Parent apps: Great tool or just an excuse to hover? - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Parent apps: Great tool or just an excuse to hover?

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POWAY (CBS 8) - As kids head back to school, more and more parents are able to check up on them by using so-called "parent portals."

The online based system lets them see everything from grades to attendance. Many parents love this information, but some warn it can go too far.

For parents in Poway, checking in on their student is just a few clicks away. The district's parent portal lets them see grades, homework, even if their kid's in class.

"It's all real time as well. So as soon as the info is input into the system you can see that info. So you can actually look and see if your student is in third period," district chief information and technology officer Robert Gravina said.

Gravina told us it's great for parents with busy schedules, and gives them a way to stay involved.

"One of the pieces of research you look at is parent involvement, and as far back as you look, parents who are involved in school, their kids do better in school. It's just a fact of life," he said.

"Any time you have more knowledge, that's generally more positive," Dr. Michael Lardon said.

Lardon says tools like these are great, but parents should be open about using them with their kids.

"If the parent sees something going on with the kid, talk with them. Because you don't want to have the sense of the parent being voyeuristic. And the kid feels like they're always under the light," he said.

He adds with that extra information it's easy to go overboard, and parents should think about this.

"The greatest gift you can give your child is autonomy. If we can make a child autonomous where they can fend for themselves in the world ahead, we've done them a great service. If we're always on their back watching them, 'helicoptering' them, we do them a disservice," Lardon said.

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