As parents, we’re already pretty scared of what our kids can do on their phones without us even knowing. Even the most observant parents aren’t always sure just how far apps’ and websites’ capabilities show. One dad, Chris Callum, took to Facebook in a now-viral post, where he sought to figure out just that for a popular new app teens are using called Saturn.

In the past week, the app has come under additional scrutiny from a variety of sources, calling out the app for various reasons, including claiming that only students can see data, though anyone can join. Its concept is part calendar and part social media, and works off the concept that students can upload their class schedules, and it tells you who is in your class and more. Callum wrote, “Neat concept right? After downloading it myself to understand it better, what I found was surprising…”

Since Saturn isn’t technically classified as social media, but rather a calendar app, it’s one of many apps skirting around the rule that kids under 13 can’t have social media accounts, based on the CHildren’s Online Privacy Protection Act from 1998. A recent New York Times article called “It was a mistake to let kids onto social media sites. Here’s what to do now,” says this rule is largely ignored, pointing to additional data that says around 40% of kids ages 8-12 have used social media.

He had to “fib” to get past the birthday and graduation year, and he provided a phone number as his log in, though he could have used a school mail address or Snapchat account. From there, he could join any school in the country. He only had to verify his phone number. 

“I was just a 41-year-old man using the Saturn app to gain access to 350 new friends,” he says. Protect Young Eyes, an organization working too well, to protect youth online, reports there are definitely privacy risks. They were able to post events, including names of users, and add photos, which were viewable to the “whole school,” they report. Since anyone can do this, not just students, and have immediate access to over 800 students at a time, for example, there are big concerns. Luckily, they add, you couldn’t direct message a user without verifying a school email. “However, we could invite any of the students to be friends with us on Saturn. Which is a red flag because you can link other social media accounts, Venmo, and websites to your account,” they wrote. “Predators often use popular apps kids are on, and then try to direct them to apps where there are fewer restrictions. Saturn seems like a no-brainer for predatory activity.”

Callum continued on to see just how much others could see about his own daughter. Turns out, they could see her full schedule — “a bully, a stalker, an unwanted admirer, a mean girl, etc.” He was then able to gain much more information about other kids as many uploaded a picture and linked right to their other social media accounts from there. 

He continues on, pointing out obvious cyberbullying risks. “I realized I could change my profile name, even if it matched another student in the app. What would stop me from cyber-bullying using another student’s name?” Within a few hours, he had friend requests, and he suspected at that point, though he stopped there, that they’d have been able to send DMs and photos. 

But Callum is far from here to judge, he adds. “Don’t think I am here to shame any parent for allowing their child to use the app…Some of you may be fine with its features. Others, not so much. Some may be as clueless as I was. Some are just trying to keep their head above water. I get it. I am here simply to share my experience, because ya know, it takes a village. And really, who has the time to dissect every app, movie, book, etc. which these kids get ahold of these days?” He points to an overwhelming task parents have of monitoring their kids’ online behavior and guiding them without being too intrusive.

Finally, he shares that instead of getting mad at their daughter, they used it as an educational opportunity about the harsh realities of our online world. “In the end, I’m just a dad trying to protect my daughter.” Luckily, there are a few apps for that too.