BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — An Instagram account labeled “BranfordWhores” appeared recently, featuring images of young girls with a caption requesting more photos. Branford police found out after receiving a screenshot image.
“The screenshot we received certainly there was no nudity, nothing illegal,” said Capt. Geoffrey Morgan, Branford police. “All of the pictures appeared to be teenagers.”
Although the investigation has ended, authorities say the job is far from over. They encourage all parents to monitor closely what children are up to online. No crime and no complaint leaves police with few options other than to monitor for further activity.
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“We need to have a crime that was committed for us to get subpoenas or search warrants,” Capt. Morgan said. “At this juncture, no criminal activity here.”
The site was set up anonymously and was pulled offline just recently, but not before word spread to concerned area residents.
“You have to be careful and parents need to stay ahead of the game,” said Debra Kay Levin, who lives in Branford.
Quinnipiac University Journalism Professor Rich Hanley agrees.
“The technology is not necessarily your friend, and it could very well be your enemy in the long term,” Hanley said.
He said parents need to stay vigilant and communicate about the dangers of posting pictures online. Although many apps help to monitor what children are posting, the first step is to understand the technology and understand the culture that comes with it.
“The key is not to use technology to save children from technology,” Hanley said. “The key is to use culture and discipline.”