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Feds Urge Parents To Know What Kids Are Doing With Their Smartphones

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(Credit: PARK JI-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images)

(Credit: PARK JI-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Ian Bush Ian Bush
Ian Bush is an anchor, reporter, news editor, and technology editor&nb...
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By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s a big job for parents to keep tabs on their smartphone-and-tablet-toting child. Now, the government is raising privacy concerns about games and other kid-targeted apps.

The advice for mobile devices sounds a lot like a parental warning about stranger danger: “If they feel uncomfortable or the app looks a little fishy to them, they should not download it,” says Jessica Rich, with the Federal Trade Commission.

Since many apps come at no cost, mom and dad’s credit card can stay tucked away.

But, that often means parental checks on those programs don’t happen.

“They should consider what they know about who created the app, what they can find out about the developer, what the app does, and take a minute to learn about the controls and settings on the device.”

Rich says they sampled hundreds of apps up for grabs from Apple and Google’s stores and found some wanted to collect the phone’s GPS location data and other potentially prying information.

The federal regulators want app makers to be up-front with what personal details are gathered and how they’re using that info — and they say parents must keep a closer eye on their kids’ touchscreens.

One suggestion: keep the App Store or Google Marketplace password to yourself. If your kid wants to download a game, you check out what that program wants in return.

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