With today’s smart phones, tablets, computers, gaming systems, and app technology the cyber world is a scary and dangerous place for everyone, but most especially our youth. Apps that are marketed and that target our youth can be very dangerous due to them being used to entice kids to try drugs and alcohol or for sexual solicitation. Sexual solicitation can be as simple as convincing a child to send a inappropriate picture of themselves to another person or arranging for the child to meet a complete stranger for an inappropriate relationship. Predators will use fake information, such as a false name, date of birth, and profile picture, to set up their profiles on the apps to hide their true identity.
We strongly encourage all parents, grandparents, and guardians to monitor your child's electronic devices for any inappropriate acts. There are many creditable apps for you to be able to monitor the activity on your child’s phone and tablet usage.
Below is a partial list of popular apps that our youth use. It’s a never ending cycle with new apps created on a daily basis. Research any and all apps that your child wants to download or use.
SNAPCHAT: allows users to take pictures and that disappear with new features like ‘stories’ that allow users to view content for 24 hours and see your location.
KIK: allows anyone to direct message instead of text messaging and gives unlimited access to anyone, anytime.
YELLOW: allows teens to flirt with one other similar to Tinder.
HOLLA: video chat app that allows users to meet through their phones across the world in seconds.
OMEGLE: allows users to chat for free and encourages anonymous chatting with strangers.
BUMBLE: similar to Tinder, a dating app that requires women to make first contact, though kids are known to create fake accounts and falsify their age.
WISHBONE: allows users to compare photos to each other and rate one another on a scale.
CALCULATOR%: secret app that allows users to hide photos, videos, files and browser history.
ASK.FM: notorious for cyberbullying, this app encourages to anonymously message others to ask questions.
WHISPER: anonymous social media app that allows users to share secrets with others and can share users’ locations so they can meet.
BURNBOOK: allows users to post anonymous rumors through text, audio and pictures.
HOT OR NOT: allows users to rate profiles and find people in their area and chat.
LIVE.ME: live streaming app that uses geolocation to share videos so users can see the broadcaster’s location.
INSTAGRAM: one of the most popular apps among children, kids are known to use this app for fake accounts and to text since the conversation is deleted when someone leaves the chat.
MONKEY: allows kids to have fun chats with new people from all over the world. Users are randomly matched with other users for a brief, introductory video call. When matched with a new person add more time or add the person on Snapchat to continue the connection.
GAMING SYSTEMS (Playstation, Xbox, WII, ect.): allows users to compete online against other players throughout the world with live communication with information sharing capabilities.