A horrified mum has described how sexual predators targeted her children on an “innocent looking” social media app.
The app, called Wink, describes itself as “a social network that allows people from all over the world to make new friends” in a way that is “fun, easy, and safe.”
It allows users to make new online friends by swiping either right or left, an identical system to adult dating app Tinder. Users can then add new friends to their existing Snapchat accounts.
But Emma Hann, from Charleston, has revealed her daughters Eva, 11, and Posy, 9, were subjected to “vile” content from a perverted stranger – who asked for explicit images from the girls and also sent inappropriate pictures of himself.
Emma said: “Despite parental filters the girls were able to get on to Wink. It is a very childlike app and appears to be very innocent.
“It links right into Snapchat and immediately gives away your location. My daughters were exposed to some pretty frightening and perverted stuff.
“A sexual predator actually ended up messaging them directly and asking to see them naked.
“He also asked them to lift up their T-shirts and he sent footage of himself wearing boxers – obviously trying to expose himself to them.”
It was only when Emma’s 18-year-old daughter Jennifer got wind of the site that the family addressed the issue.
Emma added: “The girls were out in the garden on Sunday when this was happening.
“Their friend, who is around the same age, was also with them and her mum then began to message the person herself.
“She asked if he realised he was speaking to a nine year old but he just said it ‘was OK’.
“He claimed nobody needed to know what they were doing.
“She kept challenging him but he carried on and again asked to see inappropriate pictures. He told her he was 11, then said he was 14 but in the pictures we could see he was older than that – maybe a teenager.”
On the Apple Store, Wink is advertised as “not a dating app” but as “the best place to make new friends all over the world” which requires users to swipe right to begin a conversation with a “potential new bestie”.
A disclaimer on the site says: “The Wink experience is intended for users age 13 and over. If you know your child is using Wink and is not 13 years of age, please contact us.”
It adds: “No one wants to see inappropriate content, but this is the internet after all.
“Rest assured that we are working hard to remove this sort of content, but sometimes it falls through the cracks.
“If you see something, say something, using our in-app report feature. We have a team working around the clock to manage all reports as quickly as possible.”
Emma has since reported the online encounter to the police – but is also keen to warn other parents of the dangers.
She said: “I am completely shocked at how easy it was for the girls to get on to this app.
“I have filters set up to keep the kids safe but it seems they were able to get past those no problem.”
A Police Scotland spokesman confirmed officers were investigatingn.
He said: “Police Scotland can confirm that a report has been received from the mother of a young girl relating to an inappropriate online conversation.
“Inquiries are under way into the matter.”
The Tele has approached both Apple and the creators of Wink for comment.