More and more teenagers own a cellphone and they all risk illicit communication from sexual predators. A new app is helping law enforcement shut down those unwanted advancements.
The RADAR app is a mobile monitoring technology created by Robert Lotter, the CEO of the mobile security company, eAgency, according to Newsweek. It records the predators' text messages, social media communication and phone calls made on their mobile devices.
"When I realized how easy it was to exploit children, I made it my personal mission in life to stop this kind of evil from happening," Lotter told Newsweek.
The police can then access information in one convenient location that stores multiples cases, investigations and suspects. RADAR can then help establish a solid timeline from the first communication to the suspect's conviction. The app has a 100 percent conviction rate and helped to convict more than 2,000 predators.
"There were no solutions at the time for law enforcement to monitor or protect, let alone make convictions," Lotter said. "There were no protocols or proven methods of evidence-gathering when cellphones were involved in exploiting children."
Lotter provides his technology service free to all law enforcement, and evidence collected from the app is fully admissible in court.
Young victims still need to speak up when confronted by unwelcomed messages. One in seven U.S. teenagers who "regularly use the Internet" have received an "unwanted sexual solicitation online," according to the Crimes Against Children Research Center. Of those cases, 75 percent won't tell their parents about it.
Usually, predators start their communication innocently, according to the FBI. They pose as teenagers and build a relationship based on similar interests over a matter of days or months. Once they have cultivated trust with their victim, they bring up sexual topics, ask for explicit pictures or arrange to meet up in person.
Several apps exist for parents to monitor their children's activity on mobile devices. Lotter's company has My Mobile Watchdog, which works mainly with Android phones. Parents can see text messages and pictures, block websites, and turn off apps during designated time periods.
The TeenSafe app works with iPhones and Androids, as well as social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. Parents can view deleted text messages, locate their child's phone and monitor web browsing.