How closely should parents monitor kids' online activity? - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

How closely should parents monitor kids' online activity?

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Many parents are questioning how closely they should monitor their kids’ internet activity after two recent high-profile cases involving teenage girls running away with older men.

In both Tennessee cases, the teens text or communicated through email and social media.

Most teens live on their cell phones and sometimes parents don’t know what they’re looking at or who they’re talking to.

Chris Sands is a youth pastor and community liaison for Memorial Hospital’s teen dating and violence program.

Sands travels to different schools in the area talking to teens about knowing their worth and value.

“A lot of times young people are looking for an outlet or someone to really understand them and that's why social media has become so big,” Sands told Channel 3.

Sands suggests a couple of tools to help parents monitor kids’ web history, texts, phone calls and location. Once is called “Net Nanny” and the other is “Teen Safe.”

"It will help you know what social media sites they're on. There is a GPS that you can actually track the young people and also you can find out who they're talking to and who they're texting,” said Sands.

He says these are simple tools that can help keep parents in the loop.

“It's important that we have these particular social sites to help parents know and identify what's going on, especially with someone that's older especially with a 15-year-old. It hurts but it happens every single day,” said Sands.

While these tools are important, Sands says the most important thing parents can do is to know what’s going on in kids’ lives by talking to them.

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