Police report filed when mother finds manipulation, self-harm in young son’s group chat

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A concerned Topeka mother is revealing the disturbing dangers of a popular messaging app after she was accidentally added into her 13-year-old son’s group chat.

Terri Bayless filed a police report with the Topeka Police Department after discovering different forms of cyberbullying and manipulation taking place in her son’s Snapchat groups. Other minors in the group chats convinced her son to hurt himself, according to Bayless.

“Something seriously dangerous,” Bayless said. “That’s what’s happening. These parents don’t know this is what’s happening right now in this group chat.”

The children in the groups range from ages 10 to 15 and live all over Kansas; some of them don’t even know each other. Bayless decided to track down some of the parents who have children in the chat, with hopes to make them aware of what’s going on.

“These kids are doing anything because they are starving for attention,” Bayless said. “They are doing anything to get it. And that’s what I’ve realized in these group chats. When I have gotten ahold of some of these parents they are either appalled and upset or they want to come at me and say, ‘why are you doing this?'”

Snapchat does have the option to report a user, but it doesn’t block out inappropriate content without a filed report.

“Pick up your child’s phone if they have a Snapchat and look at it,” Bayless said.

Preventing what happened to her son from happening to other children is why she hopes to raise awareness about social media to parents and guardians.

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