In today’s briefing, Detective Dave digs into his years of experience to talk about online safety for kids, and how parents can better understand the brave new world of apps and platforms where some children are at risk of abuse.Read Transcript
Dave: [00:00:04] Hello, and welcome to The Briefing Room. I’m Detective Dave.
Gary: [00:00:08] And I’m Gary Scott, producer of The Briefing Room and Small Town Dicks.
Dave: [00:00:12] Today’s episode called Online Safety is one that may be familiar to listeners of Small Town Dicks.
Gary: [00:00:19] Yeah, we actually released this in 2022 on our Patreon feed, and then later in the year on our Small Town Dicks feed. And we’re going to release it again, this time within The Briefing Room world. We wanted to talk about why. And so, Dave, let me just ask right up front, why are we releasing this episode again?
Dave: [00:00:38] Great question. I don’t like when we reuse episodes, except when it’s an episode that has the potential for some impact. This episode, for me, is the one chance that we get as police to be a little bit proactive about prevention and safety. Over the course of my career, I would say that online safety was probably the number one topic that I was asked about by parents. So, I figured it would beneficial to revisit and help arm our parents with more information.
Gary: [00:01:14] I’ll also say, this episode, for anybody who’s coming to listen to The Briefing Room for the first time, those people have never heard this before, and I think you’re right, Dave, this one’s really important. So, maybe tell us a little bit, why is it important? What does this episode offer for parents, for children, anybody who might be listening to it?
Dave: [00:01:33] I’d say the most valuable thing you’ll hear in this episode is actual information that is actionable for parents. It provides them with information about spyware applications that they can install on their child’s phone that gives them visibility into what’s going on in their child’s life. So, really the value for me is just arming parents with information that they otherwise aren’t aware of or potentially don’t know all the facts that maybe law enforcement can give parents some of the lessons learned that we’ve learned over the years and through cases that we’ve investigated with other parents.
Gary: [00:02:11] Right. And to clarify so that people understand what they can find from this, when you are talking about online safety, you are talking about parents and children being on social media, on the Internet, and what they might find there, how they’re acting, their behavior, their culture that’s growing around popular sites, etc.
Dave: [00:02:30] Correct. It’s to advise parents and children that there are folks out there who don’t have you or your child’s best interest at heart that this presentation gives parents a little bit more awareness of the types of apps that children might install on their phones that allow children to hide nefarious activity, illegal activity, dangerous activity. I’d really wanted this presentation to give parents the courage to have difficult conversations with their kids. It’s worth the discomfort, it’s worth the stress to have to talk with your kids about what is potentially out there and what your expectations of your children are when they’re online.
Gary: [00:03:12] I’ve reedited this episode every time, and I learned something new each time I listen. And Detective Dave, this was also the impetus for The Briefing Room, this episode. I mean, not every episode is about the same subject matter, but this idea of educating people about not only what law enforcement does, but information to keep themselves more secure and, as you say, to have difficult conversations. Tell us a little bit about how does this episode really relate to what The Briefing Room is trying to do.
Dave: [00:03:44] When I contrast our podcast, Small Town Dicks with The Briefing Room, one thing jumps out immediately. Small Town Dicks is specific to cases. It follows a detective and a crime from the commission of the crime all the way through prosecution, if that happens. We noticed over the years that we are getting a lot of questions from listeners. Our listeners want to know about more nuanced topics within law enforcement, that sometimes it’s not about a certain case, that it’s about a topic, or a procedure, a policy, a training issue.
[00:04:23] The Briefing Room really was kind of an offshoot of us trying to deliver information to our listeners via Patreon, and it morphed into something bigger and has resulted in us just breaking out The Briefing Room as its own separate podcast, something our listeners might not be aware of.
[00:04:45] Two recordings really have driven the creation of The Briefing Room. One is a conversation that was released a couple of weeks ago with defense attorney, Lissa. We had that conversation two plus years ago and really could not find an appropriate home for that conversation on our list of episodes with Small Town Dicks. So, we held onto that conversation knowing the value of it and that our listeners would really enjoy Lissa and her perspective on things, and good-natured ribbing along the way.
[00:05:22] In addition, the release of our Online Safety episode on Patreon generated quite a bit of discussion about whether or not that episode should be available for everyone. We listened to our audience and we agreed that information should be out there, it should be available. We want this to be really a two-way street where listeners can reach out to us and say, “Hey, I’ve got an idea for a topic. Can you talk about this?” We respond in our next season by addressing what our audience wants to hear. So, let’s get into it. Here is Online Safety.[The Briefing Room intro]
Dan: [00:06:04] In police stations across the country, officers start their shifts in the briefing room.
Dave: [00:06:10] It’s a place where law enforcement can speak openly and candidly about safety, training, policy, crime trends, and more.
Dan: [00:06:17] We think it’s time to invite you in.
Dave: [00:06:19] So, pull up a chair.
Dan and Dave: [00:06:21] Welcome to The Briefing Room.[The Briefing Room theme playing]
Dave: [00:06:36] On this week’s Briefing Room, we’re talking about Online Safety. With me today, I have Dan.
Dan: [00:06:44] Good afternoon.
Yeardley: [00:06:45] [laughs] Did you forget where you were?
Dan: [00:06:48] I had to look at my watch.
Yeardley: [00:06:49] [laughs]
Dave: [00:06:49] And Emmy Award winning actress, Yeardley Smith.
Yeardley: [00:06:53] Good afternoon.
Dave: [00:06:54] Always enjoyable.
Yeardley: [00:06:55] [laughs] It is always enjoyable. So, Dave, you have a very special episode for us today.
Dave: [00:07:02] I do. It’s kind of like a public service announcement. Due to my past caseload involving child abuse, sexual assault, there’s some overlap with those cases in which we have children who are exposed to dangerous people on the Internet and social media apps. So, it became fairly apparent that we needed to have some sort of outreach to schools, students, and parents about online safety, about being aware of online activity. So, Detective Jeff, my former partner, Detective Matt, and I would do presentations throughout the year at different events. Parenting events, school events. We’ve done school assemblies. We’ve also been in a more intimate setting where we are just speaking to health classes in high schools. Very positive feedback to these presentations.
Yeardley: [00:08:02] From both students and parents?
Dave: [00:08:04] Students, parents, and faculty. I imagine thinking about my high school days. If a detective, or a police officer, a firefighter, or an attorney, were they to come into my classroom and give a presentation on their subject matter, I would have been engaged. So, in these opportunities, you never know how us boomers are going to come across [Yeardley laughs] to high school aged folks.
Yeardley: [00:08:30] You’re a little young to be a boomer, by the way. I crest the very last year of boomerness. Don’t consider myself a boomer, actually.
Dave: [00:08:38] No, I don’t consider anyone either here. Eight years old on TV. [Yeardley laughs] So, giving these presentations extremely important from the outreach perspective and from prevention. In this instance, I tailored this presentation to be focused towards parents and them being aware of what’s out there, both the good and the bad, when it comes to smartphones, online safety, that type of thing.
Yeardley: [00:09:06] Did you find they were often surprised?
Dave: [00:09:09] Always.
Yeardley: [00:09:10] Really?
Dave: [00:09:10] Very surprised. I think some parents have their finger on the pulse of their child’s activities, both at home, and when they’re away, and outside of their parents’ supervision. Other parents might have their head in the sand or just be naive and think, “My child’s not going to be exposed to that or my child would never put themselves in a situation where they’d be unsafe.” So, this is fairly broad. Some of the information is fairly obvious. In other situations, parents go, “I never even thought of that.” So, take from this what you will. This is my general parent safety presentation.
Dan: [00:09:50] I’d say, if you’re a parent and there’s one episode you could ever listen to, this is the one.
Yeardley: [00:09:57] This is it.
Dave: [00:09:58] It’s important stuff. So, Detective Matt and I would start out these types of presentations with a survey where we just ask the audience some questions, have them raise their hand, if they do this. If not, we educate our audience.
Yeardley: [00:10:13] Can you tell us what those questions were?
Dave: [00:10:15] Yeah. So, I would start with, “Raise your hands. How many people in here allow their child to have a smartphone, show of hands?”
Yeardley: [00:10:24] All the hands go up for the most part.
Dave: [00:10:26] Always 95 plus percent. Most kids, it seems right now, are probably getting phones. 9, 10. I mean, elementary school kids are getting smartphones. There’s utility in that because it makes communication a lot easier. It makes finding out where your child is a lot easier. So, I see usefulness in these devices. At the same time, there’s a darker side to children having that kind of access to an online community and social media apps. So, I would ask, “Who here has a child with a smartphone?” Bunch of hands go up. “How many parents actually monitor your child’s screen time?” Fewer hands go up. “How many parents monitor the actual apps that their child is downloading?” Fewer hands go up. “How many parents know their child’s passcode to get into the phone?” Just a couple hands go up. “And how many parents have an actual contract with their child regarding use and abuse of these devices?” Couple hands go up.
[00:11:32] The contract to me is, I, the parent set down some ground rules for my child on what’s acceptable online behavior and what isn’t. There’s some sanctions tied to use and abuse of these devices. If you’re not getting your homework done, the sanction is, you lose what’s near and dear to you like, Xboxes, and PlayStations, and smartphones. I’ve been to family disputes, and it was over one of those luxury items in a child’s life being taken away, like, a cell phone. The fights between teenage kids and their parents over being denied the use of a cell phone or being grounded from it, I’ve been to some big fights.
Yeardley: [00:12:16] Wow.
Dave: [00:12:17] Screaming and yelling.
Yeardley: [00:12:19] Enough where the police had to be called?
Dave: [00:12:21] Exactly. So, it’s a big deal. It’s applicable to anybody whose child has a smartphone. I talk about teen sexting, which is texting but sexual matters. Sexual in nature. Years ago, we had an issue where a female had sent a revealing photo to her boyfriend, high school aged, and made the boyfriend promise, “You’re not going to pass that around to your buddies.” Within a matter of days, almost everybody in this high school had seen this photo.
Yeardley: [00:12:57] Argh.
Dave: [00:12:58] That happens all the time. Nowadays, you think about the ease to transfer a file to somebody else.
Yeardley: [00:13:07] Sure.
Dave: [00:13:08] All I have to do is hit forward and I can forward a photo or a screenshot or whatever to my circle of friends, and I have trust that they’re not going to pass that on to anybody else. Pretty soon, it’s like a forest fire. It swept the entire school. We’ve had cases where somebody was unaware that their photo had been disseminated to numerous other people until about a week and a half later when somebody in a completely different city, in a completely different high school recognized it was their friend in the photo, and were like, “Hey, by the way, are you aware this photo of you is making its rounds?” Absolutely horrifying to this high school age girl. I mean, you can imagine how devastating that is. So, it’s a big problem.
[00:13:55] So, I get into statistics when it comes to sexting and this kind of subject matter. Average child gets their cell phone at right around 10 years of age. The percentage of children who have received content from someone else that made them uncomfortable, 20%. One out of five kids admits to getting something, they were like, “Ooh, I don’t know if I should see that or I’m uncomfortable.”
Yeardley: [00:14:24] Mostly from people they don’t know?
Dave: [00:14:27] From people they do know or it’s someone they met on an app, agreed to give a screen name or a phone number. It’s like catfishing. I think that this person is my age turns out, it’s a 35-year-old guy.
Yeardley: [00:14:42] Sex offender.
Dave: [00:14:43] Sex offender, who’s reaching out to kids because the internet is now a playground for sex offenders. How many kids have shared a private photo or info or videos with a stranger online? What’s your guess, Yeardley, percentage of children who have engaged in that kind of behavior with a complete stranger online?
Yeardley: [00:15:03] I’m going to say 10%, but that seems incredibly high.
Dave: [00:15:08] 55%.
Yeardley: [00:15:09] [gasps] Oh, my God.
Dave: [00:15:12] Over half of kids have shared something sensitive with a complete stranger online. Percentage of children who have sent a sexual image to someone they only knew online, never met them in person, 15%.
Yeardley: [00:15:26] Oh, my.
Dave: [00:15:28] Percentage who have sent a sexual image to a boyfriend or a girlfriend, what do you think that number is?
Yeardley: [00:15:34] That’s got to be high. I want to say, like, 80%.
Dave: [00:15:37] 70%.
Yeardley: [00:15:37] Wow.
Dave: [00:15:39] Percentage where the sender had a sexual image shared with the recipient’s friend. So, person sends a photo thinking, “It’s only going to my boyfriend,” or this person. Percentage of people who have had that trust betrayed and that image was forwarded on to other folks who weren’t the intended recipients, 39%. Largest demographic of internet porn consumers, 12 to 17 years of age. That’s the largest population of people who consume or watch internet pornography.
Yeardley: [00:16:14] Oh, my God.
Dave: [00:16:17] The last, this one’s important. I have it underlined in my presentation. Percentage of children who would change their behavior if they knew their parent was monitoring their activity, 43%.
Yeardley: [00:16:30] Only 43%?
Dave: [00:16:32] Only 43. I think there’s probably an aspect where some kids are like, “My parent would never do that anyway.” But we have almost one out of every two saying, “Yeah, if I knew I was being watched, I’d be a lot more cautious and a lot more conservative with the types of activities I engage in online.”
Yeardley: [00:16:53] Do you know the source of those percentages you just gave us?
Dave: [00:16:57] I got that information off a website that is www.guardchild.com, G-U-A-R-D child dotcom, one word. So, guardchild.com has this set of metrics.
Dave: [00:17:26] I get into apps, specific apps and social media that have been popping up on law enforcement radar. These change like the tide. One app will be popular and then it’s replaced by something else. So, these apps are always evolving. And the list that I have here is probably overcome by events that things have changed since then. So, I have a graphic and it’s titled, 10 Apps Teens are Using that Parents Need to Know, and this is a big one. Parents start to perk up. After those statistics, they’re intrigued, and then you let them know, “Here’s what you should be looking for on your child’s phone.”
