'Absolutely shocking' - Late Late Show posing as 11 year old girl on social media app receives explicit messages
Late Late Show viewers were shocked by explicit messages received by the show posing as an 11 year old girl on a social media app.
Kik is one of many social media apps which allows users to set up an account anonymously and share messages, photos or videos.
The company this week stated they were investing €10m in increased security.
However, the spotlight has landed on such apps this week after a court case revealed that a paedophile coerced nine-year-old girls to send sexually graphic pictures to him via social media including Instagram, Snapchat and Kik.
On Friday night's Late Late Show, host Ryan Tubridy revealed that the show set up a Kik account masquerading as an 11 year old girl called Aoife who was born in 2006.
"Aoife joined a number of public groups on topics like 'Make Friends', 'Ed Sheeran', 'Buddies 11-18 years' as well as some less savoury groups like 'Celebrating Anorexia'," revealed Tubridy.
He said that these groups and photo sharing was all "easily accessible within a couple of clicks".
Speaking about the contact that was made with Aoife within minutes on the app, he said, "If you are of a delicate disposition you might want to avert your eyes for a few minutes because you won't like what you're going to see and this is the mild end of what we bore witness to this week on the app I can assure you.
"But I do think it's important parents should know what children can be getting involved in."
Tubridy refused to read out some of the "disgusting" messages which appeared on screen for viewers, the first of which had arrived within 8 minutes of setting up the account.
One read, "Who is a girl who wants to see my dick?".
"We spoke to gardai during the week and they told us some stories I couldn't repeat to you," said Tubridy.
"That's how bad it is. You might say plenty of people on these apps are over 18 and perhaps didn't know it was a young child in a public discussion they were having.
"But a couple of hours later we opened up the app again to find a private message from a stranger - remember the profile states the name Aoife and date of birth 2006 - and she received a message at 9.30pm at night."
That message asked her if she wanted to trade nudes.
Tubridy revealed that the person was not the only person to make contact looking for photos over the course of two days. He also said they came across "photos of nake dwomen and girls and inappropriate content" which they opted not to air on the programme."
A panel including child psychologist David Coleman, CyberSafeIreland’s Cliona Curley, and Irish Daily Mail editor Sebastian Hamilton were in studio to discuss the issue, which provoked strong feelings from viewers at home.
Absolutely disgusted by what is being discussed on @RTELateLateShow, shocking think this is happening so openly! We need to put pressure on social media platforms to ensure this can’t happen. Simple step of uploading a passport as age verification would be a start #latelate— Chris Walsh (@chriswalshbray) January 26, 2018
Many kids on social media still believe in Santa, a man coming down their chimney into their home.Yet we expect them to understand how dangerous it is to talk to strangers online. They don’t get it and they shouldn’t have to.Keep them off social media.Let them be kids. #latelate— Anne McCormack (@MentalFitnessXX) January 26, 2018
My work has opened my eyes to the filth that is lurking on the internet in #SocialMedia. Glad I’m not a parent and have to face it. Parents, be vigilant with your child’s online usage- especially messaging apps & social media. #kik #latelate— 🇮🇪LBC☕️ 🇪🇺🌈 (@leftybearcub) January 27, 2018
It must be very hard for parents raising kids in the digital age. Social media has many pros but the major con is that it gives weirdos & bullies a very easy platform to target their victims. #latelate #LateLateShow pic.twitter.com/cLaBCXRVVZ— Vivienne Roche ♈️ (@Caracal77) January 26, 2018
A lot of talk is around smartphones, it's not just phones, an iPad, Samsung tablet which most kids have, can be used for these social apps like kik. But ultimately the responsibility lies with parents who have to monitor on a daily/weekly basis. #latelate— Sean Gilley (@seanisainmdom) January 26, 2018
Oh my god absolutely shocking stuff.. that Kik app and the fake late late profile ... #latelate— Gill Doheny (@Gillers_D) January 26, 2018