ALBANY, N.Y. – It is officially less than a week to go before school for many Capital Region students and they are packing their pencils, books, but also tablets and smartphones.
Some of the phone apps such as Snap Chat, Facebook, and other ones parents may not even know about are replacing written notes that used to get passed around in school. But those apps also give strangers access to reach out to your kids.
One app that computer expert Larry Zimbler didn’t know about was “Whisper”, which allows people to post anonymous messages but they are all sorted by location and any stranger can message another person, even a child.
“There’s always gonna be a next app. That does something you’ve got to decide what you want your kids to engage with,” said Zimbler.
Zimbler says parents should walk through the apps with their children before they head back to class. Parents should also make sure their kids’ privacy settings on each app are set to private.
Zimbler says that the best way to monitor children is by having access to their social media accounts, to ensure pictures and posts are appropriate.
“Ultimately if you want to know what’s going on, that is the most direct route,” said Zimbler.
Parents can even see what apps were downloaded on a child’s phone. In order to see it you can go to the Google Play or Apple stores on their account.
Zimbler explained that stranger danger rules apply online just like they do in real life. Don’t let children accept requests from people they don’t know and make sure the accounts are private so pictures aren’t seen by everyone.