How parents can protect their children online - FOX 35 News Orlando

How parents can protect their children online

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Protecting a child is a parent's No. 1 priority. But it's hard when children are savvier at getting around online than their parents.

President of On Target Web Solutions, Tom Jelneck, is more than a "tech geek" -- he's a father, too.

"I'm not saying I'm a spy," says Jelneck, "but I certainly have to pay attention to what is going on with every aspect of that phone."

To stay one step ahead of your child in the tech battle, start with sites such as TechCrunch or Mashable.

According to Jelneck, these sites "tell us what is happening in the digital world. So they will talk about new apps kids may be using. They will talk about media outlets I need to stay aware of."

If you know what apps are scandalous, it's easier to spot them on your child's phone or computer.

And it's not just sites like Facebook or Twitter that you want to check, there are also games where predators may lurk.

Jelneck's 9-year-old daughter, Malia, has taken a liking to the game "Animal Jam."

"You walk around and basically have fun," Malia says. "I'd say about three out of my four friends have it."

Jelneck says parents should read about popular games, their sponsors and whether strangers are able to contact players via instant message.

Also, be aware of apps such as SnapChat.

"Essentially what it does is it snaps a picture. And it texts or emails it to your friend, and it is off your phone allegedly in 15 seconds," Jelneck said.

Malia said kids in her school are using apps such as SnapChat to bully one another.

"If they don't want you to see the picture, they can just take a screenshot and rub it in your face," Malia said.

Finally, parents can invest in a third-party site such as NetNanny, which allows them to monitor what their child does.

It can disable clearing of browser history and block incoming chats, "all that good stuff so I can customize it the way I want to protect my child," Jelneck says.

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