Sexual predators and your children on Instagram - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Sexual predators and your children on Instagram

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MADISON, AL (WAFF) -

Instagram has become a popular way to post pictures online, but what happens when those photos fall into the wrong hands?

DeLisa Locke and her 12-year-old daughter, Kassidy, are spending their evening combing through a popular photo-sharing app known as Instagram.

They're going down the list of Kassidy's "followers," one-by-one, checking to make sure she actually knows them.

That's because up until now, there was at least one person "following" her photos that she didn't know.

"Kassidy had taken a few pictures of herself and was posting them on Instagram. I happened to notice someone that commented on her picture that kind of threw a red flag," said Locke.

The comment said "pretty eyes," and the man who wrote it is at least twice her age.

As Locke continued to look through the photos, she realized this wasn't the first time he tried to reach out to her daughter.

"It made me sick, and it scared me because then I realized how dangerous this situation was," explained Locke.

Locke decided to do some digging to find out who this man is, and what she found, she didn't like.

He was "following" many other pre-teen girls on Instagram, as well as several pornography-type profiles, including one called "Jail bait."

"That's where I realized if your Instagram isn't on private, they can upload your pictures to those jail bait sites and then make comments about those girls," said Locke.

Fortunately, this didn't happen to Kassidy, but it easily could have.

Madison Police said this is a growing problem.

"20-something-year-olds and 30-something-year-olds have no business making friends with 12 and 13-year-olds," added Sgt. Drew Westrope.

This can be easily prevented.

Police say to monitor your kids on all social media sites and apps, know what they are posting and who can see it.

"Get their phones and go through them. You are the parent, and you have the right to do so," said Westrope.

As for DeLisa and Kassidy, they've blocked that potential predator from her profile and turned on the privacy settings to make sure only people she knows can see her photos.

Police have also gotten involved in this case. They are currently working to track down this man. They don't think he lives in the area.

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