Are you buying your child a smartphone or iPad this holiday season?
Mobile technology can be a great way for parents and children to stay connected especially in an emergency but who else is talking to your child? However, these days parents not only have to worry about online predators but sexting, pornography and cyber-bullying.
A former detective and now owner of Pro-Digital Forensic Consulting offers a new service that can help.
Forensic examiner Patrick Siewert says, “It will detail dates, times, depending the settings on the phone, the location where the photo was taking.”
Smartphones, iPads, tablets… You name it, Siewert can search it.
“It will give you the basic information from the phone but then you can also get all the contact information, all the people they have in their contacts, call history basically going back to the life the phone,” explains Siewert.
He uses special software that can examine every phone call, email, text, or picture ever received or sent from your child’s phone.
It may sound like an invasion of privacy but Richmond Police Detective Kevin Hiner with the Computer Crimes Unit says parents need to pay close attention to what their kids are doing on their mobile devices.
Det. Kevin Hiner tell 8News, “Anytime that their child is a lone with this device in their room, yes your child has access to the internet but everybody on the internet also has access to your child.”
Hiner says he has seen first-hand how predators right here in Richmond have used portable devices to connect with kids.
“We have seen everything from predators posing as children enticing other children, we have had predators manipulate children into taking pictures of their friends, “ says Hiner.
From Siewert’s police background, he knows sometimes parents may already have suspicions that something may not be just right. However, often their suspicions are not enough for police to act.
“If you take your mobile device to a police department and say I want you to look at my son’s phone and see what is going on they’re going to look at you and say they don’t have time for that because there is no crime that has been committed,” say Siewert.
That’s where Siewert says a forensic examination can help.
The former detective can go as far as to extract GPS data from calls and texts on your child’s phone and then plot it out on a map.
It can tell you exactly where your child was at the time of the call, video or text.
“Bottom line is, parents are the ones in control of the accounts, “ says Siewert.
Detective Hiner also recommends parents set up clear rules with their kids about cell phone and ipad use.
He also reminds parents, you can set up parental controls that limit access to some sites and restrict what hours your child is online.