GREENSBORO, N.C. — Chances are you’ve never heard of Emerald Chat. It is the website where 14-year-old Savannah Childress met her abductor William Ice.
The Emerald Chat main page displays this definition:
With Emerald, you can talk to strangers from around the world for free.
The site calls itself the New Omegle, which is a similar website. The key here is, Omegle allows you to chat anonymously, one stranger to another. You don't have to reveal who you are.
“Anytime you hear of an app that allows you to talk anonymously to each other, it's bad,” said Dr. Steve Webb, a Cyber Security Expert.
Webb was interviewed by one of our news partners about the apps parents should be wary of and giving insight into how predators get kids to trust them and have conversations with a stranger.
“It's about building trust, ‘cause that's what pedophiles use to get the kids out of your home. They build trust with them saying how beautiful they are, how they understand others don't want them but they do,” said Webb.
The Emerald Chat site only asked one question when 2WTK went on the site to see what it was about. Male or Female. There was nothing about age, no consent needed, no warning page for minors. One-click and you can begin chatting with strangers.
This is a scary thought that your kids could be on this site chatting with strangers. But there are solutions. Talking with your kid is number one. Knowing what sites they’re on, who they are talking with, etc. is priceless.
But there are parental control apps as well. Consumer Advocate looked at the top parental control apps early this year. Everything from Norton to Bark and Net Nanny. Each one of the apps monitors different things from tracking calls and texts to limiting game time, Youtube monitoring, and safe browsing, even allowing you to view what your child’s screen looks like through remote browsing.