Apps help parents track kids - FOX 13 News

Apps help parents track kids

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Ask any typical family. All own a typical device.

"Without a cell phone I wouldn't be able to communicate with my parents and siblings with my extracurricular activities," said Courtney Kimbell.

Kids seem to be getting cell phones at a younger and younger age.

"I think you have to always be in contact with your children and to a certain degree trust them," said John Larocca.

To better trust, some parents track their kids.

"We're all a group of parents that care about protecting children and honoring families," said Robyn Spoto, President of Mama Bear App.

Spoto is the "mama bear" behind the Mama Bear App. Her company developed a new kid-tracker here in Tampa, and it's on 12,000 phones and growing. It's more than a GPS tracker; the Mama Bear sees all social media activity, too.

"It's really important that parents pay close attention to the activities that children are participating in on social media, monitoring it and using it as a tool to talk safety and behavior," Spoto said.

Other apps some parents use are the iKey monitor. It records keystrokes to crack secret passcodes that some kids keep from their parents.

The life360 is a GPS device that shows where each family member is -- even mom and dad -- all in real time.

Then there's the m-spy, which turns a cell phone in to a wire tap.

It could be too much.

"I would understand its purpose but would feel a little like he's being too overbearing. I wouldn't like it," said 17-year-old Clair Larocca.

However, apps like Mama Bear give the child control -- turn it off, the tracking stops.

"It's not a secret. They can delete it. Parents need to have the conversation why they want it on their child's phone," Spoto advised.

That's where parental guidance must combine with modern technology.

"You know you have expectations that you've raised your child right and will make right decisions," Larocca said.

He added that experts say the very best thing you can do is monitor the parental controls on your child's iPhone, iPad and laptop.

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