Bristol Police are asking teachers, and parents of teens at Kickemuit Middle School to be ‘on notice.'
Detectives are investigating several claims that students may have taken inappropriate photos with their smart phones, and used two apps that may not yet be on the radar screens of local moms and dads to distribute the pics amongst friends.
So, on Thursday, the Bristol Police Department notified the Bristol Warren School District, which, in turn then warned parents, to be aware of the two, lesser known photo sharing apps and websites called ‘kik.com' and ‘heyhey.com.'
Police say the see and then self-destruct photo apps could leave kids vulnerable to some major problems or just embarrassment if used with sensitive photographs.
NBC10 caught up with one local high school health teacher from Fall River who was quite surprised to hear that there were popular apps that he had not heard of yet.
Chris Cicchinelli said, "These new apps, no I haven't heard of them. I've heard of Snapchat, and ooVoo. ooVoo was the other big one that the students were using which was a video app. Being a high school health teacher, it's a disruption in class, because the students are constantly using their phones for taking photos etc."
Experts and social media attorneys say, going forward, parents must be proactive about their kids and smart phones. Here's what Brian Lamoureux of the law firm Pannone, Lopes, Devereaux & West, LLC
wants you to ask your child.
Lamoureux recommends inquiring, "What apps do you use? Who do you use them with? What do you use them for? How often do you use them? And then, get the answer, put the apps yourself on your own phone, or Google them and figure out how they work, learn what can and can't be done, and start that conversation about photos with your child."
He said, "Parents need to monitor what their kids are doing, and the devices that they're using. They need to be monitored. So whether they're having some type of parent tracking thing on their device, or they're totally blocking, or not letting the child have internet access at all, it needs to be done."
Kenneth Barber of Warren said, "I think parents should be blocking all these apps, and internet usage and everything else.
When asked how long parents should restrict access, Barber said, "At least until age 18 or 19."
Dylan Vandrimlen of Bristol says safety with smart phones has a lot to do with positive parent-child relationships.
Vandrimlen said, "It comes down to whether or not parents can connect with their children and explain to them the risks that they're taking."
Lamoureux advises, "I strongly believe if children know that mom and dad are thinking about it, and watching, they'll have a little bit of a filter. If they think this is their real estate, and that mom and dad don't care, don't look, don't ask, then it's going to be a real recipe for a problem."
Lamoureux continued by saying the he believes that one of the reasons teens are now turning to the more obscure apps to share photos with friends is that they're well-aware that parents have already figured out the Facebook and Twitter, and perhaps are already monitoring those two websites.
So, he surmises, that kids these days are hoping parents won't notice what they're up to on the less mainstream apps, because moms and dads don't yet know they even exist.
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