Are you monitoring your teen's cell? - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Are you monitoring your teen's cell?

Posted: Updated:
LARGO, FL (WFLA) -

When it comes to teenagers you might wonder what's the next "it" social site? That's tough for parents to track because it's constantly changing. Teens are dividing their attention between an array of applications that let them text and chat with their friends and often with strangers.

15-year-old Brenna McAnulty spends a lot of time on her phone. One of her favorite new apps, Match Me, is a virtual dating site where Brenna thought she came across one of her idols, teen pop artist Austin Mahone.

The two began frequent on line chats culminating in a plan for Brenna to go to his upcoming concert in Tampa. He offered her a ticket to his meet and greet and the concert for $150.

"I was really excited because he said I could hang out with him," says Brenna. But then, the would-be Austin Mahone suggested Brenna get a hold of her parents credit card without their permission. That's when Brenna told her mother, Valerie McAnulty, about the chats.

"The minute he started asking for money was the minute I was like no," said Valerie McAnulty. "When Brenna finally realized everything was false, I think she spent the next day and a half in her room just completely depressed."

Robyn Spoto is the President of Mama Bear, an app that helps parents track their kids on line activity.  She says of the internet , "It's a wide open door for a lot of bad to happen."

Another popular teen app is Ask FM.  Spoto is not a fan of it because you can choose to be anonymous which she says opens the door for bullying and other dangers.

Spoto gave that app a test drive herself.  "Within ten minutes there was a young girl.  I found out what school she went to, where she lived in New Jersey and the names, the full names, of the friends in her group."

Under the Children's On Line Privacy Protection Act, kids under the age of 13 shouldn't even be on social media but one in four 9 year olds has a Facebook page according to Spoto. Sometimes the parents know about it and condone it. Sometimes they don't.

Spoto recommends parents constantly monitor their kids cell phones. "It's awareness. It's being in the know and not being afraid of what you're going to find if you find something."

Valerie McAnulty agrees. "I think technology has made this a very dangerous world. It preys upon people who are naive."

Related Content: Mama Bear App

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:45 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:45:21 GMT
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
  • FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-09-01 15:48:49 GMT
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
  • Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:48:06 GMT
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Renewals may see delays on first day in Tampa Bay area

    Renewals may see delays on first day in Tampa Bay area

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 12:39 PM EDT2014-09-02 16:39:19 GMT
    Some Florida drivers trying to take advantage of lower fees for auto tag renewals today may encounter some delays in getting their renewals processed. At the Hillsborough County Tax Collector's office, the director of branch operations said they started having trouble around 11 am, but the state's system for processing renewals appeared to be slowly coming back up.
    Some Florida drivers trying to take advantage of lower fees for auto tag renewals today may encounter some delays in getting their renewals processed. At the Hillsborough County Tax Collector's office, the director of branch operations said they started having trouble around 11 am, but the state's system for processing renewals appeared to be slowly coming back up.
  • Know this pup? Dog found by St. Pete police

    Know this pup? Dog found by St. Pete police

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 11:50 AM EDT2014-09-02 15:50:59 GMT
    St. Petersburg Police are trying to find the owner of a friendly, brown dog that approached an officer Tuesday morning.
    St. Petersburg Police are trying to find the owner of a friendly, brown dog that approached an officer Tuesday morning.
  • Explosion at beverage packaging facility in Lakeland

    Explosion at beverage packaging facility in Lakeland

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 11:18 AM EDT2014-09-02 15:18:45 GMT
    An explosion at a Lakeland beverage packaging facility sent a 60,000-pound boiler onto a CSX railroad track Tuesday morning.
    An explosion at a Lakeland beverage packaging facility sent a 60,000-pound boiler onto a CSX railroad track Tuesday morning.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

1336 Augusta West Parkway
Augusta, GA 30909

Telephone: 706.722.6664
Email: talkback6@wjbf.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.