NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Imagine getting a knock on your door and it’s a police officer. He’s saying your child is exposing him or herself online.
It happened to Nashville mom April Miller.
“He showed up in plain clothes in a green minivan,” she said. “He said he’d received a tip that my 14-year-old daughter has been online, on this Live.me website, showing her breasts.”
Live.me is a phone app and website that people use to livestream themselves in exchange for virtual coins and gifts from online, often anonymous, fans.
Miller says she didn’t find the app on her daughter’s devices.
“I have been through all of it and it is not her,” Miller said. “I think parents should be aware of this because my daughter has been falsely accused.”
Detective Robert Carrigan was with his partner, Detective Mike Adkins, at Miller’s home that day but couldn’t comment on the case.
He did say that in certain cases they’ll notify the parents if they receive a tip.
“We’re providing a service, at that point, of notification,” said Carrigan. “We don’t know who it is, but here’s the information we got, and we let the parents take their own actions, whatever they think necessary in their own homes.”
He says the trend of teens exposing themselves live online is a rapidly growing, so they try to warn parents by going to their homes and telling them.
“It’s not us accusing anyone of anything,” said Carrigan. “It’s just us providing the information.”
From these “knock and talks,” as they’re called, police will sometimes develop a suspect or they’ll get the teen to stop exposing themselves.
“Our primary objective is to notify the parents, let them know what’s going on with their kids, and the potential danger that’s out there,” explained Carrigan.
Carrigan says he’s had to do more of these notifications as more teens are using apps like Snapchat, Periscope, or live.me.
“It’s been a growing problem over the last few years, especially with the ease of handheld technologies,” he said.
Carrigan says there are some things parents can do to keep their children safe online:
- Know the password to your child’s devices and periodically check into what they’re doing
- Don’t let your kids have their phones or tablets at night
- Keep all computers and laptops in an open space like the living room
Miller has since filed a formal complaint against Carrigan’s partner.
WKRN asked Metro police where they got the tip about Miller’s child. It was through a website called SheepdogBloodhound.org.
The president of that organization described as an “an international voluntary online safety team,” said he can find the location of your child if they’re using Live.me and then give police a tip.