An Illinois father said a popular music app turned dangerous when his 7-year-old daughter nearly fell victim to an online predator.
Madison, 7, alerted her parents when someone she thought was a friend asked her to send a topless photo through the social media app Musical.ly, her dad, Brad Summer of Batavia, told InsideEdition.com
“We thought we did all we could to protect her from those types of things and unfortunately, they got through to us,” Summer said.
Summer told InsideEdition.com he allows his daughter to play on certain apps on his phone.
The latest craze among her friends is Musical.ly, where users can record music videos of themselves lip-synching to their favorite songs.
“[She used it] to create goofy videos with her cousin,” Summer said. “I thought it was fairly harmless. [It was] a good app for them to explore their creativity and make fools of themselves like kids like to do.”
Madison’s experience soured when her dad said someone who identified themselves as 9-year-old Jessy added her as a friend.
“It looked to be a normal child with a profile picture, so we accepted, thinking it was a friend of her cousin’s,” her dad explained.
He later posted screenshots of the other user asking Madison to send pictures, “without T-shirt,” and that it would be a “secret between us only.”
“I realized pretty quickly, once she showed me the request for her without a top or shirt on, which is quite disgusting,” Summer said.
Madison quickly stopped responding and showed her parents the messages.
When the other user became more persistent, Summer responded: “I am her father and I am a police officer.”
Summer is not actually a police officer, but he and his daughter promptly reported the incident to cops.
“I have to give credit to my daughter,” Summer said. “Luckily she brought it to us right away. [She’s a] smart little girl and we commend her on it.”
Summer said he is now sharing the story to warn other parents of the dangers of social media.
“Always communicate with your children and let them know they have a place to turn to,” he said. “The number one thing we taught our kids is that you can always come to us without fear of grounding or [punishment]."
A Musical.ly representative told InsideEdition.com: "The experience this father describes is very troubling for us to hear. That user's behavior toward his daughter is absolutely not acceptable in any online or offline environment.
They add the app is not meant for anyone younger than 13 years old, and they encourage parents to monitor their kids' online activity.
Parents can find more information on Musical.ly's policy regarding safety here.