Kids, smartphones and safety

(WTNH) — Plainville resident Nichols Olson will serve 9 months in prison after pleading no contest to uploading more than 20 nude photos of high school classmates.

Police say the photos were taken with phones or tablets with permission of the girls ages 12 to 16 years old.

So how do you protect your kids? What apps are on their phone or tablet?

“We have Back Chat, we have Whisper that is anonymous, Yick Tack that is a new app so as parents we will never be ahead of the game and best understand,” said University of St. Joseph professor of digital citizenship Marialice Curran.

Curran says the list of apps and programs out there targeting kids gets bigger every day. Go on your child’s device with them, app by app and don’t be fooled. There are apps out there to help kids hide information from parents.

One example is Spy Calc, which lets teens look like they are doing math. “But if I push in a code I can hide certain pictures or videos and it is a very deceiving looking app,” Curran said.

If you want to get a little more agressive and hands-on, they do have applications in the privacy settings that allow you to lock out parts of your child’s phone. From the camera to the Internet, you can pick and choose what they use. If you want a little softer approach, there are computer programs that will monitor what your kids are doing.

“There are computer programs and paid apps (like) one called Net Nanny,” said Sam Carman of Kaplan Computers.

“It will send reports to parents’ email or their phone saying exactly what they have done, who they have texted and what they have texted (including any crude photos),” Carman said.

A written contract between parent and child is also helpful. For more ideas on keeping your kids safe in the technology age, visit http://www.mbfxc.com/.

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