CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- The 11-year-old boy who drove himself from Simpsonville to Charleston said he did so to live with an unknown male that he met on Snapchat.
A recent study showed that 69% of children from 13-17 years old use Snapchat. These statistics don’t factor in the number of kids using the app under the age of 13 because that is the minimum age to create an account.
However, it’s fairly simple to cheat the system and type in a fake birthday. Snapchat doesn’t require any real documentation of one’s age; leading to an unknown amount of users under the age of 13.
Officer Christopher Braun from the Charleston Police Department discovered the 11-year-boy before he reached his destination. Luckily, he wasn’t hurt and was reunited with his family shortly after.
The case is shedding light on the dangers of social media; especially in younger children. Chief Luther Reynolds of the Charleston Police Department says that parents must be overprotective when it comes to the internet.
“There’s people that troll regularly-predators, pedophiles, and all kinds of groups of people that if given the opportunity they’re going to victimize people,” says Reynolds.
He urges parents to be invasive with their children’s phones; know their passwords, see who they are texting late at night, and communicate with them often.
“But just like anything kids need boundaries. I need boundaries. My family needs boundaries,” says Reynolds. “When you put a tool like that in a kid’s hands, and you don’t have the conversations like we’re having right now, it’s a recipe for disaster.”
Knowing how deadly the internet can be, how can one know how much exposure is alright? Chief Reynolds says that parents need to be asking themselves these questions often.
Charleston PD and Simpsonville PD are looking into the person that the 11-year-old boy was trying to meet. The investigation is on-going at this time; updates will follow as soon as we know more.
For more information on Internet Safety, follow this link.