Is your child's new smart device really safe?

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Some of your kids may be getting some new tech toys or smart devices for the holidays, but police have some warnings for you.

New technology can mean new ways for hackers and possible predators to sneak in and cause damage.

Whether it be a smart phone, tablet, or gaming console, the end result will more than likely always be a smile on your kids faces when they receive the gift.

But before they open the box for their new toy, authorities say you as parents should have already opened it.

"Just giving the gift in general without any guidance is something we want to alert parents on," said Charleston Police Detective Doug Galluccio.

Galluccio said you should install some sort of parental control application on the device for your children, also called watchdog apps.

"You can program what you're looking for, what you want to do, what you want to see, and what information you want to get back from it," he said.

"She can't go on YouTube," said Sarah Dilling, who has a control in place for her six-year-old daughter. "I know they have a kids tube, so she does that. She's also always within ear shot with the iPad, so we're always aware of what she's watching."

"We're the helicopter parents, so we are the watchdog app," said Simone Ansley, who has a 13-year-old son.

Ansley said there are measures and rules in place for her son's cell phone.

"The cell phone is linked to his father's cell phone," she said.

That means she can see what text messages and emails are being sent to her son, and what her son is sending to other people.

It's something she feels she needs to do in order to keep her child safe.

"Sometimes [you] don't always know what he's receiving" Ansley said. "So you're not sure if something comes in, that may not be appropriate."

Another concern, gaming devices.

Certain games allow you to talk to people all around the world, some may even be predators. The Charleston Police Department was notified through a national system of a case recently from a parent.

"The parent was kind of concerned that the amount of information that was being exchanged," Galluccio said. "The information being sent to the child like follow me here and let's chat here, that kind of thing, raised concerns."

Galluccio added talking to your children about these possible dangers will allow you and your child to be on the lookout for things out of the norm.

A majority of the parental control applications are free. There are a variety of them that can be found in your app store.

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