As children get older and become more independent, their time on smart phones and laptops increase substantially. Yes, you can set screen time limits for them but, as a parent, you likely won’t be able to implement that control continuously through the years. It is important to help your children be aware that predators have the ability to find them through some of the apps they use.
Ways to Help Protect Your Children:
- Approve every app on your child’s phone
- Understand how to use privacy settings and check them regularly
- Discuss what you expect of your children in regard to phone usage
- Educate yourself and your children on social media etiquette
- Research the popular apps in your particular geographic area
- Check your child’s phone periodically for any new apps
These apps can be dangerous and expose your children to a range of events from bullying and unwanted sexual messages to kidnapping and identity theft.
- DISCORD – is a messaging platform similar to Slack involving chat rooms, direct messaging, voice chat and video calls. Discord has consistently been in the top five platforms for bullying, suicidal ideation, body image, etc. Adult content is rampant.
- TWITTER (now X) – Once considered as the app to go to for breaking news it is now a go to source for porn.
- OMEGLE – is an anonymous video chatting platform that pairs you with a complete stranger anywhere in the world.
- YIKYAK – is another anonymous chatting app that lets users within a five mile radius read publicly posted messages.
- HOUSEPARTY – a video chatting app that allows friends to communicate with each other through live video and texts in chat groups. The app has no parental controls and by default, is not set to private.
- YOUTUBE KIDS – a separate version of the popular video-sharing site aimed squarely at children 4+. There have been reports of videos that have kid-friendly titles but are clearly not kid-friendly content.
- TUMBLER – a micro-blogging site that allows users to share photos, videos and short blogs with a built-in chat function. Although Tumbler banned pornographic content in 2018, it is still possible to see sexually suggestive images and there have been reports of pro-anorexia, and pro-selfharm posts.
- TELLONYM – a cross-platform messaging app to have questions answered. It was created as a means to give and receive anonymous feedback.
- BUMBLE – similar to the Tinder dating app but requires females to make the first contact. Children have been known to use Bumble to create fake accounts with a false age.
- ME – a live-streaming video service that utilizes geolocation so users can find out each broadcaster’s exact location. Users of this app can earn”coins” as a way to “pay” minors for their photos and videos.
- ASKFM – a cyber-bullying app that encourages anonymous people to ask anonymous questions. The answers are then used to cyber bully the account holders.
- SNAPCHAT – most popular app amongst middle and high schoolers. Users can take photos/videos and create “storie” that can be viewed for 24 hours before it disappears. This app also has geolocation so users can see each person’s exact location.
- HOOP – Hoop has been described as Tinder meeting Snapchat. Children as young as 12 can form connections with complete strangers.
- ROBLOX – is similar to the popular game Minecraft that children 5+ are able to use. It has user-generated content and an in-game chat feature. Content such as profanity, sex, drugs and alcohol are often run into. This app is also another potential for predatory adults to message children.
- HOLLA – is one of the most self-proclaimed addicting video apps where users can chat with people all over the world in just seconds. Racial slurs, explicit content and identity theft are to be expected.
- CALCULATOR% – is one of several secret apps used to hide photos, videos, files and browser history. The app looks like a calculator but functions like a secret photo vault.
- KIK – provides account holders unlimited access to direct message anyone anywhere. This free app also has built-in apps and web content that would be typically filtered on a home computer.
- WHISPER – another anonymous social network that promotes the sharing of secrets with strangers. A user’s location can be revealed so people can meet up.
- HOT OR NOT – this app encourages users to rate your profile, check out people in their geographic area and chat with strangers with the goal of hooking up.
- OMEGLE – is a free online chat website that promotes chatting anonymously with strangers.
- YELLOW – another “Tinder” like app that allows teens to flirt with each other.
- BURN BOOK – known to be the app where anonymous rumors can be spread through audio messages, text, and photos.
- WISHBONE – allows users to compare kids against each other and rate them on a scale.
- INSTAGRAM – is a very popular photo/video sharing app that allows users to assign filters to photos and share them with their followers. Everyone who creates an Instagram account has a profile as well as a newsfeed. There are privacy settings that can make accounts public or private. It is popular for children to create fake accounts with fake names, ages and pictures.
New apps are developed daily so stay in the know regarding the social media scene and what your children are talking about with their friends. Utilizing the same apps your children use can also help you keep up-to-date on what privacy controls are available and how they work.
Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to provide you, your family, and your employees from the damages of identity theft. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Services team immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827 (GUARD).
Note: this blog has been updated as of August 8, 2023.
Photo credit courtesy from unsplash.com.