Teens turn to social media for help with transportation

Crime prevention calls it Cyber Hitchhiking

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -  

There are many teenagers using social media sites for more than just catching up with friends.

They’re asking for transportation to get around and those posts may land them in big trouble down the road.

When high school student, Martin Zendejas needs a ride, he turns to social media.

“I’m stranded. I need a ride,” he said.

A simple post just like that can attract plenty of attention and several comments offering up help.

“A cab is going to be way more and in reality, you can just give someone five dollars that you know and they will pick you up real quick,” said Zendejas.

Zendejas is not alone, more and more people his age are doing the same thing.

Crime prevention specialist says more access to smart phones makes it easier for teens to ignore all the dangers.

“It depends.  If you know them, maybe it’s not as dangerous as if you don’t know them.  If they’re strangers then, yeah.  If you know them, its alright,” said teen-user, Jesse Casillas.

Investigators say online hitchhiking is a growing trend happening nationwide and right here at home, in Kern County.

“There are websites dedicated to these ride shares and all you need is an e-mail account,” said Ashley Glover, Crime Prevention Specialist with the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.

Not having the correct privacy set up can attract the wrong person to not only your page, but also your home.

“As parents we need to be more responsible.  We need to check what our kids are putting on their Twitter, on their Facebook.  They need to have those things private, I know its hard, but we just have to monitor everything that they do, their phones, their texts even,” she said.

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