Dangerous Apps You Probably Don’t Know About…

It’s pretty rare nowadays to find someone who doesn’t have a smartphone or tablet. Even young kids are often seen glued to the screen of an iPad while they enjoy their meal at a restaurant. Over 90% of teens have access to the internet via a smartphone, tablet, or any other mobile device. 

““The bad guy’s not just at the bus stop anymore. He has entrance right into your kid’s bedroom and hand-held cellphone device.” Sexual predators can target your children even when your child is in the room down the hall. And sexual predators aren’t the only problem. Cyber-bullying and exposures to sexually inappropriate content are additional concerns.

New apps are constantly being created, so it’s important to monitor what your child downloads. Being aware of the online tricks predators use will help you know what to look for. So here is a current list of some of the most dangerous apps:” >http://www.crosswalk.com/family/parenting/kids/9-most-dangerous-apps-for-kids.html

New apps come out every day. As a parent, you need to be aware of the content available out there, how they work, and their dangers. Set clear boundaries with your teen on things to avoid, and what are okay. In a later post, we will talk about how to talk to your teen, and how to monitor and enable safe guards on their device.

Whisper and YikYak

These apps work essentially the same. They allow you to post online anonymously and also allow you to chat with other users in your geographic area.

Since the apps advertise anonymous posting, teens are often fooled into thinking it’s a safe app. This is far from the case. Teens feel more comfortable sharing their secrets with strangers than they do with friends or family. This will then make them feel close to whoever they are sharing their secrets with. And since the apps use your geographic area to connect you with people, teens have been lured into meeting the strangers they have met online. In one case being a 21-year-old who convinced a 12-year-old to meet at a hotel using the app. >http://q13fox.com/2013/10/10/man-accused-of-using-social-media-to-lure-rape-child/#ixzz33QweERrc 

In addition, these apps have led to cyber bullying. A psychiatrist called YikYak the most dangerous app he’d ever seen because it “can turn a school into a virtual chat room where everyone can post his or her comments anonymously. Untruthful, mean, character-assassinating short messages are immediately seen by all users in a specific geographic area.” >http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/05/09/psychiatrist-view-yik-yak-is-most-dangerous-app-ive-ever-seen.html

Omegle

Like the previous listed, this app encourages chatting with strangers. Often times, users are looking for cyber-sex partners. With how the app works, it randomly pairs you with another user, so you have very little control of who the next person you will be talking to is. Omegle also has a desktop website that is very similar to Chatroulette, both randomly pair users in video chats, again often used for cyber-sex.

Snapchat

In 2016 Business Insider surveyed teens to find out what their favorite apps were. Snapchat won by a landslide. There is a good chance that if your teen has a smartphone, he or she uses Snapchat. Snapchat allows users to send photos and chats to each other, that expire upon viewing. While the ease in messaging and the funny filters Snapchat allows you to apply appear harmless, Snapchat is most commonly used for sending inappropriate content, since their isn’t much of a “papertrail”. With Snapchat, there is no way to monitor the content your child is sending or receiving. And since the photos and messages self destruct after viewing, teens are fooled into thinking that sending inappropriate pictures won’t be resharred or posted online. But photos can easily be saved by a simple screen shot, and often wind up on designated SnapChat porn sites and forums. In addition, if your teen has a public account, anyone can send them photos or chats. Even the FBI warns of the app stating that pedophiles are instructing underage victims to download the Snapchat app so they can exchange explicit photos, under the false promise the photos will vanish. >http://www.10tv.com/article/fbi-warns-parents-snapchat-app-could-make-children-vulnerable

*Another one to watch out for, Kik, which is very similar to Snapchat.

Blendr

Allows you to meet people using your GPS location, allowing you to exchange chats, photos, and videos, and rate others on “hotness.” As most of these apps, contacting and meeting strangers is the name of the game, and again most often using for sexting. With over 300 million users, you might be surprised how many teens are using the app.

Calculator% and Audio Manager

These apps allow you to hide photos, videos, apps, and other content on your phone while appearing to look like the calculator app, so they can be easy to miss. The app can also be password protected. There are multiple versions of this in the app store. We advise searching the apps available for download and familiarizing yourself with them. 

This is just a small list of the worrisome apps that are available, and new ones are made everyday. Just search “stranger chat” in the app store and over 30 different apps will come up. The best thing for you to do is be continually educating yourself, and continually monitoring your teens internet use. Check back soon for when we talk about tips for talking to and monitoring with your teen.