54-year-old Mitchell Riggs, from Bradenton, is behind bars. The Tampa Police Department says he attempted to lure a 13-year-old girl for sex.
"I think it speaks to the level of sickness and depravity of the offender. It's not hard to find a predator," said Darren Jenne, an officer in the internet crimes against children division of the Tampa PD.
Jenne says they found Riggs in a chat room in March and began exchanging text messages with him where they say he described in explicit detail what he wanted to do which included sex and drugs at a nearby hotel. A background check on Riggs showed minor traffic citations but Jenne thinks there is more to his story.
"Statistics show that even amongst sex offenders, they've normally committed between 20 and 40 offenses before they are even caught the first time," he said.
One reason Jenne thinks parents need to pay attention to their kids and what they're doing is that even the best children are vulnerable and curious.
Jenne pointed out an app on phones and tablets that can secretly store video and pictures - one that looks like a calculator but when you open it and put in a certain code it reveals the hidden information.
iPhone users can enable settings that will block your child from installing apps. You can also check your iTunes account to approve each purchase.
- Go to Settings, then General, Then Restrictions and then Enable Password. Choose which options you want.
- You can choose just how secure you want your child’s phone to be.
- Open the play store.
- Find the menu and choose settings.
- Choose Require authentication for purchases.
- You can also disable third-party apps
We found plenty of apps that will take a look at what’s on your child’s phone, too. Net Nanny and WebProtectMe are a few.
What apps do you need to look for?
- App lock
- App Defender
- Privacy Manager
- Privacy Master
- Hide It Pro
But experts say you should also check your child’s phone regularly. Look out for apps that you don’t recognize and do your own research on them.
Jenne says kids are smart and will be exposed to obscene things which is why talking to them can go a long way.
"Explain to them who might they encounter and the types of things that they might ask," he says. "So they know the type of question that should trigger notify mom and dad."