Local I-Team: Online Safety - Tracking Your Kids On The Web & On Social Media

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - Parents listen up. A warning from the FBI about keeping your kids safe from online predators.

School's about to be out. Your kids will have more time to be glued to their phones talking, texting, and searching the web. That means people with bad intentions have more opportunity to prey on your children. 

If you are worried about what your son, daughter or grandchildren are doing online this summer, there are several apps for that.

"You have to keep your ears open and listen and watch them all the time," said grandmother Carol Leake.

Leake is a Mississippi grandma on a mission; a social media super spy keeping up with her 10 grandkids online, and tracking what they post.

"They all have multiple pages and they all have different names so you really need to keep on top of it," said Leake.

Instagram, Snapchat, Kik - the social media apps kids use are ever changing.

"Social media is evolving and parents really needs to stay up with it," said Baryl Wight with the Child Advocacy Center.

Wight says the number of child predators lurking online is scary. Often children have no idea they may be talking to someone sketchy, who is a pro at building trust, by asking seemingly harmless questions.

"To be blunt, it comes down to time and vulnerability. The more time they are online, the more vulnerable they are to being exploited or manipulated," says FBI agent Michael Gavin.

Gavin says parents need to have the passwords to their children's social media accounts and phones, but that's not enough. He says parents should also install spy or filtering software.

"Know who your children are talking to online; what they are doing and how they are doing it," said Gavin.

The Local I-Team found three apps you can download onto your children's phones which will allow you to monitor what they're doing.

"Net Nanny" is a program that allows you to block specific websites and entire categories of websites.

The second app --- "Secureteen.” It allows you to read word for word exactly what your child is texting to other people. It also gives you call logs that show you exactly who your children are talking to, and how often.

The third app is "Teensafe.” It allows you to track your teen's texts and calls, and gives your child's exact location. And get this, you can also shut down your child's phone remotely.

"Just like you would control in the real world where they go, who they see, and what they are doing, you need to do the same online.," said Gavin.

Leake says she doesn't consider this spying. She considers it being a good grandma. “They spend so much time on their devices, if parents don't keep up, they are going to have big problems with their children."

You can also check the following sites for more suggestions on keeping track of your kids online.

 

  • http://www.getnetwise.org/
  • http://www.safekids.com/kids-rules-for-online-safety/
  • https://www.fbi.gov/resources/parents

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