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If your child does not already have a smart phone, chances are he or she will be asking for one. It is estimated there are more than 2.4 billion smart phones being used worldwide and the Apple iPhone and Motorola Android seem to be the most popular for teens. Smart phones have changed the way we consume information with the many applications or “apps,” as we know them, that can be downloaded onto the phone.

The popularity of apps has led to a growing profitable market for software companies. Some apps can be downloaded for free while others can cost from 99 cents to several dollars to download. Teens love apps and they are the motivation to move up from a regular cell phone to the smart phone.

Usually when we think of apps, we think of the popular game “Angry Birds” or one that can help us locate the nearest Starbucks or McDonald’s or maybe allows us to check the weather forecast. The Apple Company reported in fall 2009 that it had reached the 2 billion mark for its iPhone apps. Do the math and you will see that apps are a billion dollar industry. Most statistics show that the internet based pornography industry is a 3 billion dollar industry and with so many apps being downloaded, the porn industry has seen another way to make even more money.

Although the Apple Company does not have an actual app for pornography, Android has an app called “MiKandi,” pronounced “My Candy.” MiKandi is a third-party site that is primarily designed to work on Android phones; however, some iPhone users have discovered a way to download the app on iPhones. MiKandi is actually an app that allows adult app developers a venue to distribute their apps. According to MiKandi, “as long as it’s legal, the sky’s the limit.”

Most Internet pornography studies indicate it is graphic, degrading and violent, and promotes unhealthy sexual behavior. Early exposure to pornography can lead adolescents into earlier sexual activity and can also cause adolescents to have an unrealistic view of what is “normal” behavior in a relationship.

Most parents are monitoring their children’s activities on the home computer and should be doing the same with smart phones. Parents need to keep in mind that the smart phone is a handheld computer with instant access to the internet and the many apps downloaded to the phone. Check the apps your children have downloaded and continue monitoring their smart phone activity, and help keep our kids safe.

Keeping Our Kids Safe is brought to by the Delaware Police Department and School resource Officer Rod Glazer.

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