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How to keep apps from getting you and your kid’s information

During the holiday season, many more folks are using electronics such as their smartphones and downloading new apps.

So when it comes to keeping the kids happy on Christmas, do you really know what privacy you’re giving up in return?

We looked at what you need to know about privacy safety with apps on your phones this holiday season.

Information you or your child are giving up when using some apps include things like your location, your camera roll or even access to your microphone.

“What we don’t want to happen would be for children who unintentionally share some of this information that we as grownups would rather keep private,” said Ariel Pinto, an Old Dominion University associate professor of engineering management and systems engineering.

Pinto warns parents to be aware of what the kids are giving away and with whom they’re sharing their information.

“Gathering, storing and possibly sharing some of our household information,” Pinto said.

Look into whether things like your child’s name, age and birthday being shared with third party companies? And deleting apps doesn’t mean that the information you shared is deleted.

So what can you do?

“Look at the instructions of how we can request that all of our information gathered through these apps would be deleted from the cloud server,” Pinto said.

You’ll likely find that in the parents section.

Are there real risks here?

“I’ve seen it in my work back at the FBI,” Pinto said. “The kids quickly accept the app’s privacy setting without reading the small print. In actuality, not many people read the small print. But you are often giving up your contacts, phone calls, text messages, all your photos, location, maybe even your birthday and other private information. And you can’t get them back.”

Some privacy settings ask for your permission only when using the app.

Does this help?

Not really. Once you give up all the information when you are using the app, the developer has it.

If they turned on the microphone, they were listening. There is no simple answer these days other than recognizing everything you do on your phone or computer may put you at risk.

Reporter:Rich Kolko
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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