LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Having more ways to communicate online has meant more ways predators can target your kids.

University of Louisville computer science assistant professor Adrian Lauf said there is a long list of applications parents can use to restrict access at certain times of the day and track their kids online.

“They are able to even come up with reports that are accessible from anywhere, a parent’s smartphone, to show where that child had been,” Lauf said.

Lauf cautions parents not to become reliant on parental control software.

“I can install a dozen tools, whether it’s on my network, on my child’s smartphone, on their laptop ... They just have to figure out how to circumvent those to get access to one site that can be dangerous to them,” Lauf said.

Programs where messages disappear like SnapChat are very popular with teens. Predators can even use encrypted messaging apps that work as completely functioning applications but allow users to access a secret section for messaging.  

“Anonymizing internet tools are used both by law-abiding citizens as well as by criminals and cyber predators,” Lauf said.

Professors say parental controls can backfire because it gives a false sense of security and kids can find ways around the restrictions.

They recommend talking with your kids about the risks and regularly checking up on their internet use.

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