As phones get smarter, parents need to be informed of how sexual predators could potentially use free apps to get to kids.

13News investigates apps that could be opening the door to these predators.

Instagram, Vine and Snapchat are just some of the smart phone applications teens are gravitating to.

13News Anchor Vanessa Coria investigated some apps that parents may not be aware can be used as a gateway for sexual predators such as:Omegle, iMeetzu and Kik.

'The best way to find a kid is to use what the kids use,' Chesapeake Det. Kristin Davis Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit tells 13News.

'So all of these are easy to use. They're kid-friendly and they're free.' Davis adds, 'You don't have to pay for them so the kids just go on and download whatever they want.'

While apps such as Snapchat promise that photos taken disappear within seconds, Davis says, 'You think they disappear but people can take screen-shots of them.'

'As a parent you have to parent,' Davis warns of internet access for kids. 'This is the age of social media and the internet and it's constantly evolving. It's constantly changing and we can't keep up with it. The technology every day advances.'

Ryan Stewart, the father of a teenage girl in Virginia Beach tells 13News, 'These things aren't going away. They're not going to be more restricted. So as parents we have to be more diligent.'

'You have to monitor it just as you do your house,' Stewart said of the internet. 'You wouldn't leave your house wide open every night.'

Read or Share this story: