Recent arrest raises app safety concerns for parents

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – An 18-year-old from Las Vegas was arrested over the weekend in Kentucky, who’s accused of attempting to kidnap a teen he met through an app.

The incident serves as a safety reminder for parents.

Mother of four, Shari White, regularly monitors her children’s internet access.

“I make sure whatever they download is appropriate for their age,” White explained.

Although White trusts her kids, she doesn’t trust the people that have access to them.

“I know there are dangers with apps,” she continued.

Monday, a Las Vegas 18-year-old was accused of trying to kidnap a teen in Kentucky.

The Boone County Sheriff’s Office released a photo of Benjamin J. Margitza who allegedly flew to Northern Kentucky over the weekend and went to Conner High School, the victim’s high school, with the intention of taking her back to his hotel to convince her to have sex with him.

Investigators say a male student heard the altercation and intervened by not allowing Margitza to continue to follow the victim. Margitza was arrested and charged with Attempted Kidnapping of a Minor and Criminal Trespassing.

According to investigators, the pair met online, using an app called “Flinch,” four years ago. The app is no longer available on the app store, but the app’s Instagram (that hasn’t been updated in more than two years) bio says it’s a “great way to meet someone new.” The app allowed its users to have a staring contest with anyone in the world. The first person to smile, laugh, or flinch, lost the game. 

Child advocates believe the law needs to crack down on social media companies.

“We need to simplify this process to help more parents protect their children,” said Chris Mckenna, CEO of Protect Young Eyes.

White is putting the responsibility on herself by continuing to monitor her kids’ internet usage and keeping their communication open and honest too.

“If your child is able to speak to you, they’ll come and tell you what they’re doing,” White explained. “A lot of the times anyways, without knowing, they tell on themselves.”

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