Child-care experts warn parents of sexual predators lurking online pretending to be celebrities. Social media sites are the usual targets of pedophiles posing as the child's favorite character.
Fake social media accounts involving celebrities and cartoon characters is one of the most used strategies by sexual predators. Law enforcements points out the possible dangers of leaving children unsupervised while going online, according to BBC.
"Identity assumption by child sex offenders is increasing quite steadily," Detective Inspector Jon Rouse told BBC. "The fact that so many children across the world could believe that they were talking to Justin Bieber and that Justin Bieber would make them do the things that they did, is really quite concerning, I think a re-evaluation of the way we educate children about safe online behavior is really needed."
Detective Rouse shared that a 42-year-old child predator was caught after posing as Justin Bieber to gather photos of the singer's fans, as reported by ABC. One parent raised her concern saying that the predators would usually lure the child into a game, and would end up asking for photos of the child's privates.
"The second message that came up was along the lines of 'all you need to do is send me a photo of you naked or of your vagina.' And then all these messages flew across the screen," one mother shared. "Then the third message said 'don't worry about it. All the girls are sending me these photos. Just do it. It'll be our secret'. And then the last message was 'do it now'."
The internet and social media may be a great tool for information gathering and staying connected but parents should be keen on their child's online activities, as advised by DC Simon Ledger of Cheshire Police during his interview with Daily Mail. Investigators are still on the look out for predators lurking online, thus they're asking for help from parents and educators.