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  • App for Kids Asked 10-Year-Old to Send Topless Photo 'to Verify Age'

    The app is supposedly a safe space where kids can have fun playing dress up
    by Lei Dimarucut-Sison .
  • Vigilance has never been as important as it is today when it comes to internet usage. In Prestwick, the United Kingdom, an app that is popular among kids asked a 10-year-old girl to send “a photo of [her] bare chest” to verify her age.

    Cahla McGarry was playing Gacha Life in Amino, an app that lets kids dress up characters and visit different scenes online, when she received a private message that asked her to send a photo of herself with her chest exposed.

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    The message came from a certain Mandy who claims to work at amino, an app that allows you to “explore your interests, tell your story, and find your people.”

    “Welcome to this amino! My name is Mandy and I work with amino!

    “So if you didn’t know. This is a safe space for young girls. We require users to be 14 and younger. If you fit these requirements you can be here,” the intro reads.

    It asked 10-year-old Cahla to send a topless photo to verify that she meets the age requirement needed to use the said app. It also added that this security feature is necessary, and that anyone who will not do it cannot continue using it. 

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    “We also have to make sure that all members here are girls. To verify this I will need from you a photo of your bare chest (with a bra on if you feel uncomfortable) and your age. This is just an extra security feature but all members must do this.

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    “Users that refuse to do this will be permanently banned,” the rest of the message reads.

    Fortunately, Cahla had the presence of mind to show the message immediately to her mom Nicola, instead of replying (or complying) to it. 

    Nicola, a secondary school teacher, was greatly disturbed, and posted a screenshot of the said message on her Facebook page to warn other parents. 

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    “Cahla is a member of an LPS [Littlest Pet Shop] Amino group and just got this message from a supposed member. I’m not sure how popular an app it is but it has very strict moderation. Cahla showed me this straightaway but just to highlight how easy it is for predators to slip through the net,” she captioned her post.

    PHOTO BY play.google.com

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    “It’s a scary world we live in,” she replied to one comment to her post. She also told another commenter that she has taken steps to speak to the apps administrator who had said that they are bringing the matter to the police for investigation. 

    Nicola has parental controls in place in all of Cahla’s devices, The Sun reports, but she realized, “It really does hit home that even in our own houses, kids are never truly safe. Definitely a big lesson learned today,” she said in reply to another comment. 

    “The terrifying thing is there are levels in this app and this user was a 5th level user. This means he/she has been on the app some time undetected,” she added.

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    According to a spokesperson from Amino, “Keeping Amino safe is our top priority. We have zero-tolerance for any type of inappropriate contact with minors.

    “Our team works 24/7 across seven supported languages to remove content and users in violation of our policies.

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    “We automatically remove nude imagery in order to prevent inappropriate content from being sent or received here, and we deploy the most advanced technologies available to assist with the enforcement of these rules.

    “While we are unable to provide any information about this particular case, we report all incidents of child sexual exploitation to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), and we fully cooperate with law enforcement agencies if we receive requests for information.”

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