Safer internet Day: teens address concerns with social media app - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Safer internet Day: teens address concerns with social media apps

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WEST FRANKFORT -- The Illinois Attorney General marks "Safer Internet Day" by urging parents and educators to help students adopt healthier online habits.

Lisa Madigan wants to encourage educators to hold a "Secure It Day" for students to take inventory of online accounts and address vulnerable areas.

News 3 found some Franklin County students who have their own concerns about social media.

Miranda Demaretti got her first smart phone during her sophomore year in high school.

"That's when I first made my Twitter account. I made my Instagram account and my Facebook," said Demaretti.
   
It didn't take long before the West Frankfort teen ventured out to the more popular apps and sites among teens.

"I used to have a Kik a long time ago and then I deleted it," explained Demaretti.

Many teens use these apps as a primary source for socializing. Apps can also bring danger because many of the sites don't protect students from cyberbullying or predators. There are some that allow you to be anonymous.

"We don't think about it and are not as mature thinking about it as we should be and the how the people who make the stuff expect us to use it," said Demaretti.

She said lately more students have turned to the app "After School."

"It was a weirder version of Twitter. With Twitter you post like, 'I just got off school, so hungry.' People that would get on After School would be like, 'I just got off school, can't wait to stare at pictures of this person.' It was weird and it was creepy," said senior Shawn Davis.

Davis only had the app for three days before removing it. 

Attorney General Madigan recommends parents and teachers help youth take steps to make sure personal information is secure online. For instance, change usernames that contain personal information, create strong passwords, turn on privacy settings, and avoid people you don't know.

"Where I work, my name is on my name tag and sometimes I recognize people and when they leave I get an instant follow or a friend request from people that I see, like strangers," said Demaretti.

Demaretti said she takes proper precautions to stay safe, but knows not all of her peers do. She said schools do their best to protect students, but believes mom and dad have the first responsibility.

"I think at home is where it should be the bigger concern because your parents should be the ones worrying about you more and who you're talking to," said Demaretti.

Right now there is an App called TeenSafe that allows parents to monitor their children's phone activity. Click on the link to find a list of apps to avoid.

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