A local football coach caught a predator attempting to communicate with his 11-year-old son on his son’s Instagram account.
T.J. Bryant, received a notification from his son’s account and immediately realized the conversation between the person and his son wasn’t a kid.
“I was through the roof, I couldn’t control myself enough to even set up a meeting, I couldn’t control what I needed to say or what I felt at the time,” Bryant said.
He noticed words being used that kids his son’s age wouldn’t understand.
“It’s scary because it’s not something you think about, you hear stuff about it but it’s not something at the front of your mind until it actually happens to you,” Bryant said.
His son only uses his Instagram account to post football workout videos and to message his friends, but even after the incident, he plans to keep using the app.
“It’s a delicate balance because you don’t want to shelter them too much but you don’t want to give them too much at one time,” he added.
When Bryant’s son talked to him about the situation, Bryant said his son felt embarrassed, but he saw this as a teachable moment.
While what happened to Bryant and his son did not result in any physical harm, local law enforcement officials are encouraging parents to keep an open dialogue with their kids and their online use of apps.
“Look for secondary pages, a lot of kids have more than one page, they might show a parent one but not the other,” Joey Melvin, a resource officer at Georgetown middle school said.
Melvin went on to say that parents need to be educated on social media and to understand kids behave differently because their brains aren’t fully developed.