[00:18:10] Some of these apps are kind of sneaky. They hide themselves and their true intentions. Be it an app that the icon is a calculator. It looks like the calculator on your iPhone, but that’s actually got a password that you can enter and it’s really just a folder, a locked folder, a vault that you can open up and save images into that app that when your parents get your phone, it just looks like the calculator app. The app still acts like a calculator if you want to do that, but if you enter your pin, it opens a folder.
Yeardley: [00:18:47] I see.
Dave: [00:18:48] Sneaky. So, we have the calculator app.
Yeardley: [00:18:51] And that’s what it’s called the calculator app?
Dave: [00:18:53] There’s differing names. They change. I’ve seen Keepsafe. There’s an app like that. It’s a vault app. We call them vault apps. It’s an archive. Omegle. I had a case years ago with Omegle. O-M-E-G-L-E. It’s an app that children would first probably get exposed to on YouTube, watching YouTube videos, and there were ads associated with Omegle, and that’s how I came across it.
Yeardley: [00:19:21] What would be appealing about that app to a child?
Dan: [00:19:24] That app is appealing to a child because it’s random. There’s no real identifying information. You can come up with your own screen name. It’s fairly anonymous. That app puts you in touch with complete strangers. It’s the whole point of the Omegle app is. It’s a free online chat website that promotes chatting anonymously to strangers. That’s fine for adults.
Yeardley: [00:19:47] I’ve never heard of Omegle.
Dave: [00:19:49] I hadn’t either, but I had a case with an eight-year-old who had this Omegle app. Her parents were unaware of it on her smartphone. She had downloaded this app, and got put in touch with an adult who started soliciting sexual images from this eight-year-old. Horrible.
Yeardley: [00:20:08] Horrible.
Dave: [00:20:09] Right. That case was resolved by the parents getting into this girl’s phone. After bedtime, they could hear her chatting in a video.
Yeardley: [00:20:19] Like a FaceTime video, sort of.
Dave: [00:20:21] Right. So, the parents bust into the girl’s room and they’re like, “What are you doing?” And she’s like, “Oh, mm, nothing.” They get into her phone and they say, “What is this?” The app was running on her phone, and the parents start digging and see this chat history, and they’re horrified, and then the police get called. Good job, parents.
Yeardley: [00:20:39] Yeah.
Dave: [00:20:41] Let’s see. The Yellow app, it is just like a yellow-colored box icon. Yellow is an app designed to allow teens to flirt with each other in a Tinder like environment.
Yeardley: [00:20:51] [gasps]
Dave: [00:20:52] Right. Cringe. Whisper app, an anonymous app where the creators promote sharing secrets and meeting new people. ASKfm. Ask anonymous question, get answer. This app has been linked to the most severe forms of cyberbullying, hot or not.
Yeardley: [00:21:14] I’ve heard of that one.
Dave: [00:21:15] Right. Strangers basically rating your photos whether they think you’re hot or you’re not. Burnbook, users are able to post anonymous rumors about other people.
Yeardley: [00:21:26] What the–
Dave: [00:21:27] Yeah. Wishbone, an app that allows users to compare kids against each other and rate them on a scale, talking about looks.
Yeardley: [00:21:34] Who would compare kids?
Dan: [00:21:37] Who do you think?
Yeardley: [00:21:37] I mean, I just don’t– Argh.
Dan: [00:21:40] Oh, you read the descriptions on these apps and it’s almost like the Knights of the Round Table sex offenders got together and said, “Let’s brainstorm some ways that we can-
Yeardley: [00:21:50] Lure children.
Dan: [00:21:51] -lure children in–” [crosstalk]
Yeardley: [00:21:52] Into our orbit.
Dan: [00:21:53] Yeah. It’s disgusting.
Dave: [00:21:56] Right. So, I’ve talked about Kik Messenger, and Instagram, Facebook. We’ve had cases associated with those apps in the past. They’re on this list. So, I encourage parents in these presentations, scrutinize your child’s friends lists on their social media apps. If the child is unable to tell you when and where they met this person, that person’s a stranger and you should probably scrub that person from your child’s friends list. I am certain, it is tedious and unpopular, difficult work for parents to have this level of supervision of their children, but given the current space we’re in, it’s like allowing your child to go down to the playground after dark. I wouldn’t have been allowed to do that.
[00:22:41] In Dan and Dave’s world back in the day, when we were playing Wiffle ball out in the park all day, once the street lights came on, we knew, and I’m sure a lot of our listeners had the same childhood. Street lights come on, head back. So, monitor friends list actively. This is part of that social contract. This is part of the contract that parents have with their kids when we talk about use or abuse. If you lay out your expectations of what can and cannot happen while your child is online, when they break that, they’ve broken the contract and then there’s sanctions. That way the child feels like, “Well, I’m part of the negotiation here,” even if the parents like, “That’s nonnegotiable.” [Yeardley chuckles] [chuckles] They at least get to be a part of the conversation. It’s how you build buy in any setting.
[00:23:33] In this case, you really want your kids to respect where you’re coming from when it comes to this stuff. I tell parents, “Monitor your social media presence, monitor your child’s activities, monitor all of that.” Parents need to have the discussion with their child about receiving friend requests or message requests from strangers. We’ve had numerous cases about these guys that would just randomly shotgun messages out to females, prepubescent high school age females, where they’re reaching out. It’s fishing. They’re trying to see if they can get the child on the line and begin grooming them. So, friend request, message requests from strangers, big red flag. It’s fairly obvious.
[00:24:25] I tell parents that when they ask a child for access to the device, part of the contract is that the child, without hesitation or protest, provides that to the parent. It’s parents’ castle. So, I allow you to have the device with that. There are restrictions.
Yeardley: [00:24:42] Right.
Dave: [00:24:43] Go through the phone with the child and review the apps. “What’s this one? Show me.” Imagine [chuckles] the pucker factor for a child who’s like, “Oh, shit. I should have closed out all my windows.”
Yeardley: [00:24:54] Yeah. Except if they have the calculator app, where they go, “Look, it’s just a calculator.”
Dave: [00:24:59] Right.
Yeardley: [00:24:59] Except that iPhone. If it’s an iPhone, for instance, it comes with a calculator built in.
Dave: [00:25:04] And that’s the thing.
Yeardley: [00:25:05] “So then you would have two, and why do you need two?”
Dave: [00:25:07] Right. So, I say, “You can keep the app that came with the phone, but the other one goes away. Why do you need two calculators?”
Yeardley: [00:25:13] Right.
Dave: [00:25:14] “Why do you need a vault app?”
Yeardley: [00:25:16] Right.
Dan: [00:25:16] Isn’t there also a way for parents to monitor what apps are actually downloaded on their child’s phone?
Dave: [00:25:22] There are, and that’s later on in this presentation. We get into the spyware and tricks of the trade for parents. I ask parents apply consistent sanctions for abuse of the device. You got to be held accountable. Child has to know that when they cross the line and are in the restricted areas of use that that was a gamble for them. They might lose access to that app. They might lose access to their device. So, there has to be regular sanctions. Keep your child accountable.
