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Cyberparenting: the struggle of keeping tabs on new apps


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SAN ANTONIO – Kids have been finding ways around their parents for a long time. But with new apps constantly at everyone’s fingertips, it’s now even easier. Plus, there’s more risk to be exposed to online predators, traffickers, and inappropriate content.

“Kids are always going to be one step ahead of us with technology,” founder of non-profit nextTalk Mandy Majors says. “They are digital natives and we are not."

Digital Forensics Consultant David Gallant sees patterns when he combs through handheld devices – many tactics which leave no trace in phone records.

“This teenage girl was communicating with her adult boyfriend,” Gallant says. “They both had iPhones. They were using the Notepad app. What she would do is she would paste in song lyrics. What [the] mother didn’t know was when [she] scrolled all the way down, she would see elicit conversations.”

Mandy Majors says there is one key tactic she advises parents to use when it comes to phone safety.

“Open dialogue in your home so that they’re going to be able to tell you when they see things online,” she says. “When they’ve mastered one and you’re okay with it -- you’ve never found anything inappropriate and you’re following their accounts and you’re logged into their accounts and you have the passwords – then they can earn some monitor when they get trust.”

Majors adds that instead of just monitoring their activity, use it together, and have their accounts linked to your own, like on Instagram.

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“Click your little profile picture and at the top it will have your name. If you click that it will say add account, and you can go between you and your kids’ account very easily. That will give you access to the direct messaging.”

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