Keeping teens safe on the phone - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Keeping teens safe on the phone


Snapchat, Omegle... There are too many apps out there to keep up with.

Kids are downloading this Omegle app that advertises you can "talk to strangers." It pairs you up with someone of the opposite sex that you don't know and allows you to chat.

Kyra Snyder found this app on her 13-year-old step daughter's phone. She says when she and her husband sat down with her, this tween didn't realize there was any danger involved in chatting it up with a stranger.

"She didn't think there was anything wrong with it because of the fact that she's not actually talking to the person face-to-face. How could they possibly know where she lives... but then when you go into the idea that they can add each other on facebook," Snyder said.

Snyder says she even downloaded an app to keep tabs on her step-daughter's phone usage, but the app still managed to sneak through the cracks because there's nothing wrong with the app in itself. It's the people that get on it.

Snyder says it's important to set boundaries with your child and talk about the dangers of what can happen online because she says kids see an app and they assume it must be safe - especially if it's available to download.

It's no wonder parents may find themselves at a loss when it comes to parental controls.

After all, you learn to parent from your parents.

Adult and child counselor Rebecca Koetters with Quanada says parents need to do their research and set some boundaries.

"If the teen knows what kind of boundaries the mom and dad expects from them, a lot of times a teen is not going to go over and above that and make it worse on themselves," said Koetters.

Koetters says not to be afraid to take that phone from time to time and see what your kid has been doing on it. She says a lot of parents are dealing with uncharted territory since this hasn't been around forever and is evolving so quickly that it's important to try to keep on top of things.

There are third party applications you can download in the Google Play store. They require a username and password and cannot be deleted without them, so you can see exactly what your child is doing on the phone.

Kyra Snyder, the mother that found the potentially dangerous Omegle app on her step-daughter's phone also works at Illinois Signal and she says parents need to be aware that although they can download these app-watchers, they still need to keep an eye on that phone.

"Keep checking their phone because inappropriate conversations on Facebook or through these apps that aren't caught in that parental control.. there still could be things going on that you'd want to know ," Snyder said.

If all this isn't enough, Snyder suggests taking that phone every once in a while, be open with them about the dangers of the Internet.

If you are having trouble keeping up with the latest apps and technology, you can stop by your wireless provider and they should be able to listen to your concerns and help you download what you need.

Snyder said she has used both Norton Family Parental Control and Kids Place. You can get free trials and depending on which app you choose. Eventually you may have to pay a fee, but she says it's worth it.

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