app, get ready to perform - sing or dance - and then go live.”
Bryson is 13.
“Yes, I broadcast. And I get a lot of views.”
That's the point of live streaming apps like Live.me, and Musical.ly - to go live and get people to follow you.
However, the Department of Homeland Security has a warning.
“Children are online; they’re streaming with who they think are other children. But often times, they are adults trying to prey on these children,” Assistant Director P.J. Lechleitner tells us.
Along with the DHS, 10-year-old Madison and her mom also want to warn families.
Madison’s mother was livid when she was alerted by an internet security watchdog group that saw Madison interacting on one of the streaming apps with a suspected predator.
“They were like, ‘can you bend over’, ‘can you do a back flip’ so my shirt would go up so they could see,” Madison says.
“There’s little girls undressing, being preyed upon by predators online all over the world,” Madison’s mother explains to us. “They remove clothing, they insert things in their body parts. Meanwhile, on the other side of the screen is what they can't see - a pervert recording them.”
Remorseful, Madison tells us she had no idea. “I didn't know it was bad or like a trick.”
Those images, like the ones Madison’s mom is referring to, often wind up in the child pornography trade, law enforcement officials tell us.
Last year, Homeland Security officers arrested more than 2,600 child predators, all operating in the shadows of these live streaming apps.
Madison’s mom says she had no clue it goes to this extreme.
“I guarantee you 99 percent of parents don't know either.”
“Once an image is online...it never goes away,” Lechleitner says. “And these children will be victimized for the rest of their lives.”
For parents whose children use Live.me, please be sure to read there policies, protocols and terms here: