Awareness growing on dangers of messaging apps

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Photo: Video by fox4now.com

Awareness growing on dangers of messaging apps

By Kelli Stegeman. CREATED Feb 21, 2014

FORT MYERS, Fla. - A dangerous week on social media for teens in the area.

The messaging app 'kik' is linked to three serious crimes involving teen victims just this week alone in Southwest Florida. 
 
Most recently, a Golden Gate man allegedly lured a Cape Coral teen het met on 'kik' to his home where he and his friend raped her.
 
This month, the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office and Pasco County Sheriff's Office have warned of apps like these. 
 
How many teens have it here, and how many parents know about it? 
 
19-year-old Dontae Brown told FOX 4 he gets naked pictures sent to him on the site. 
 
13-year-old Savannah Gonzalez recently deleted the app because strangers kept messaging her. 
 
"Asking me where I live. They ask me if they can take me out to go shopping," said Savannah.
 
The teen says 99% of her friends are on 'kik.'
 
"Eventually I deleted 'kik' because it started getting really weird," said Savannah. 
 
It may have been influence from her family that led to her finally delete  the messaging app.
 
"At the end of it, before I deleted 'kik,' I definitely was like 'Yup my mom was right, like she always is," said Savannah. 
 
Her mom Iris closely watched her daughter's phone use. 
 
"Kids are too young to be involved in all of that," Iris said. "Especially greeting strange older people. You've got to be really careful with who your kids are interacting with." 
 
Savannah's older sister, Melissa, and Dad, Emmanuel, jumped in too in making sure she was being safe.  
 
Emmanuel saying he loves his kids too much to have to worry about strangers hurting them. 
 
It seems the family involvement is paying off. 
 
"What advice do you have to people your age who are thinking about getting on it, and who are on it?" asked reporter Kelli Stegeman. 
 
"Delete it," said Savannah. 
 
The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office says involvement, like what the Gonzalez family is doing, is the best thing that can stop these crimes from happening on popular apps like 'kik.' 
 
Without education, law enforcement says they are powerless to stop these types of crimes from happening.
Kelli Stegeman

Kelli Stegeman

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Kelli anchors the 10 p.m. weekend news.