Parents should look out for these apps

SCOTT COUNTY-- There's a new list of social media apps parents should keep an eye out for.

On Wednesday, the Scott County Sheriff's Department shared on Facebook some apps that allow strangers to instant message with each other and share users' locations. The post, originally from the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office in Florida, is spreading after 21 people there were arrested for inappropriate contact with kids online.

Children have lied about their age to get on dating apps like Bumble and Hot or Not. Users on Holla have reported seeing racial slurs and explicit content. There's even an app that looks like a calculator but allows users to keep photos and documents hidden.

"We have heard some talk about a calculator app that can hide things," said Deb Temperly, a teacher librarian at Bettendorf Middle School. "It keeps our tech department busy."

Temperly said the school has a program called Go Guardian, which can prevent students from downloading certain apps onto their school-issued Chromebooks.

"Kids are smart. Just when you think you have figured out how to make sure there's nothing they can do to mess up what we're doing with Go Guardian, they find a way around things sometimes," she said.

She said parents needs to have conversations with their kids about what they do online.

"Knowing what they're doing. Having conversations," she said. "'What are you doing online? Can you show me some of the things you've done?' Parents have a right to ask that."

Parents should also keep smart devices in high traffic areas in the home and have their students do homework where they can see the screen. It's also important to put the phone away at night.

Many parents outside Bettendorf Middle School Wednesday afternoon said they restrict which apps their kids can download onto their phones. Some turn off location settings.

"We certainly limit the amount of time that they're on their phones and also what social media they have access to," parent Pat Miletich said.

Parents said it's scary that strangers can contact and try to meet their kids in person and it's important to stay up to date on these apps.