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Apps to help parents monitor digital conversations

Posted at 12:02 PM, May 07, 2018

With Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and many others apps having chat features, it can be increasingly difficult for parents to know who is talking to their child.

Several years ago, parents warned children about using chatrooms, but now those conversations can take place on popular apps.

Mary Murphy has five children younger than age 5. Right now, she limits screen time, but knows she'll need to adjust as they get older.

"When they get older like driving we should probably give them a phone for safety," Murphy said. "But I don't know much before that. It's just so dangerous to let your kid have a phone and not know what they're doing on it."

Grandmother Kathleen Hamilton can't even comprehend having to track her children in the digital age.

"We didn't have the internet, we didn't have a smartphone," Hamilton said. "You have to really watch as a parent a lot more than I had to because there wasn't that openness with a computer and your name and your email. There wasn't any of that."

While many apps students use have chat features, there are apps parents can use as well.

Parents in Arizona are crediting the Sentry Parental Control app with helping them find inappropriate messages sent to their child from a teacher, who has since been charged.

Other monitoring apps include Flexispy and Qustodio, among many others.

Some monitoring apps are more expensive and some are more invasive on a child's privacy. In the end, parents are encouraged to research different apps and figure out what's best for their family.

Murphy says that's her plan.

"As they get older, definitely discussing with them what's on the internet and but then using what's available to parents," she said.