LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - There's an app for just about everything these days and new ones are almost constantly popping up. That can make it difficult for parents to monitor what their kids are doing online.
Monitoring how kids are using social media and apps is growing more important with each new app released. The ever-changing number of apps available creates more opportunity for cyberbullying, and with technology like iPads now in the classroom, schools are taking extra precautions in monitoring what that technology is being used for.
At Lincoln Middle School in La Crosse, each student has an iPad for school. Which forces staff to pay close attention to what new apps are coming out.
"If we know what to look for and we know that kids are doing this, then we can be a little more pre-emptive and a little more proactive in stopping things before they start," Melissa Murray, principal at Lincoln/SOTA II/Coulee Montessori Middle School, said.
When the school hears of a new app causing problems, they inform parents.
"We like to be able to be a little pre-emptive and help parents to understand what they might be seeing with their kids or if their kids come to them and say 'hey I saw this, or one of my friends have this, or somebody told me about this,' that parents are in the loop," Murray said.
"Every week we learn about a new one, and the kids, it's the latest and greatest, they want to check that one out," said Crystal Sedevie, investigator with the Holmen Police Department.
Sedevie said some apps are causing lots of problems.
"Apps are nothing new, but it does tend to be probably the majority of the caseload that we are seeing now with kids being victimized," Sedevie said.
With new apps out every day, Sedevie said it's hard for parents to keep up.
"Generally, parents are frustrated. When we have a case come to light and we have to contact parents, educate them and kind of let them know what their kids have been doing, most of the time they have no idea," Sedevie said.
But Sedevie recommends parents be overly protective so there is less risk of a child getting in trouble or becoming a victim.
"Be proactive and have that monitoring software on that device and be checking that device periodically without your kids' knowledge. And be on the pro-side of it instead of on the reactive side, where you're getting a phone call from me or another police officer, and then it's to late," Sedevie said.
The Holmen Police Department said many kids are moving away from more popular social media like Facebook because their parents are now on the site. They are now seeing kids using apps with more privacy.
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