[00:25:57] The last thing, this always shocks a few parents in an audience. I always say, “It’s your house, you can search it.” I can’t, as a government agent, ask you, the parent, “Hey, I’d really love to see what’s in your child’s bedroom. Can you go search your child’s closet and tell me what you find in there? I’ve made you my agent on the search. I can’t do that.” Parents, it’s their home. If they want to go through their child’s belongings, it’s your home. That child is renting from you.
Yeardley: [00:26:30] [laughs]
Dave: [00:26:32] So, I tell parents, “You own the home. You’re responsible for what’s in it. That’s your child. They report to you. You’re the boss. You can search your own home.”
Dan: [00:26:40] You can take the phone away.
Dave: [00:26:41] Right. Some parents are like, “Ah, but it’s my child’s phone. Is that an invasion of privacy?” I’m like, “That is your bedroom that your child happens to occupy.” [Yeardley laughs] There’s a difference.
Yeardley: [00:26:52] Sure.
Dave: [00:26:53] You can take phones away. I’ve had people say, “My child actually has a job and bought their phone.” And I’m like, “It doesn’t matter.”
Yeardley: [00:26:59] Why doesn’t it matter?
Dave: [00:27:01] It doesn’t matter, because that child, until they’re 18, their behavior can impact a parent. We have a law in our state where if a parent fails to supervise a child and this child is out creating havoc, the parent can be held responsible for that child’s actions, because they’re not properly supervising their child that they know their child’s out raising hell, and they just allow it to happen, well, now you’re on the line for this. You’re on the hook, parent. So, I let them know, “If your child’s up to nefarious unlawful activities, you have the potential to be responsible for that. I would take responsibility for what’s in your house and what’s going on in your house. It’s your place.” Even if it’s your child’s “property,” still, your responsibility.
[00:27:56] I’ve another slide with just a longer list of apps that were popular a few years ago when I did this presentation. I don’t have descriptions for these apps, but these are social media apps that land on the radar of elementary, junior high, and high school age kids.
Yeardley: [00:28:11] The reason you know about them is because it landed on your desk, because there was an issue.
Dave: [00:28:15] Yeah, it used to scare and surprise me when I’d be like, “Well, I feel like I’m pretty up to date on this stuff because I try to stay contemporary with what’s out there.”
Yeardley: [00:28:26] Yeah.
Dave: [00:28:27] You just can’t keep up. So, there were times where a police report comes across my desk or I’m sure with Dan, a new fencing app where people can steal products and then sell them online in a fairly anonymous fashion. I’m sure he came across them too where you’re like, “Ah, I hadn’t heard of that one. That’s a new one for me.” And some of these are those for me. Amino, Discord, GroupMe, Houseparty, Snapchat’s been out there for a while. MeetMe, Live.Me, TikTok, Tumblr, Yubo, Y-U-B-O, YouNow, it’s like a video streaming service where you can be put in touch with strangers. These are all out there.
[00:29:13] Then I talk about spyware for parents. These are apps that they charge a monthly fee or a yearly subscription. I know that Lieutenant George, who Dan and I have worked with for years and has been a featured guest on Small Town Dicks in the past, I know that he did this back in the day with his kids that they were on the family plan, their phone plan. And any app that showed up on the kids’ phones would also show up on their parents phones.
Yeardley: [00:29:43] [laughs]
Dave: [00:29:43] So, George would be like, “Ah, nice try. You are not downloading this app today.” [Yeardley laughs] So, George’s kids, great kids.
Yeardley: [00:29:54] They are great kids.
Dave: [00:29:55] If they tried to be sneaky, he’d be like, “Ha-ha, gotcha.”
Yeardley: [00:29:57] [laughs]
Dave: [00:29:58] So, parents have the ability to have this kind of exposure to what’s landing on their child’s phone. Bark is an app, B-A-R-K, and the icon is basically a dog that’s barking kind of like-[laughter]
Dave: [00:30:13] -your cats around here. [crosstalk] Anytime a burglar shows up, they’re like, “Ah, someone’s at the door.”
Yeardley: [00:30:18] Yes.
Dave: [00:30:19] So, Bark tracks text messages, email, and social media activity. Automatic parental alerts and notifications, $9 a month, unlimited number of devices you can apply it to. Pretty good. So, there’s another one called Qustodio, Q-U-S-T-O-D-I-O. The icon is just a capital letter Q in script monitors YouTube browser history and text message content. Blocks pornography and pornography websites, and it also has location tracking and a panic button.
[00:30:52] So, if you get in over your head in something, it’s like a quick 911 call to your parents or however way you want to set that up. Webwatcher tracks and archives text messages, deleted text, photos, browser history, GPS locations, and social media apps. Very, very valuable. Scans content and photos and provides parental notifications and alerts for risky behavior.
Yeardley: [00:31:19] Of these apps that you would regularly encounter, did you have a preferred one?
Dave: [00:31:25] For the spyware apps?
Yeardley: [00:31:26] Yeah.
Dave: [00:31:27] I’ve never dealt with a parent in a case who had a spyware app. There’s a little Easter egg in there, right?
Yeardley: [00:31:33] Right.
Dave: [00:31:34] Which is the parents who have these apps don’t have kids that are landing on my caseload.
Yeardley: [00:31:40] Yes.
Dave: [00:31:41] Take that for what you will.
Yeardley: [00:31:42] When you’re in these assemblies and doing these presentations, how much pushback would you get from parents or kids who are also in attendance when you would bring up the spyware conversation?
Dave: [00:31:56] With kids, crickets, or some hmms and maybe a few laughs like, “I’d like to see my parents try that shit on me.”
Yeardley: [00:32:03] Oh.
Dave: [00:32:04] Yeah. With parents, there’s a lot of nudge-nudge and hmm. “This could work and we’re doing that tonight.” There’s a lot of that. So, good traction from the people that you would expect to get good traction from and the kids are like, “What? I don’t know that I like my parents being able to read my deleted text messages and let them know if I’m engaging in ‘risky behavior”‘
Yeardley: [00:32:30] Right.
Dan: [00:32:30] I also think that these presentations that Dave did and these other detectives, you start to enlighten parents to some of the authority that they have in running a household, and it empowers them because I’ve been to enough dispute calls with an unruly child who is just raising hell in the house and making it basically unlivable, because this child feels, like, he or she is going to run the show. You have to set boundaries as a parent with your children. If you don’t, your kids will run up one side of you and down the other. It’s about accountability. I think these presentations really reinvigorate these parents where they’re like, “I do have some control here.”
Yeardley: [00:33:15] Right. Interesting.
Dave: [00:33:17] That was one of the goals here is, let’s educate parents, so we empower them to be able to alter their child’s behavior and prevent them from having police contact, prevent them from being stuck in a dangerous situation with someone they just met on an app. Parents appreciate that. Deep down, I think kids appreciate when they have some discipline and some structure, rather than being able to run around, no curfew, they feel like their parents don’t give a shit what they do. I think kids actually do appreciate when their parents are like, “I have higher expectations of you, and you disappointed me, and now, you for two weeks are going to sit at home with me while you’re grounded.” Later on, that pays off, right?
