Technology allows parents to keep eyes on what kids are texting

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SARASOTA-- Keeping your kids safe through today's technology is no easy task. Just ask Mandy O'Malley, the Program Director with the Child Protection Center in Sarasota.

 "Technology surrounds our kids. It's part of their world. We teach kids technology is like a knife. It's the tool you have to have sometimes, but if it's used without being careful, it can be dangerous," said O'Malley.

The latest example happened in Manatee County. A professional tennis player was arrested after allegedly arranging to have sex with a 13-year-old girl. Investigators say the man texted explicit messages and graphic images to the teen.

"We want to be aware of who they are text messaging and who they are talking to on facebook and who they are friending on the web," said O'Malley.

That can be difficult, says Peter Martin, a tech expert with Cactus Sky Communications.

"The problem with that is kids can delete messages and emails," said Martin.

Yet, Martin says there is technology available to help parents keep a watchful eye on what their kids are writing and reading. The software program My Mobile Watchdog is an example.

"You will now have the ability on your computer to log in at any moment, be able to see where your kids are, what their communications are, who they are talking to, what they are texting, and what pics are being sent. You can keep an eye on whats going on and protect your children," said Martin.

It's a small investment to do just that. Programs like My Mobile Watchdog cost about 5 bucks a month.

For more information on My Mobile Watchdog, visit, mymobilewatchdog.com

If you are interested in learning about free workshops at the Child Protection Center on how to keep your kids safe, visit cpcsarasota.org or call (941) 365-1277 ext. 106.