If your kids or grandkids use social media, it’s incredibly important to be vigilant. You need to understand how apps like TikTok, Snapchat, and Messenger work in order to protect them.
A recent case in Michigan shows just how easy it is for predators to get to kids.
United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison says 21-year-old Nikolas Mariani of Royal Oak repeatedly abused underage girls that he met online.
Maraini admitted that back in 2020, he coerced a young girl he met on Snapchat to send him sexually explicit images. Police found another 14-year-old girl he met via Snapchat hiding half-naked under the man’s bed. They also say DNA evidence linked him to a third incident where he picked up a third girl from her home, engaged in unlawful sexual acts, and left her in a parking lot.
“This offender serially exploited minors that he met online. Our office will work tirelessly to pursue and prosecute individuals who exploit vulnerable children,” U.S. Attorney Ison stated.
“The sentence handed down in this case reflects the serious nature of the crimes committed by this defendant, which are particularly troubling given his repeated efforts to harm and exploit minors,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “The FBI is committed to protecting the most vulnerable members of our society – our children – and to bringing predators like Mariani to justice.”
. The most important thing you can do to protect your kids from online predators is to monitor their social media activities. And remember that it isn’t just messaging apps like Snapchat or Messenger that allow people to contact your kids.
Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and an uncountable number of games also have messaging functions that allow your children to connect with strangers. Watch them like a hawk.