Cell phone apps can thwart child predators - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Cell phone apps can thwart child predators

Parents can monitor their child's cell phone use by installing apps in their kid's phone, but installed secretly the apps can undermine family relationships.

"Hackers are climbing in your windows, so hide your kids," said cyber safety specialist Chris Duque.

Duque said most smart phones come equipped with GPS technology that tracks movement and location.

"When he (a predator) sends a photo to the girl or the boy, that photograph will give away the location of where he took that photograph from," Duque said.

Applications that are not built into phones can be bought on-line.

There are apps that will send parents an email report of every text their child sends or receives. Parents can see phone numbers of all the calls their child makes. They can check out photos sent and received. Apps will track the location of the phone. They will even give a street view of the phone's location. And there are apps that will let parents know if their child is breaking family cell phone rules - for example, no calls after 10 pm.

"If the phone is used after ten o'clock, the service will pick it up and record it for you. Or maybe email you a notice or even call you to say, ‘hey, your daughter's phone is calling this number,'" Duque added.

Duque said the apps can be useful, but parents should think twice before secretly installing them in their child's phone.

"I've seen wedges or break ups in families because of the spying, because of the lack of trust," he said.

Duque suggests parents tell their children the tracking apps are being installed.

Of course if they do, tech savvy kids may find a way to out app mom and dad's app. Or they may just use another cell phone.

Duque said apps may help, but they are no substitute for good old fashion parenting.

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