CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - At times, it seems the world is at our finger tips, and apps can make it easy to work, play or connect with others.
Chesterfield Police Chief Colonel Jeffrey Katz is warning parents to pay attention to whats behind their kids phone screens.
"Technology moves so fast, there are so many outside influences," explained Katz.
As a parent and law enforcement officer, he is encouraging families to lovingly and firmly monitor their children's social media activity.
In a Facebook post shared hundreds of times, Katz shared 10 apps teens are using that parents should know about. They include:
- Hot or Not
- Burn Book
Katz says a resident sent the list to him, and he felt it was important for others to be aware.
"We really have to be on guard to the general theme that apps may not be what they appear," said Katz. "Some of those apps, quite frankly, I wasn't aware existed. There's that one app that's disguised to look like a calculator."
The Calculator app uses a calculator icon, but instead, is a place to SECRETLY save photos and videos.
Omegle markets itself as a place to safely chat with strangers anonymously.
The list warns parents of Instagram - or fake Instagram accounts, which are usually made private to hide certain photos or videos.
In his post, Katz writes, "There are bad actors out there who will leverage your child's desire for privacy to groom them for exploitation while using otherwise legitimate apps. Do not give them this space or opportunity!"
He says diligence is key to keeping young people safe, by monitoring what's on their phones and who they are contacting on a regular basis.
"The world wide web is the modern equivalent of the wild west," explained Katz. "[There are] people that are out there looking to influence our kids, to reach out to kids, and to exploit them."
Katz encourages the tough, age-appropriate conversations about the potential dangers of sharing personal information. In an age where cyber bullying, sexting and even human trafficking are issues faces so many communities, Katz says safety can start with a smartphones.
"You don't have to sneak that you're not giving them privacy, just say 'look, I'm going to be monitoring what you're doing, and I care, and here's why,'" said Katz.
Copyright 2018 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.