The teenager met the stranger on Facebook.

Kenyans have hailed a bus conductor for his heroic act after saving a teenage girl from falling into the hands of a stranger she met on social media. 

According to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, it all started when the teenage girl boarded a bus from Machakos to Mombasa to meet a man she had encountered on Facebook. After boarding the bus, the teenager lied to the conductor that she was heading to Mariakani to meet his brother.

When asked by the conductor to pay the Sh1500 bus fare, the girl said she only had Sh500, which prompted her to call the 'brother' and promised to pay the remaining amount when they got to Mtito Andei.

However, when she failed to do so, the bus conductor got suspicious of the true identity of the man she was going to meet, and that is when he devised a plan to save the teenager. 

"Upon reaching Samburu, the conductor called the man and tricked him that they had arrived in Mariakani. He asked him to come at the bus stop and pick the girl as he settled the balance, but the man told him to send the girl to Kaloleni by a motorbike, where she would meet him then he would settle the balance.

"Fearing for the young girl's safety and tired of being taken on a wild-goose chase, the conductor decided to go with the girl to Mombasa, where her safety was assured. Luckily, seated next to the girl was a pastor who was also headed to Mombasa," said the DCI.

After being questioned by the pastor about the true identity of the man she was going to meet, the girl finally confessed that the 'brother' was a stranger she met on Facebook. 

Upon reaching Mombasa at around 4.30 pm, the man in question was nowhere to be seen but later showed up at 8.00 pm. However, the teenage girl disclosed that the man who came to pick her up did not resemble the person she was chatting with on Facebook.

Following the revelation, the bus company decided to provide accommodation for the girl and a ride back to Machakos. 

While sharing this information with the DCI, the conductor told the detectives that such cases were rising as the predators target school-going girls and those who had completed their KCSE.

The DCI said detectives from the Anti Human Trafficking and Child Protection Unit were currently pursuing the suspects.

The DCI further urged parents to monitor their children's online activities and who they interact with in the worrying trend where such predators use social media to lure young girls.

How to monitor your child's online activities 

With the increase of social media platforms, parents are now faced with the challenge of how to monitor their child's behavior online effectively. To monitor your child's online activity, there are several apps and parental control options one can consider.

Parental Control Options

Facebook Messenger for kids

Released in 2017 by Facebook, this kid-friendly app gives parents a lot more control over the contact list and monitor messaged on the app. Messenger inbox is the most likely space where predators can reach the child so parents can be in the know. It doesn't need a phone number, and parents can set usage limits. This app can be downloaded on the Google App store or Apple store for free. 

WhatsApp web

The increase of predators using WhatsApp to lure children has parents concerned. If you want to monitor who your kid communicates with on WhatsApp without touching their phone, use WhatsApp web. You'll first need access to your child's phone and, on the menu, select WhatsApp web. On your computer, google 'WhatsApp Web' and scan the barcode on your computer screen with your child's phone. This will enable you to see in real-time who your child talks to.

Monitoring tools

FamiGuard 

This is one of the top recommended social media monitoring tools for parents. The tool enables you to block social media platforms, games, inappropriate apps, and unsafe websites. Parents can also track their kids' real-time location and set the time limit of app usage. It is a paid-for app. 

Bark

This application helps you monitor social media platforms, emails, YouTube, apps, and texts. Bark also looks for any adult content, cyberbullying, sexting, and suicidal thoughts that your child might receive and alerts you if any threat is detected. It includes both the free and premium versions. 

Mama Bear

This app monitors social media and tracks the location of your child. MamaBear also helps you build a list of restricted words, making you aware of inappropriate language or signs of bullying on your child's profile. There are various plan options to choose from, including a free version. 

uKnowKids 

It is one of the best Android social media monitoring tools parents can use. It offers plenty of features enabling you to monitor several social media platforms, web browsing, search history, and even text messages. However, this is a paid-for app.

KidLogger

This free app enables parents to track the whereabouts of their kids and the people near them. The app gives you time tracking options, and like uKnowKids, parents can also monitor their child's web history and SMSs.