Mom poses as 11-year-old girl online to expose potential predators, grooming tactics

Sloane Ryan, who uses a pseudonym to protect her privacy, leads the Special Projects Team at Bark, a monitoring service that alerts parents and authorities when kids might be in danger online.
7:02 | 02/07/20

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Mom poses as 11-year-old girl online to expose potential predators, grooming tactics
All right, I'm ready. Reporter: You're watching as Slone, a suburban mom, transforms herself to pose as an underage girl online. For her safety, we won't show you her face. We won't tell you her real name. Because I am 37, I have these lines right here around my face. And younger kids don't have that, so we will use gravity to I'm going to lean back like this. Reporter: Slone is the head of a special project at bark to track kids' social media use. Children are being methodically groomed and abused in a matter of moments on platforms that should be a lot safer for them. We are finding is that it's not just a random occurrence. Oh, I think we got it. Okay. This still needs to be photo shopped, but I think that's one. Reporter: Part of the mission, so show how predators use social media to target young children. We can liquefy it and pull it back. But I think it's the one. Reporter: It's every parent's nightmare at a time when almost a third of teen girls have reported receiving unwanted explicit images. We're behind the scenes, as the bark special projects team launches an undercover operation, creating online personas, for a 11-year-old and a 15-year-old. So we're going to dress these two rooms. This is for our 11-year-old persona, and this room is our 15-year-old persona's. Reporter: Going as far as dressing up bedrooms to make it all look ah then tech. Sometimes we'll display her training bra. Reporter: Graphic artists photo shop Slone to make her look like a tween and a teen. Here's 11-year-old Bailey. And there is 37-year-old Slone. How do you all do that? A lot of work. Reporter: Computers and phones are set up with the fake social media accounts. It's coffee cups, puppies, flowers, normal just teen and tween expressions on social media. What we've been able to demonstrate with these is regardless of how innocuous content may be, they're still susceptible to being targeted by really terrible people. Reporter: 7:00 P.M., time for the teen to go live with new photos. So right now, we posted just seconds ago. And now frankly, it's just a waiting game. Reporter: What usually happens? We're testing the waters to the full-blown explicit content, photos, videos, texts, it's astounding and stomach turning. Reporter: Slone takes one of 15-year-old Libby's accounts. Reporter: You're giving them every opportunity to stop. Law enforcement shares the parameters they abide by. Reporter: Already, someone has sent an explicit, nude photo. I just imagine being a 15-year-old and not really knowing what's going on. It's something that these people seem to really know how to exploit. Reporter: Just a few minutes later on another account. Okay, tell me what's happening. He wants a live photo. Reporter: The pretend 15-year-old receives a request for a selfie from someone who claims he's a teen too. Reporter: Mind-boggling. And then she's asked for a bra pic. Another conversation turns sexually explicit. Can you give me some motivation. Reporter: But what happens to the 11-year-old persona, Bailey, is even more disturbing. Someone claiming to be 26 sends a photo. Are you happy, pretty girl? Reporter: Then texts, you owe me more, asking a photo of your tummy and beautiful chest. Slone instead sends a g-rated photo. What happened? He wanted a replay. It's like he wants to replay it. Reporter: This time he'll be able to keep the image? That's right. Reporter: She sends the photo again. The person on the other end is persistent. After ten messages. This language is really indicative of someone who's grooming. I really don't want to share you. That is really controlling language, and just as a reminder, he started talking to her half hour ago. Reporter: So you're reminding him of your age. That's right. Reporter: You're giving him. I'm in sixth grade. I'm just going to pop those reminders in there. Do you need a quick sanity check, remind yourself that you're talking to a 11-year-old here, but he's doubling down. Reporter: Bark turns over these potential predators to the center for national missing and exploited children and say they've reported over 300 cases to enforcement. They are sometimes very urgent and time sensitive. Reporter: Some of those tips investigated by investigators. No matter where your children are, predators are going to go to. It's increased dramatically. Reporter: He runs new Jersey's crimes against children task force, identifying online pedophiles. We've arrested schoolteachers, police officers. The reality is, these are your next door neighbor. Reporter: He worked with federal and state agents in a major undercover sting operation that led to the arrests of 19 men. They were allegedly looking to have sex with underage victims. Reporter: Bark also has an app that parents can use to monitor kids' phones. Using the app has led to arrests like this one in Florida last year. Parents of a 16-year-old girl were alerted when she received nude photos from a 25-year-old man. He has pled not guilty and is awaiting trial on two felony charges of using an electronic device to seduce, solicit or lure a child and cruelty toward a child. For the bark team, the work can be draining. I'm an adilt, and it's upsetting to me, traumatizing to me, and then I put myself in the shoes of a 11-year-old that doesn't have the tools to cope, doesn't have someone to talk to, that's devastating. Reporter: Have you had to go talk to somebody, a professional yourself about what this is doing to you. Oh, absolutely. We are a close-knit team. Everyone's allowed to take a break and talk with a therapist. Reporter: A moment of reflection and back to work. Often through the night. We have good days and bad days. What is a good day at work for you? If we can be a part of eradicating child sex abuse through awareness, making platforms safer, that's a good day at the office.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"7:02","description":"Sloane Ryan, who uses a pseudonym to protect her privacy, leads the Special Projects Team at Bark, a monitoring service that alerts parents and authorities when kids might be in danger online.","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/Nightline","id":"68819293","title":"Mom poses as 11-year-old girl online to expose potential predators, grooming tactics","url":"/Nightline/video/mom-poses-11-year-girl-online-expose-potential-68819293"}