CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — If you have a teen or tween, chances are, they spend hours on their cell phone every day — texting friends, taking pictures and using apps.
But do you really know what they are doing?
WRIC looked into a few apps you might want to keep an eye on — or keep your kids away from altogether.
Like most parents, Erin Windsor is used to seeing her daughter’s face in her phone.
The Chesterfield mom tried to keep an eye on what her 14-year-old is doing. They have an agreement; Windsor can look through her phone whenever she wants.
“Every day, every couple of days,” said Windsor.
One of the apps on her daughter’s phone is Snapchat.
Snapchat is the popular app that lets users share pictures and messages for up to 10 seconds. It’s a fun way to chat, but when it first rolled out Snapchat made headlines because some were using it to send risque pictures that disappeared from the screen.
Now, there’s a new concern — its speed filter.
The app lets you clock and share your speed with friends. The fear? That it can encourage teens to drive too fast and use their phones behind the wheel.
But Snapchat does warn users not to snap and drive.
A spokesperson for the app also gave this statement to ABC News, saying in part:
“We work hard to keep our community safe and take distracted driving seriously, including a ‘Do NOT Snap and Drive’ warning message when this Geofilter is first accessed.”
The point of Omegle is to talk to strangers with just one click. Users can do it through text or face-to-face with a webcam or cell phone camera. You don’t even need to create an account to be paired with a stranger.
Right on its homepage, this message to users:
“Predators have been known to use Omegle, so please be careful.”
The app also explains to users that, “The people you encounter on Omegle may not behave appropriately and they are solely responsible for their own behavior.”
Kik is another messaging app that lets users be anonymous.
Police say the suspects charged in the death of 13-year-old Nicole Lovell from Blacksburg met her through the app. That was in January.
A few weeks later, Williamsburg police say a man raped a 12-year-old girl he met on the same app.
“We have zero tolerance for any behavior that potentially affects the safety of our users. As well as our 24/7 support team, we offer blocking and reporting tools to allow users to flag unwanted content or contact,” Kik said in a statement to ABC News. “We are also reviewing all aspects of safety across the company in an effort to further improve the experience of our users, and to further address the concerns of parents. We continue to cooperate with law enforcement as needed anywhere in the world.”
Sometimes snooping through your child’s phone might not be enough.
Do you notice anything unusual with this picture:
Probably not, but behind the fake calculator icon at the bottom, users can secretly store pictures and videos.
Most people wouldn’t even know they’re there. Even if you do, you have to punch in a password to gain access.
There are similar apps available that can hide your photos and videos.
“Pretty scary,” said Windsor.
Windsor says she’ll continue to monitor her daughter’s phone and that parents shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions.
“Predators can hook up with your kids and you not even know it,” she said. “You have to be very careful. You have to be smart.”