Smartphones and apps. In this digital age, it’s safe to assume that our kids are often more tech-savvy than we are. While this has it’s benefits it can also pose challenges and risks. Handing your tween or teen a smartphone may seem relatively safe and innocent. Still, if we take a closer look into the world of apps, we will find that many pose a significant risk to our kid’s privacy, security and emotional well being. This week we have compiled a list of 10 apps parents should be on the lookout for.
Tellonym is an anonymous messenger app that calls itself “the most honest place on the internet.” The app allows kids to ask and answer questions while keeping their identity anonymous, making a perfect environment for sexual content, cyberbullying and adult content. This app is hugely popular in secondary schools.
Tik Tok is an app that allows kids to create and share videos with special effects. All accounts are public meaning anyone can see and interact with the videos. In 2018 a BBC Investigation led to the discovery of hundreds of sexual and indecent comments made to children and teenagers.
IMVU is an app where users create avatars and use them to chat with strangers in random chats or 3D chat rooms. The app has an age limit of 17, but this doesn’t stop tweens getting on to it. All accounts are public, which, combined with the chat function, has meant that IMVU has become a platform where sexual content and online bullying are frequently seen.
Askfm is an app that allows users to interact in a question-and-answer format both with friends and as anonymous users. The lack of monitoring on the app.nas meant that it’s the perfect environment for cyberbullying. Askfm has been linked to suicides, including the death of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick of Florida.
Bitlife is a simulation game similar to Simms. Players are given a profile to play from infancy through until death. They can choose how they spend their time and how to spend money. They are also able to form relationships with other people. As their characters grow, they can make mature choices such as gambling, smoking, consuming alcohol, doing drugs, and have sex with different profiles.
This app doesn’t pose a cyberbullying risk. Instead, it helps kids to bypass research and gives them homework answers. This app pulls answers from the Internet when teens post their homework questions, promoting cheating.
Kik is known as one of the most dangerous apps for teens. It is an anonymous messaging app that allows users to send group and private messages and is hugely popular with sexual predators.
KIK allows users to exchange photos and videos that no one else can see and disappears from the sender’s phone. This makes it hard for parents to keep track of messages.
Probably one of the most concerning apps available. Calculator% looks precisely like the real calculator app on iPhone. It also functions just like one too. The app allows you to type in numbers and do standard calculations on it; However, if you type in a unique passcode in the calculator interface and then press the per cent (%) button, the app unlocks to reveal a secret photo and video files.
The sole point of this app is to deceive onlookers and in many cases for teens keep photos that are not appropriate a secret from parents.
“Share Secrets, Express Yourself, Meet New People.”
Whisper allows the user to creatively make confessions or tell their secrets anonymously using creative text and overlays. Users can interact with each other and like/share posts. This app is designed for older teens, but is frequently being used by younger “tweens” with sensitive content often going viral.
BIGO is an app that allows users to vlog about their daily lives. They can host their own shows and live stream. BIGO is well known for bullying, violence and nudity and is a haven for sexual predators. When signing up to the app, you must provide your location and age. Although the app is for 17 and under the signup process is so easy that even a young teen could make a profile.
We hope that the above list has given you an insight into the world of apps. Does your teen play with apps? Do you have any that you think should be added to our list? Join the conversation in the comments below, or via our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.
My Gator Watch is a wearable mobile phone designed especially for 5-12-year-olds. It uses GPS, two-way calling, works across multiple networks and has an SOS feature for peace of mind. It does not have a messaging feature, and you, the parent; determine all numbers that are pre-set within the phone.
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