NEWS10 Special Report: Pushing Deals - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

NEWS10 Special Report: Pushing Deals

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ALBANY, N.Y. – Shopping apps that provide exclusive deals to companies you love are a convenience for some, but what about your kids?

Laura Haley likes the sound from her shopping app that tells her about deals for her family.

“I think it makes it convenient for me. I do try to get discounts. I do try to use coupons when I can, when I need certain things,” said Haley.

One such app, “Shopkick,” offers what they call kicks, which are reward points for walking into a participating store. With enough kicks, you can get a gift card and other prizes.

All points and discounts can be great, but do they come with a price?

When NEWS10 ABC’s Mark Baker asked Laura about her son Zach, bringing up the point that they could be tracking what Zach is buying; Laura said she wouldn’t want them to track what he buys. She called in an invasion of privacy.

This is all made possible by geographic fencing. What many call Geofencing, is technology using GPS or Wi-Fi to detect your smartphone when you’re within a certain radius of a store. Geofencing can even what aisle you’re in, what you’re looking at, and you only have to be 13, Zach’s age, to have the app.

“No, no, no, kids should not have those types of apps on their phones. They shouldn't be allowed to do it, alright. N-O.” said Zach’s dad, Michael Haley.

It’s hard not to opt in, given that many individual stores allow you to hook up to apps through Facebook.

"Every time you connect an app with Facebook, you're agreeing to a lot of information exchange whether you realize it or not,” said Dr. Meg Fryling, Professor of Computer Science at Siena College.

Zach mentioned he thought it was creepier that his information was out in the open than cool.

Dr. Fryling said many smartphone users, especially kids, often don’t think twice about sharing that information, information that is gathered and sold to other companies.

“People knowing too much about us, so if I'm buying things that a health insurance company feels is unhealthy, will that hurt my ability to get health insurance," said Dr. Fryling.

The Haley family all agreed this is something every family should consider.

“I like technology, but there is a certain limit to the amount of technology we should be using,” said Mike Haley.

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