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Report: Predators are using Fortnite, other popular apps to lure kids

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by ZACHARY ROGERS, WKRC

(WKRC) - Authorities say that adult predators are using some phone apps as a way to target and communicate with minors, according to NJ.com.

While some of the apps are considered "communication" apps like "Tumblr" or "Discord" or "dating/hook-up" apps like "Tinder" or "Hot or Not", authorities also say predators are also using popular video games like "Minecraft" and "Fortnite" to reach out to potential victims.

New Jersey State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal warned about the ever-evolving and growing world of internet communication after the arrest of 24 alleged predators.

"It is a frightening reality that sexual predators are lurking on social media, ready to strike if they find a child who is vulnerable," Grewal said, according to NJ.com.

Some of the predators even posed as teenagers to communicate with minors, according to the authorities, but the alleged predators were also tricked in turn. Instead of talking to minors, the alleged predators were instead talking with the New Jersey State Police's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, according to NJ.com.

"These arrests serve as a sobering reminder that parents should closely monitor their child's online activity," State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan said Tuesday, according to NJ.com.

Some of the apps have age restrictions, such as the need to be 18 or older, but users can simply bypass those requirements by entering in false birth-date information. Users can appear to be any age they desire.

Talking to your kids about internet security and best practices is becoming more necessary, as is being aware of those threats.

You can research those topics online or by contacting your local representatives for information. Here is a link to information provided by USA.gov

"If children appear anxious of evasive when the topic is raised, it may be a red flag," Grewal said, according to NJ.com. "It's critical that parents talk to their children about social media and chat apps to let them know that the people they encounter may not be who they initially seemed to be."

Here are some of the apps/video games that New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal warned parents about monitoring:

  • Whisper
  • Skout
  • Grindr
  • Omegle
  • Tinder
  • Chat Avenue
  • Chat Roulette
  • Wishbone
  • Live.ly
  • Musical.ly
  • Paltalk
  • Yubo
  • KiK
  • Hot or Not
  • Down
  • Tumblr
  • Discord
  • Fortnite
  • Minecraft
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