Child Predators Leverage Popular Online Communication Platforms

Child predators are using popular social media applications to scout and initiate contact with potential victims, especially those communication platforms that are popular among a younger demographic—under the age of 18. A number of these applications advertise privacy-centric features such as end-to-end encrypted messaging, direct messing capabilities, and the ability for users to share photos, videos, and their physical location.

  • Child predators, after initially contacting and developing a rapport with victims on one platform, may convince them to move their communications to a different platform to isolate them from other users and make it more difficult for law enforcement to monitor and track predator activity.

  • Although the popularity, features, and usage of communication applications may change rapidly due to acquisitions and rebranding, the following is a list of applications that are known to have been used by predators to target minors.


Please note, while dating mobile applications and communication platforms can be exploited for predatory intentions this list excludes dating apps.

Parents and guardians are encouraged to check application review sites before downloading such as Common Sense Media, Protect Young Eyes and Smart Social.


Download PDF

The NTIC is governed by a privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties protection policy to promote conduct that complies with applicable federal, state, and local laws. The NTIC does not seek or retain any information about individuals or organizations solely on the basis of their religious, political or social views or activities; their participation in a particular noncriminal organization or lawful event; or their race, ethnicities, citizenships, places of origin, ages, disabilities, genders, or sexual orientations. No information is gathered or collected by the NTIC in violation of federal or state laws or regulations.