New tool available to track teens' social media pages - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

New tool available to track teens' social media pages

Parents are worried about who their kids are chatting, tagging, and friending online. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Parents are worried about who their kids are chatting, tagging, and friending online. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
Do they really know everyone on their friends list? Or are some of those friends really foes? (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Do they really know everyone on their friends list? Or are some of those friends really foes? (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

(WMC) - Parents have a new tool in the battle for better social media for teens.

Social media is where teenagers tell it all and because so many of them want people to think they're so popular, many times they'll accept Facebook friend requests from people they don't even know. That can be an open door to danger.

Parents are worried about who their kids are chatting, tagging, and friending online.

"There are so many ways that people can do things that we don't know how to do," parent Ann O'Leary said.

"Sometimes I do recognize the face or name, but I can't remember from where, so I feel bad if I were saying, no," said student Kyle Vanfrank, whose friends list is in the hundreds. "You hear all the stuff, be careful with social media, but you don't really think about it."

There's a powerful new app that lets you know if the people viewing your kids online profiles are friends or foes.

It's called "Friend Verifier." The free Facebook app scans Facebook friends and friend requests and compares them to the National Sex Offender Registry.

WMC Action News 5 showed a group of students at St.Benedict at Auburndale High School in Cordova how to use the app after typing "Friend Verifier" in the Facebook search box and clicking scan.

The kids got dozens of hits on people on their page with the same name as a sexual predator.

The app is color coded: If a name pops up in yellow that means the name matches a person on the sex offender registry, and orange means a name and location match. Red means the name, location, and date of birth match that of a known sex offender.

After sitting down with the students, Friend Verifier got an "A plus." The final grade from parents:

"It gives us extra security, knowing that someone is out there friending them that we are unaware of, we have a way to verify who it is," parent Chad Harrell said.

The makers of Friend Verifier are clear they can't verify every single match and right now the app is only for Facebook. But they are trying to add it to Twitter, Instagram, Four-square and LinkedIn.

Since May, users have scanned their friends lists seven million times.

To learn more about the app, click here.

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