School Resource Officer Jason Fogelman provides regular Cyber Safety Cop updates below. These updates are designed to help parents in today's digital world.
The updates wll be archived by date.
To contact Officer Fogelman, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cyber Safety Cop - Snapchat's "extremely dangerous" flaw that could allow predators to target schools. Click on link below to read more.
Cyber Safety Cop - Issue #9 - October 1, 2017
New School Year With New Dangerous Apps
Cyber Safety Cop - Issue #1 - March 1, 2017
Houseparty - What Parents Need to Know
What is Houseparty, and how does it work?
Houseparty is a new group video chat app available on both apple and android devices.
You can add friends based on the phone numbers you have stored in your contacts or search for their usernames. Once you open the app, you can join “rooms” (the apps’ name for chats) with other friends who are currently in the app.
Chats are limited to eight participants per room, but you can have as many rooms as you want (you can navigate between simultaneous chats by swiping across the screen.)
The app has apparently already amassed a sizable user base, primarily among teenagers. In many ways, the app is tailored to these younger users: emoji are sprinkled liberally throughout the app and the app’s interface, which launches directly in the camera, feels remarkably similar to Snapchat.
Its creators say it encourages users to have frequent, candid conversations with their friends and family. The question for parents is: Is this new social media app safe for my child?
Safety and privacy concerns
When a user is in a Houseparty group chat, a connection from one of the in-chat members can choose to join the group, even though they are not connected or known to the other users. Houseparty does however give you the option to lock your conversations. When the conversation has been locked, everyone is notified that the user has locked the conversation and if someone should try to join, they are blocked from doing that. So, if your kids are going to be using the Houseparty app, we encourage you to get them into the habit of locking the conversation. If someone within the conversation unlocks the chat, then everyone is notified that the conversation has been unlocked.
One major issue with this, and other similar apps, is unless the parent is sitting on their kid’s shoulder, they will not know what is happening or being said on the video chat. The video chat is not recorded and cannot be reviewed later by the parent making accountability for children using this app very difficult.
The app store rates Houseparty 4+. This is a very low age rating for this type of social media application. My recommended minimum age for Houseparty is 13 years-old.
Before I would allow my teen to use this app, I would discuss the following issues: