Wake Schools issue social media warning


Parents at Harris Creek Elementary were recently notified in a letter that some students are now using the Kik Messenger app on their personal cell phones and iPads at schools.

Kik is similar to Facebook in that it allows users to chat with other users and upload pictures. Although the app's policy prohibits users under the age of 17, a user's age is never verified.

A spokesperson for Kik Messenger told ABC11 that Kik doesn't collect data about users, so it cannot comment on whether younger users are able to bypass the app store restrictions and download the app.

Another app school administrators are concerned about is Instagram. The app is for sharing photos, but the default setting is public view, which means anyone can see a child's photos.

Wake County Schools say the apps put a student's safety in Jeopardy.

"Some of these devices or applications may include something that makes that student vulnerable, for example making that student vulnerable to predators," Wake County Public School System spokeswoman Renee McCoy.

The school district says using personal devices, such as cell phones and iPads, is prohibited on campus. In most cases, students who are caught using one get it taken away.

Administrators are urging parents to check their child's devices and delete the apps or to consider using password protection.

"There's just so much that we still don't know about the Internet, and it's just a chance for parents to visit that topic. Look at some of the agreements that are listed," McCoy said.

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