HURRICANE, Utah (ABC4) – The Hurricane Police Department is urging parents to keep an eye out when it comes to children using smart devices. This comes after an investigation involving a 21-year-old man allegedly involved in a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl.
Do you know what your child is doing on their smart devices or who they could be talking to?
“We got a report from the parents that there was potentially a relationship with their 13-year-old daughter who was involved with an older male and it ended up being a 21-year-old,” says Officer Dan Raddatz.
Hurricane Police say the two met on a social media dating app that requires users to be at least 18-years-old.
“I wanted to bring the attention to parents that if you haven’t had these conversations with your kids lately about protecting yourself from, you know, predators, open those lines of communication with your kid about ‘Hey let’s talk about this stuff’,” says Raddatz.
Raddatz says he uses applications to monitor his children’s devices and if parents don’t want to do that, he suggests having conversations about online dangers.
“If I see something on there that’s concerning to me, then we have a conversation about it, but frankly if your kid is spending a lot of time on a phone or if your kid is going out places, hopefully you know where your kid is going and who they’re meeting, but those are conversations to have too,” he says.
Raddatz says adults using dating apps need to be vigilant.
“As an adult, someone over 18 on that dating app, try to verify how old the person you’re dating is, especially if you intend to have some sort of sexual contact with that person,” he says.
In Utah, no child under the age of 14 can give consent to any sexual act.