Guest column: Shuswap mother warns parents about Whisper

Man says he likes to walk around the house naked in message to 10-year-old girl

Guest column by Tracy Hughes

Last week, I discovered a notification on an old iPhone my kids use to play games.

It has no plan for phoning or text. The notification was from “Anonymous,” so I immediately opened it and discovered my 10-year-old daughter had downloaded an App called “Whisper” which allows people to make memes with cute photos and post them.

Our daughter had created memes with pictures of puppies, ballet shoes and horses with little sayings. Once they are posted, anyone can respond via private chat message or publicly on the post.

To my horror, this chat string contained an inappropriate conversation that included this person telling her that when he was “home alone he liked to walk around the house naked” and then later on said, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could cuddle?”

He also asked if she was from California (to which she said yes, explaining to me that she knew she shouldn’t give out her real location) and her age (which she lied online and said was 17).

I am not justifying her behaviour as she knew this was against our rules, but she chose to break them and will now have consequences.

There were also other chat threads, but none as inappropriate as this.

My daughter’s school and the RCMP have been notified about this situation.

Now before you judge my parenting, my husband and I have had many conversations with our kids about Internet safety.

We monitor the devices, don’t allow passwords, don’t allow use in their bedrooms and have a program installed to limit screen time.

We also had what we thought was software to keep content child-friendly. Apparently, this was not enough.

Our daughter has told us she knows of other kids using this app, so I want to alert parents that I do not believe this is OK. It is designed for anonymous contact and that scares me. But it has millions of views.

Read more: Facebook cracks down on groups spreading harmful information

Read more: Security tips for National Password Day

Read more: B.C. Mounties say porn ransom demand is a scam

This experience has certainly changed the way I will handle screens in my house.

I am just thankful I do monitor enough that we caught this before the situation got any worse.I hope you check your kids’ devices for any of these types of apps, ASAP. The police told me this is not the only one that operates in this fashion and provides a way for strangers to reach your kids.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Gathering in Salmon Arm to offer support, resources after shooting

Agencies join to provide practical assistance from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23 at rec centre

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Clear skies and pushing 20 C

Environement Canada forcasts a sunny and warm Easter weekend

Have your say on proposed ban of single use plastic bags

Salmon Arm to hold public information session on bylaw this Tuesday, April 23

Peeling away: OK strip clubs disappearing

Hear from Penticton’s only strip club owner about their success in a dying industry

Update: Fire destroys Peachland home on Somerset Avenue

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Summerland student examines effects of sound

Science fair project will go to national competition in New Brunswick

Cuteness overload: duckling thinks dog is its mom

Vernon photographer Fiona Hook shot a cute video after noticing one of her ducklings had taken a special liking to her dog.

Fire near Vernon airport “not a concern”

Vernon firefighters attended the scene and found a resident performing a controlled burn

Sons of Anarchy’s Kim Coates stops by Okanagan café

Coates was spotted in West Bank’s Kekuli Café on April 20

B.C. women make 2,200 cabbage rolls for charity

The money raised was donated to former NHL player Aaron Volpatti, who is raising funds for ALS

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

Most Read