Yeardley: [00:34:01] Yeah.
[00:34:12] When you would give these presentations to illustrate the kinds of things that you’d see, when the horses left the barn, so to speak, and nobody had spyware, nobody was monitoring the apps or the online activity, would you say, “These are the sorts of things I see.” Would you enumerate a few of the kinds of details that would come across your desk to go like, “Listen to me. This is not just about, ‘Oh, you need to control your kid.’ This is about safety. This is for your child’s wellbeing.”
Dave: [00:34:44] Right. As part of this presentation, I highlighted three main cases that I worked. I think I’ve talked about them on Small Town Dicks before that are social media driven crimes, Facebook, Kik Messenger, things like that, where we have sex offenders either already registered or when I’m done with them, they’re going to be registered, reaching out to vulnerable, impressionable young people, and grooming them.
Yeardley: [00:35:17] And also traveling to meet them if they don’t live in the same city or town or state, if there is enough contact between the sex offender and the child. It’s not unheard of that they would go, “Oh, hey, what’s your address?” And then suddenly they show up at the playground. That’s in the neighborhood.
Dan: [00:35:34] In those cases, for us, other detectives who are working alongside Dave were so much fun for us.
Yeardley: [00:35:40] Right. To catch those guys.
Dan: [00:35:42] Catching those guys in the surveillance. Honestly, the moment that you introduce yourself as a police officer, because Dave’s the quarterback. He’s the eye in the sky, basically. He’s back at his desk and he’s calling the place. So, he’s telling us detectives who are surrounding this area where bad guy is supposed to appear, “Hey, he says he’s arriving in this vehicle, it’s this color, and that he’s a block away from the park right now.”
Yeardley: [00:36:11] Because Dave’s in touch with the sex offender online pretending to be the victim, right?
Dan: [00:36:16] Yeah. The initial confrontation with these guys when you introduce yourself, “Hi, I’m Detective Dan. We need to have a chat.” The look on their face is priceless.
Yeardley: [00:36:26] [laughs]
Dave: [00:36:28] It’s good stuff. Yeah.
Yeardley: [00:36:30] Would you start out with that? So, the parents go like, “Oh, shit. Oh shit. Oh shit.”
Dave: [00:36:34] No, I ease them into it.
Yeardley: [00:36:36] Oh.
Dave: [00:36:36] And then I hit them with a sledgehammer.
Yeardley: [00:36:39] Okay.
Dave: [00:36:40] Impact, right?
Yeardley: [00:36:40] Yeah.
Dave: [00:36:41] So, I would go into grooming, which we’ve discussed and we have on our resources page, a list of grooming activities.
Yeardley: [00:36:49] And we also have that wonderful Small Town Dicks episode with Nichole called Disclosure, where both of you have an extended conversation about the kinds of grooming that you’ve seen over the course of your work.
Dave: [00:37:00] Right. And I talk about each suspect had their own little fishing pole with a line, “Your boyfriend’s really lucky.” Fishing, trying to see if you’re going to, A, respond, and B, “Do you have a boyfriend?” “I’d really like to cuddle with you.” I had one guy that was all about sending dick pics right away.” So, they all have their little game that they play with the subjects of their attention. So, you just have to feel out for that and recognize it when it comes across, which I always did right away, send a friend request to one of these guys using a fake account, and right away, they send you a message like, “What’s your story? Tell me about you. You have a boyfriend? Want to hang out sometime?” It starts quickly. It usually escalates rapidly after that.
[00:37:56] All of this is done because the ultimate payoff for the offender is to arrange an in-person meeting, so they can offend. That’s a crime in our state where you are using an online tool to communicate with a known minor to engage in sexual activity, and then taking it a step further by offering a place to meet, and then taking a substantial step towards doing that, which, if I arrange a meeting with you and you show up at the location based on, or it could be 20 minutes of chat, it could be– I’ve spent hours chatting with some of these folks until they finally go, “Okay, I feel safe enough that I want to meet this person.”
Yeardley: [00:38:43] Meaning, the sex offender feels safe enough.
Dave: [00:38:45] The sex offender feels safe enough, where they’re like, “Okay, I don’t think it’s a cop.” They play some of these tactics like, “Why don’t you send me a picture of you right now?” So, you have to be creative about avoiding that. That was always a challenge for me. I was like, “How do I get out of this one? Oh, I’ll use the excuse I used with this other guy.” Usually, it worked.
Yeardley: [00:39:05] Do you want to tell us what that was or no? Is that a trade secret?
Dave: [00:39:08] Trade secret.
Yeardley: [00:39:09] Fair.
Dave: [00:39:10] A lot of times, these offenders would offer drugs, alcohol, something that might loosen inhibitions or be attractive to a teenager who’s like, “Oh, yeah, I’d love to drink alcohol with you.” That’s not something I can do. Or, “I have to sneak out to do that.” So, these offenders know this that it’s appealing, and that’s an offer. They’ll make all kinds of stuff.
[00:39:38] I have a slide titled “Warning Signs.” It’s all about warning signs that a parent would see from their child. It could be as simple as your child being very secretive about their online activities, hiding their phone, things like that. Child becomes obsessive about being online, because they want to go talk to their friend. They get angry when they can’t be online, or you don’t allow them to get online. Your child receives phone calls from numbers you don’t recognize or people you don’t know, and they sneak off to have a conversation. They receive gifts, they show up with new clothes, they get packages sent to the house from someone the parents don’t know and are like, “Why is my child receiving a package?” Or, “Where’d you get those shoes?”
Yeardley: [00:40:27] That’s insane. It’s so obvious. It’s so bold.
Dave: [00:40:32] Right. Child might be withdrawn from family and friends. It’s also normal where kids get to the point where they’re like, “I don’t really want to hang out with my parents or be at this Thanksgiving social. I’d rather be at home or I can be online, or I can go out and meet my friends at the park.”
Yeardley: [00:40:50] But to what extent has that erosion occurred?
Dave: [00:40:54] Right. Is it coupled with these other warning signs? The child might change screens or turn off their computer when an adult enters the room. The child starts to look at pornography online. Given today’s culture, I would expect that from a percentage of the population of kids. I would expect them to be looking at pornography, because it’s out there, it’s available. When it becomes more involved, or obsessive or consistent, that’s an issue. The desensitizing nature of children watching these hardcore pornography videos, that’s going to impact their development. I have the source for that information, website is internetsafety101.org. There’s actually a tab called Predator Warning Signs.
Yeardley: That’s good to know.
Dave: [00:42:06] What to do if your child discloses sexual abuse? You’re the parent. Your child has either told a friend, family member, or yourself.
Yeardley: [00:42:16] Teacher, maybe.
Dave: [00:42:16] Teacher. They’re disclosing that they’ve had sexual contact or contact that they felt was a violation. When a parent hears that, I imagine it’s a huge pucker factor moment, like, “Oh, shit, not my child.” I understand that. If it happens, there are ways for a parent to handle that, that are kind of in my playbook, it’s kind of a wish list. I hope the parent does this, this and this. Here they are. If your child discloses sexual abuse, believe them, number one. The number of times I’ve had a child give a very descriptive, credible account of something horrible that happened to them and not be believed by the person who’s supposed to protect them, dozens. Happens often in this case load of child abuse, all the time. So, believe them.
