CINCINNATI — A new app designed to help students schedule classes has some parents concerned.
They’re worried their children’s personal information will end up in the wrong hands.
Laila McCall is just getting her new seventh-grade class schedule, but where she’s going to class is right at her home computer.
“We have to do like five hours a day, like even if we don’t have a bunch of stuff to do, we still have to put in five hours like watching a video or getting on an app or something,” said Laila McCall.
She’s home schooled and has been taking online classes since kindergarten.
“It’s better than real school almost because you still get to interact with people. We have the chat and everything,” said Laila McCall.
But the chat is something mom, Veronica McCall, said they’re keeping a close eye on.
“Sometimes people will pretend to be children and they will try to trick you and manipulate you to gain information or gain access to you and where you live,” said Veronica McCall.
It’s the same thing parents quickly found out was happening on the app, which was gaining popularity among teens.
It’s called Saturn, and it’s meant to help high school kids schedule classes and chat. Its website states it takes student safety seriously, and verifies students trying to get in, but adults online were able to put in made-up information and gain access to student schedules.
That’s why C Matthew Curtin is sending a warning.
“If you don’t pay for the product, you are the product, your information is the product,” said Curtin.
He is a cyber security expert and founder of the Interhack Corporation in Columbus.
“Everybody wants to use this app or that app and you have to use the same app, that is a march back to the bad old days when the provider, not the user, made all the decisions, and so that is the critical issue,” said Curtin.
It’s the reason Veronica McCall said she’s having constant conversations with her daughter to make sure she stays safe going to school online.
“We are very open and honest with her about things that go on online, and then we monitor her very closely,” said Veronica McCall.