Derry father’s warning as child targeted by online predators

An icnreasing number of children have access to smart phones.
An icnreasing number of children have access to smart phones.

A Derry man has spoken of his disgust after intercepting a social media video call to his child’s phone by a grown man conducting lewd acts.

The man said he wanted to alert other parents after his 12-year-old daughter was targeted by a man misusing the popular social networking App ooVoo.

More and more young children are using smartphones and apps in the digital age.

More and more young children are using smartphones and apps in the digital age.

The man told the ‘Journal’ that his daughter’s classmates were also aware of the same man- using a certain name and using a profile pic of a young boy with a mobile phone- targeting other children locally over the internet.

A number of other parents across Derry have also previously expressed concerns about their children being exposed to sexual predators via social media over recent weeks.

The man said despite the boy on the profile, when opened, this switches to a live video of a man in his 20s or 30s engaged in a lewd act.

The Derry man said the predator- who had disguised his face by keeping it out of camera shot- continued with his actions when his wife answered their daughter’s phone, but swiftly disappeared when he took the phone himself.

“I want to let people know that this new craze with this site is being abused. There is somebody on there that is abusing it. Wains shouldn’t be seeing this sort of stuff.

“He has tried to ring many times, and once they have access and are accepted they can get into Facebook, photos and everything.”

The man said his daughter fortunately had not answered any of the man’s calls after hearing from other young people that he is not who he says he is.

“I want to make it clear to parents that they should check their children’s phones.

“These sort of things are attracting young, young children and I want them to be aware of that.”

The Journal yesterday made ooVoo aware of the parental concerns expressed and the name on the profile that has sparked these concerns locally.

A spokesperson for ooVoo told the Journal: “ooVoo is a closed network and we recommend you only accept friend requests from your friends, family and people you know and trust.

“We take security and privacy issues very seriously and have a chief privacy officer who extracts and deletes any accounts which may place children, or any ooVoo user, at risk.”

The spokesperson added: “ooVoo has a strict policy of users being 13 years of age and older.

“ooVoo also has a dedicated network operations and security team and we spend significant resources maintaining and enhancing the security of our network from outside threats in order to provide our users with the safest possible experience.

“These are issues for the social network industry as a whole and we all must strive to provide our users a safe and private user experience.”

SDLP Derry & Strabane Councillor Brian Tierney earlier this month urged parents and schools to ensure children are aware of the dangers of social media sites after another 12-year-old Derry girl was sent explicit images via a smart phone App.