[00:43:12] There’s a statistic out there that something around 90% of disclosures are found to be truthful. So, I would err on the side of caution and say, “My child just told me this.” Unless there are circumstances where you found your child to be completely unbelievable and they make up a lot of stories, I would hope your inclination would be to believe your child. Report it immediately. The initial reaction from a lot of parents, totally understandable, is, “I’m going to reach out over the internet to the person who’s contacting my child. I’m going to read them the [unintelligible [00:39:31] Act. I’m going to confront them. I’m going to let them know they are no longer to contact my child.” It’s an appropriate reaction. In my wish list or my playbook, my preference is you call the police first. And maybe I can take that role at a later date, while also trying to secure evidence.
Yeardley: [00:44:12] Because chances are they’re not just doing it to your child. There are multiples.
Dave: [00:44:17] Correct.
Yeardley: [00:44:17] So, if the police get involved, then you can stop this person, instead of sending them underground and then you can’t find them.
Dave: [00:44:25] Right. All of a sudden, their profile is deleted, those types of things, huge roadblock for me. Great job by the parent being initially very protective. I totally understand that. I’m just saying, from my perspective, “This is what I want.” So, report it immediately, and with that is avoid confronting or alerting the suspect that you’re onto them. I’ve got a graphic here on that slide that has three different graphics. Of children who are sexually abused, 20% are abused before the age of eight. 90% of child sexual abuse victims know their abuser. It’s not stranger-danger, it’s someone close to them. Only 4% to 8% of child sexual abuse reports are fabricated.
Yeardley: [00:45:15] Okay, it’s very small.
Dave: [00:45:18] Then, I get into the online predators that I personally have encountered. Dan’s met a couple of these guys.
Dan: [00:45:25] I have, they didn’t look like their mug shots when I encountered them. They had raised eyebrows.[laughter]
Dave: [00:45:31] A certain curiosity.
Dan: [00:45:35] Or caution.
Yeardley: [00:45:36] Sweat on the brow.
Dan: [00:45:37] Sweat on the brow, the hands are shaking. That’s typically the reaction you get.
Dave: [00:45:43] I’ve said it in other presentations and in podcasts, without fail when confronted, these offenders go, “Oh, shit, I’m not talking my way out of this with this detective.” I see the bullshit alarm on his face is going off. “He doesn’t believe me. How do I recover here?” Without fail, they say something along the lines of, “I was never going to initiate any sexual activity with this child. I was simply meeting up with them to let them know how dangerous it is to meet a stranger online.” How altruistic of you is that? It’s garbage.
Yeardley: [00:46:22] Yeah, garbage.
Dave: [00:46:23] Total bunk.
Dan: [00:46:25] You’ve got three guys on this page. Go through their ages real quick.
Dave: [00:46:30] Contestant number 1, 28-year-old man, trying to lure a 15-year-old girl to meet in person for the purposes of engaging in sexual activity. He’s one of the guys that within moments was, “Here’s a picture of my erection. Let’s see how you handle that.” Very aggressive, wasted very little time. When I wrote the search warrant for his Facebook page, that suspect was talking to over a dozen other people concurrently. Timestamps on messages where it’s clear, he just sent Jane a message at 3:30 PM and at 3:31 in between messages with Jane, he was contacting Stacey and asking, basically, a thread of messages and the photos being posted, like cookie cutter to all the other chats. Another suspect I have here, 28-year-old male trying to meet up with a 14-year-old.
Yeardley: [00:47:31] Disgusting!
Dave: [00:47:33] Another one, 33-year-old male used marijuana to groom two 13-year-old girls. In each of these cases, these offenders met up with my team of detectives. And then shortly thereafter, I was introduced to them in an interview room at our police station.
Yeardley: [00:47:55] [chuckles] Things got progressively worse for them.
Dave: [00:47:57] Always satisfying.
Dan: [00:47:59] One of these cases that was particularly disturbing to me was this suspect, much older than the girl he was going to meet, who he thought he was going to meet, he pulls up in an SUV. I think it was his grandmother’s SUV, and he had a bed made in the back of the SUV. So, this young female who was innocent, he was planning on taking her virginity in the back of this SUV. It’s shocking and disgusting. Putting these guys in cuffs is the most satisfying feeling because how many other girls did he do that to?
Yeardley: [00:48:37] Right.
Dave: [00:48:47] So, to wrap up my presentation, I talk about the laws that pertain to sending explicit images. Some apply only if an adult solicits, an image from a child, but some apply no matter the age of the subjects involved. All this is because legislatures have found themselves scrambling trying to create laws that keep up with the technology that is out there. So, certain laws have certain elements of the crime where child must be under this age for it to apply or the suspect has to make the offer to meet up, ask for a photo, and then make an effort to meet in the place where the agreed upon meeting was going to take place. So, there’s different laws that affect these. And these have had to evolve with social media.
[00:49:37] Legislatures across the US are drafting and enacting laws that were written a year or two prior. So, we’re always trying to catch up with technology and that’s a learning process. As part of this, we had, I think I mentioned earlier, the issue where female’s photo was disseminated without her knowledge to hundreds of people. That’s a crime for the person who sent it.
Yeardley: [00:50:06] A crime for the girl who sent it, and not the person who disseminated it?
Dave: [00:50:10] It’s a crime for both of them. I’ll go through some of the laws. I’m going to give a very general overview of what the title is, but it would give away our state, even though I know our listeners are very smart, and they would– [Yeardley laughs] they already know. But to keep up appearances, we have one law that is about taking a video recording, either a picture or a photo of a child engaged in sexually explicit activity, that law is supposed to cover an adult who is reaching out to a juvenile and asking for explicit images. You’re basically asking for child pornography. That law also impacts the person who sends that image. Say it’s a 16-year-old girl and her 16-year-old boyfriend, that law still applies.
Yeardley: [00:50:58] Oh.
Dave: [00:50:59] Even though that probably wasn’t the intent of the law. You think about we’re trying to catch up with technology and trends across society. So, that law was applicable, and if the 16-year-old girl had the boyfriend ask, “Hey, will you send me a nude photo?”, the crime occurs when boyfriend asked for it and if the girlfriend sends it, she’s committed a crime too. Those are biggies.
Yeardley: [00:51:27] Interesting.
Dave: [00:51:28] We were getting cases where we have these sexting, think about the statistics earlier, the sheer volume of teenagers who have forwarded on explicit photos or asked for them, I don’t want to make all those people sex offenders. I want to educate them, counsel them, and arrest the behavior so it stops. We had that law. We recognized in our little niche of child abuse and sexual assault, that that law had way too much teeth for these teen sexting cases that we had. I’m like, “That is a lifelong sentence if that charge applies to you. It shouldn’t. Let’s educate them.” We talked about the law where you can’t, as an offender, offer to meet a child for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity. It’s against the law. There’s varying degrees of that. There’s online sexual corruption in the first degree or in the second degree. The first degree is much more serious. Second degree is maybe you offered to meet, but the meeting never took place, or he never showed up at the actual meeting spot, but you made the offer, and it was clear what was going to happen if and when you met with the child. Those are crimes. It might get your 13 months in prison.
