Emma Hann issued a warning to other parents after her daughters were targeted by a pervert on a social media app.
Eva, 11, and Posy, 9, were sent pictures by a stranger who asked to see them naked.
Emma said he sent them messages after making contact on Wink, an app for finding new Snapchat friends, which they managed to download despite parental filters.
Rather than relying on schools to educate youngsters to the dangers lurking in social media, mum-of-13 Emma, from Dundee, reckons parents need to be as vigilant as they can and that providers like Wink and Tik Tok must be more proactive in policing users.
Like many children of their age, Eva and Posy enjoy making up dance routines and sharing short videos of them with their friends on Tik Tok.
On the popular app, they stumbled across Wink, which allows people to add friends on Snapchat by swiping right.
Emma explained: “For the younger kids especially during lockdown there wasn’t much to do so they were making up Tik Tok dances and Wink was advertising itself through Tik Tok.”
The app states users must be aged over 13, however its icon is appealing to younger children and Emma said: “It’s a bit like a kids’ Tinder.”
The incident was reported to police and Emma now insists her children ask permission before downloading apps and said both social media providers and parents have a duty to children.
She said: “People sometimes think schools have to solve all the problems.
“We as parents have to protect our children.
“I don’t think it’s realistic to expect parents to have everything locked down – kids are living in a different world to the one we did – it’s about learning how to live with it.
I know an iPhone in my children’s hands is a danger, it’s about being able to help them know what the risks are.”
Mum Emma Hann
“I know an iPhone in my children’s hands is a danger, it’s about being able to help them know what the risks are.”
She said it was often difficult for adults to keep up with apps which seem designed to outwit them, and that she turns to her older children for advice on aspects of social media.
Several local schools recently issued warnings to parents after learning that children had been distressed to see a video on Tik Tok which showed a man committing suicide.
Emma said: “We are shocked when these things happen but then we are sitting with these devices in our hands.
“We like having the instant access to information, news, but with that comes an underside.
“Tik Tok needs to take more responsibility for what is being put out there, but it is difficult. With FaceTime, someone could literally do what that guy did.”
Wink is described by its creators as a “fun, easy and safe” social network for making friends.
It said it appeared the conversation may have occurred on Snapchat but that it was willing to cooperate with police requests as received.
It also said: “Wink takes users’ safety very seriously and is committed to protecting users on the platform.
“Our app is intended for users aged 13+ to make new friends.
“We have many safety measures in place to ensure user safety, including a 24/7 moderation team, technology that scans for inappropriate images and words, in-app reporting that is directly reviewed by our moderation team, separate communities within the app for users under 18 and 18+, a profile verification process that ensures users are talking to who they think they are, and more that you can view on our website: getwinkapp.com/safety.
“Keeping young children off of social media that is designed for ages 13+ is a challenge that all social media companies face, and we are continually looking for ways to enhance the safety of users.”
Police Scotland said its inquiry into the incident was ongoing.