Just about any electronic device kids want for Christmas connects to the Internet, and there's one tool parents can use to make sure their kids stay safe from predators or inappropriate material.
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"In this day and age with so much going on, I felt it was important to have that extra eyeball on their devices," said Chris Nocera, a producer at ABC13.
Nocera has two kids who both have devices connected to the Internet.
Like all parents, he cannot possibly monitor every move his kids make online without a little help, so he uses an app called Bark.
"It will flag you. It will flag the parent just to say, 'Hey there is something going on that you should be aware of,'" said Nocera.
The app alerts parents about websites the kids visit and even images being sent to them to make sure they're staying safe and within the rules established by mom and dad.
"The most important thing to keep in mind when giving children devices for the holiday season is that you, the parent, are going to need to have open and honest conversations with them at a much more frequent rate," said Titania Jordan with the Bark app. "We are talking about some of the toughest topics, like pornography, cyber-bulling, suicide, depression, anxiety."
Jordan also said that if you start seeing changes in your child's sleep, behavioral issues, trouble with grades or their appetite, those could be signs that the connected world may be bringing something unwanted into their life.
"Just like you would not let your child ride a bike without a helmet, and you would not let them drive a car without drivers ed., and car insurance and a seat belt, don't give them access to technology without conversations that are critical to protecting them," she said.
She urges parents to set up the parental controls and screen monitoring systems each device has as a way to keep an eye out. Parents can also choose to get apps that help do that.
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