The social media app TikTok is very popular among children and teens, but it poses a significant threat, especially to young vulnerable girls. "Over the past few weeks, I have received so many appeals for help from parents of girls, some as young as 12, who have ended up in relationships with and have been taken advantage of by members of minority groups," says Bentzi Gopstein, chairman of Lehava, an organization that works to prevent assimilation in Israel.
"TikTok is a honey trap," explains Gopstein. "These girls are unaware of the problems, and they connect with different users who seem cool and not problematic in the beginning. Usually, these profiles are fake, and those who are behind the keyboard are minority elements who are looking for a relationship with innocent underage girls. These girls start a relationship with them because they're sure they're talking to Jews."
According to Gopstein, "In the most recent case that we dealt with, a 12-year-old girl didn't doubt that she was talking to a boy her own age and didn't suspect a thing because he sent her photos of a boy with a yarmulka and tzitzit. Her parents reached out to us for a different reason, to find her an appropriate school as she faces certain difficulties. After speaking with her, we discovered that she is in a relationship with a boy. After a thorough investigation by our organization, we found out that the boy is an Arab and that all of the photos he sent her were edited and fake. Furthermore, we found out that he is an adult and not a teen as he told her."
Anat Gopstein, the head of Lehava's treatment framework, said, "These innocent girls are unable to detect whether the profiles are fake, and predators see these girls as easy prey, and they prepare a honey trap for them. We appeal to parents of all such girls: 'Please, keep your eyes open and monitor the internet sites your daughters visit. Take good care of them and make sure you know who they are interacting with, and stress that the internet is the most dangerous place for teens and that not all that glitters is gold."
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