Yeardley: [00:52:55] If you just offer but you don’t meet up with them?
Dave: [00:52:58] Correct. You’re probably going to get registered as a sex offender if you do that. And you’ll probably be at least on probation for three years. It’s not a given that you’re going to end up in prison. A lot of it likely has to do with, “How many charges can I apply under this statute?” Or, what your criminal past, your history is as a criminal. As a result of the sexting cases where a photo was sent to a boyfriend with the understanding it’s just going to stay on your phone and you’re not going to send to your boys, a new law evolved in our state, and it was incredibly useful for us working this caseload. Disseminating an intimate image of someone else without their consent and using it in harassing, humiliating, shameful manner is a crime. So, it’s kind of this revenge porn type stuff where boyfriend is unhappy with girlfriend for breaking up with him, and he’s like, “Hey, we made some sex videos,” and you throw it up on the Internet. It’s a huge violation of your ex’s trust, that should be against the law, and it is now.
Yeardley: [00:54:08] So, I imagine the crime is more severe if there’s harassment involved, a revenge component, for instance, and less severe if you have two people who, even if underage, are sharing photos as part of their relationship, but no harm is intended, even though who knows what the long reaching effect of that might be. But for all intents and purposes, these young people are just doing what kids sometimes do when they explore their bodies.
Dave: [00:54:36] Absolutely correct. The difference really comes down to intent and behavior with the person sharing the image. If you’re harassing demeaning, shaming, that’s a criminal offense. If this is your first offense, getting arrested for unlawfully disseminating an intimate image, it’s a misdemeanor. If you have a prior conviction for doing this and later on you get arrested for the same thing, now you’re a felon. That’s a felony. So, not to say you get a get out of jail free card on the first one, but– [crosstalk]
Yeardley: [00:55:05] They give you the benefit of the doubt.
Dave: [00:55:07] Exactly. It’s an occasion where we can educate the child, both children involved, and their parents and school staff if it’s impacting the school, which inevitably it does, because those rumors go right around the school. It’s horrible. I can’t imagine being in high school nowadays.
Yeardley: [00:55:28] It was hard enough-
Dave: [00:55:29] Right?
Yeardley: [00:55:29] -when we were. [giggles]
Dave: [00:55:31] Right. Detective Matt and I, and other detectives that we’ve had on our show, met with the district attorney to formulate a game plan. How are we going to handle these sexting cases so we’re not turning 15 and 16-year-olds into felons and sex offenders when that’s not an appropriate use of the statute? Let’s find a different way to do this that is less impactful, long term, and immediately impactful when you can go to a parent or a child who is your “suspect” for sexting back and forth. I just want to stop the behavior right there, and that’s your “Get Out of Jail Free” card.
[00:56:14] You can imagine, and this has happened, where I have this talk with the suspect, the 16-year-old, and his father, or his mother, and I say, “This has to stop now, do we understand? If your name is on a police report and it lands on my desk again for the same type of behavior, I’m going to think that you didn’t get the message. I’m probably going to ramp things up a little bit.” The district attorney, she agreed, like, “We need to have a plan of attack.” So, the circumstances drive the police response. Our preference is an informal education and counseling to all parties involved. We let them know that the creation of the image is a crime and requesting an image is a crime.
[00:57:01] We want to avoid the criminalization of these kids who are engaging in activity that a majority of other high school kids are doing, it just hasn’t landed on my radar. Evaluations are on a case-by-case basis and all depends on the behavior of the activity, are they being harassing, shameful, that type of thing. We want all the parties to cooperate. If I say, “Hey, I need to get into your phone, and we’re going to go through and delete all the questionable images off your phone. I want you to cooperate with that. If you stonewall me and say, ‘Screw you, it’s my child’s phone, you’re not getting into it,’ I go, “Well, it’s my phone, by the way, I just seized it because I know what’s on there. And really, I just wanted your cooperation, but now you’re going to make me write a search warrant for this. And that’s a lot of work, not just for me, for a deputy district attorney who asked to review this, and I’m also going to go interrupt a judge in the middle of their day or night. I’d rather you just cooperate.” Most people, 99% of parents were like, “Okay, now that you put it that way, I’d be happy to cooperate with you.”
[00:58:15] The context of the sexting behavior is a course of shameful, harassing, intimidating, or is it consensual. Consensual is a completely different animal. I’d rather it be a consensual thing rather than you saying, “Hey, I’m going to release this rumor throughout the school unless you send me a photo of what you’re wearing right now, and I prefer you not be wearing anything.” Like that, come on, man.[laughter]
[00:58:41] You are on the path to becoming a regular on my caseload. We really stressed coercive, bullying, shaming behavior, real bad. You’re going to get a different response from law enforcement and from the court. If you just want to cooperate and play ball with us, it’s going to end today. It’s all over. I know that your phone has these images on there. I have to ensure that that is not available, or else I wouldn’t be doing my job. It’s like arresting someone for crack and then handing them back the crack pipe and the crack, saying, “You know what? I just really don’t want to deal with it today. On your way.”
Yeardley: [00:59:19] Just don’t do it, okay? Here’s all the stuff back.
Dave: [00:59:23] Right. That stuff has to go. It’s fruits or proceeds of a crime, that stuff has to be taken care of.
Dan: [00:59:29] Repeated cases.
Dave: [00:59:31] Obviously. If you repeatedly come across my desk, you’re going to get my attention because you’re just creating work for me. That only happened a few times, but it has happened where we have this talk with the involved child and their parents, and they swear up and down, “I got the message. Promise, you’ll never see me again.” And then a month later, here they are, listed in another police report and you’re like, “All right, you get level two consideration now.” It’s going to be a bigger deal than the last time we met. It’s just the way it is.
[01:00:05] The last thing I would talk about with parents is it’s especially applicable to parents of boys. Not to say it doesn’t go the other way but in my experience, and I know when I discussed sex offenders, a lot of times I say he or him, that’s my experience, is 90 plus percent of my caseload was male offenders. So, I speak in those terms. I encouraged parents to always discuss consent with their children, how important that is, what consent looks like, what it doesn’t look like. It’s extremely important to avoid landing your name in a police report, that if you respect the other person’s boundaries, we’re not going to get to the point that we have a crime occurring. That’s the whole goal. Nobody’s getting victimized, and then everything’s consensual. So, talk to your children about consent, and what it looks like. I have a video that I used to always throw into every presentation I had on the subject. The title is “Consent. It’s as simple as tea.”
Yeardley: [01:01:15] Like tea that you drink?
Dave: [01:01:16] Yeah, like a tea party.
