Columbus experts weigh in on hidden apps, cyber-monitoring teens

Columbus experts weigh in on hidden apps, and teen cyber-monitoring

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Online predators and sneaky behavior from some teens have parents in the Valley seeking help from local experts on how to protect their tech-savvy kids.

The Pastoral Institute will help parents navigate a sometimes confusing cyber world on Wednesday, Sept. 14 and 21 starting at 6:15 p.m. at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Columbus.

"Online is a dangerous place, there's 700,000 predators online at any given moment, and our kids need to be protected by those sorts of things," said Jonathan Herston, interim director of Right From the Start.

As the technology revolution continues to rage on, parents across the country and in the Valley are sometimes struggling to keep up.

That's why the Pastoral Institute and Right From the Start are guiding parents on how to monitor their tech-savvy children with information you may not be aware of, on how to block inappropriate material and scan devices for usage.

While you do want to check computers your teen has access too, research shows most teens are using their smart phones which can hide apps like Digit Cal. Digit Cal looks like a normal application until you type in a numerical password, which opens up a secret portal to save pictures and videos.

Experts say there's a fine line between protecting and controlling.

"There's that big debate about, on one hand what about their privacy? On the other hand, what about their safety?" asked Herston.

The events are free and the goal is to give parents a peace of mind, that their children aren't taking part in potentially dangerous or adult behavior under or away from their watchful eyes.

"The devices won't always be used at home, especially if it's like a cellphone, they may be at a friends house, so how do we set up settings on the phones," said Herston. 

Event organizers ask parents to call and RSVP before the free seminar so seating can be arranged. You can contact the church at (706) 327-7419.

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