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Warning: Lip syncing app being used by child predators to exploit children

Warning: Lip syncing app being used by child predators to exploit children. (KATV)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KATV) - An app used by millions across the world is also being used by child predators.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is warning parents that child predators are using the app Musical.ly to exploit children.

It's an app where users can create 15- to 60-second videos, adding music and filters to post on the site, and other users can comment on or like the video.

Rutledge says predators manipulate keywords and hashtags to create secret video groupings of app users, often children, engaging in inappropriate behavior at the encouragement of other users.

Social media expert Emily Dean tells KATV it’s always best to monitor your child’s social media and app usage.

“It is not surprising that this happening online, or in social apps at all ... people have always looked for ways to take advantage of people who are weaker than them, right, and so social media is a place for that to happen ... we see it with cyberbullying, we see it with sexual predators,” said Dean, the director of brand strategy at Cranford Co.

Some key tips to remember when your child is using apps or posting online: parents should consider using available parental controls, and children should never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met online as they may not be who they say they are.

"Anytime your kids are using an app, you need to be aware of what the app is. You need to follow them if it's a social app, so have it on your phone as well so you can see what they're doing and what kind of conversations are happening around them and check their phones occasionally,” added Dean.

Concerned parents are encouraged to report instances of online exploitation of children, including unsolicited obscene materials sent to a child and misleading words on the internet, to the CyberTipline at http://www.missingkids.org/gethelpnow/cybertipline.

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