Yeardley: [01:01:17] [chuckles]
Dave: [01:01:18] I found that video on YouTube. It’s a brilliant video, it’s only a few minutes long, but basically says, “You wouldn’t allow your friend to come over unannounced and offer you tea. And when you said no, they shove it down your throat until you’re unconscious. If you wouldn’t consent to that, and you recognize that the person is not consenting, just because you guys had tea before, that it’s not such a stretch to think about it in sexual terms.” Just because we’ve had sex before doesn’t mean that it’s going to be a regularly scheduled program. It doesn’t mean that because they said yes before that they can’t say no now. It doesn’t mean that in the middle of the act, when they start saying no, that means it’s over with. That if a person is punch drunk on tea, and they’re passed out, you should be caring for them, not taking advantage of the amount of tea that they drank, that it’s all consensual. Don’t violate other people.
Dan: [01:02:17] Just to be clear, you’re talking about juveniles together right now. Not talking about a 28-year-old who’s groomed a 15-year-old. We’re talking about juveniles and consent.
Yeardley: [01:02:29] Among juveniles.
Dan: [01:02:30] Yes. A juvenile cannot consent at all with an adult.
Yeardley: [01:02:36] What about juvenile to juvenile?
Dave: [01:02:38] Yeah, so in our state, a juvenile is considered a child until their 18th birthday. In our state, you are not as a child capable of consenting to any sexual contact with anyone.
Yeardley: [01:02:52] Even a 16-year-old to 16-year-old?
Dave: [01:02:54] Right.However, we understand what happens in high school. We’re not naive. So, there’s consideration given to that by prosecutors and by the legislature when we talk about laws and what has to be prosecuted versus prosecutorial discretion. We all went to high school. We know what happens at the parties, and we know that people are in relationships. We understand that 16-year-olds are going to experiment and they’re going to have sexual experiences. We just ask that it be in a consensual manner.
Yeardley: [01:03:24] When you’re talking about teenagers consenting to have sex, you’re speaking in a colloquial way?
Dave: [01:03:30] Absolutely. I’m not speaking in a legal term way or legal definition. We’re discussing the birds and the bees that happens to be explored by likeminded juveniles.
Yeardley: [01:03:41] Yes. Okay.
Dan: [01:03:42] What’s important, us in law enforcement and prosecutors and judges, we all understand what the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law. We know there’s a difference there.
Yeardley: [01:03:53] There are nuances.
Dan: [01:03:54] There are nuances and we take those things into consideration.
Dave: [01:04:00] This video, I love this video, it’s the accent. The guy sounds kind of like the Gecko from GEICO. The video is so simple, it’s entertaining.
Yeardley: [01:04:08] To our listeners, if they want to actually watch the video as you would present it in your presentations, you can find it on YouTube. It’s called Tea and Consent. Tea as in T-E-A.
Dave: [01:04:20] Right. There’s two versions. One is the English accent, the British accent that I really enjoy.
Yeardley: [01:04:28] Yes. [chuckles]
Dave: [01:04:29] The other is an American voiceover
Dan: [01:04:32] The British one is way more charming.
Yeardley: [01:04:34] [chuckles]
Dave: [01:04:35] It really is actually.
Yeardley: [01:04:36] There you go. [chuckles] So, that’s how you would wrap up your presentation?
Dave: [01:04:42] I would always take questions at the end. If our listeners have questions, feel free to reach out.
Yeardley: [01:04:48] You can reach out to us at email@example.com.
Dave: [01:04:52] Yeah. For parents who have questions about what we just went over, if you want to email myself or the team at firstname.lastname@example.org, feel free. Happy to answer the questions.
Yeardley: [01:05:03] Yeah. Excellent. What an extraordinary public service, Dave. It’s so good. Thank you.
Dave: [01:05:11] You’re welcome. I hope it helps.
Yeardley: [01:05:13] I don’t see how it couldn’t.
Dave: [01:05:14] After these presentations, Matt and I would get extremely useful feedback and let us know that parents needed to hear this stuff, that it’s valuable information.
Yeardley: [01:05:26] Absolutely.
Dave: [01:05:31] I want to leave you with this. The audio from the teen consent video. It speaks for itself, and thank you for listening.
Narrator: [01:05:40] If you’re still struggling with consent, just imagine instead of initiating sex, you’re making them a cup of tea. You say, “Hey, would you like a cup of tea?” And they go, “Oh, my God, I would love a cup of tea. Thank you.” Then, you know they want a cup of tea. If you say, “Hey, would you like a cup of tea?” And they’re like, “Ah, you know, I’m not really sure.” Then, you can make them a cup of tea or not, but be aware that they might not drink it. And if they don’t drink it then, and this is the important bit, don’t make them drink it. Just because you made it, doesn’t mean you are entitled to watch them drink it. If they say, “No, thank you,” then don’t make them tea. At all. Just don’t make them tea. Don’t make them drink tea. Don’t get annoyed at them for not wanting tea. They just don’t want tea, okay?
[01:06:31] They might say, “Yes, please, that’s kind of you,” and then when the tea arrives, they actually don’t want the tea at all. Sure, that’s kind of annoying as you’ve gone through the effort of making the tea, but they remain under no obligation to drink the tea. They did want tea, now they don’t. Some people change their mind in the time it takes to boil the kettle, brew the tea and add the milk. And it’s okay for people to change their mind, and you are still not entitled to watch them drink it. If they are unconscious, don’t make them tea. Unconscious people don’t want tea and they can’t answer the question, “Do you want tea?” because they are unconscious.
[01:07:09, maybe they were conscious when you asked them if they wanted tea, and they said yes. But in the time it took you to boil the kettle, brew the tea, and add the milk, they’re now unconscious. You should just put the tea down, make sure the unconscious person is safe, and this is the important part again, don’t make them drink the tea. They said yes then, sure, but unconscious people don’t want tea. If someone said yes to tea, started drinking it, and then passed out before they’d finished it, don’t keep on pouring it down their throat. Take the tea away. Make sure they are safe, because unconscious people don’t want tea. Trust me on this.
[01:07:48] If someone said yes to tea around your house last Saturday, that doesn’t mean they want you to make them tea all the time. They don’t want you to come around to their place unexpectedly and make them tea and force them to drink it, going, “But you wanted tea last week,” or to wake up to find you pouring tea down their throat going, “But you wanted tea last night.”
[01:08:06] If you can understand how completely ludicrous it is to force people to have tea when they don’t want tea, and you’re able to understand when people don’t want tea, then how hard is it to understand when it comes to sex? Whether it’s tea or sex, consent is everything. And on that note, I’m going to make myself a cup of tea.
Yeardley: [01:08:29] The Briefing Room is produced by Gary Scott and me, Yeardley, Smith and coproduced by Detectives Dan and Dave. This episode was edited by Soren Begin, Gary Scott, and me. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor and the Real Nick Smitty. Our social media is run by the one and only Monika Scott. Our researcher is Delaney Britt Brewer. Our music is composed by Logan Heftel, and our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell. If you like what you hear and want to stay up to date with the podcast, please visit us on our website at smalltowndicks.com/thebriefingroom. Thank you to SpeechDocs for providing transcripts and thank you to you, the best fans in the pod universe for listening. Honestly, nobody’s better than you.
[Transcript provided by SpeechDocs Podcast Transcription]