Do you know what apps your kids use? You may be familiar with Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook. But, there are many more apps out there and you’ll be amazed (and perhaps fearful) with who they connect.
Live streaming is done in real-time.
Kids often do it in their rooms, giving access to personal or intimate information.
This type of “oversharing” makes kids particularly vulnerable to “sextortion”.
These apps are dangerous because children are allowed to provide unsolicited, unmoderated, and anonymous feedback. This allows users to make comments that they would not normally face-to-face.
Kiwi: This is an app and website that allows people to ask questions of both friends and strangers. Posts can be tagged with your location so all the kids of one school can be on the app. The combination of proximity and anonymity can be dangerous.
Sarahah: This Arabic word translates roughly to “honesty.” It lets you to send anonymous comments to each other. The lack of accountability allows others to make cruel comments.
TBH: This acronym stands for “to be honest.” It lets kids answer mostly innocent questions. But, with the poor track record, this app is debatable.
Group Video Chatting
Remember party lines. Group video chatting allows kids to talk with a bunch of their friends at the same time. But, there’s the caveat. There is no screening and nothing to prevent sharing of information.
Monkey: This app allows teens to randomly connect with other Snapchat users around the world for a 10-second video chat. There has been some reports of verbal abuse and inappropriate requests.
Airtime: Airtime allows users watch videos and listen to music with each other. It also allows live-streaming. There are no filters with Airtime, so coming across age-inappropriate content can be a problem. Also, private “rooms” can be created means that kids could have one-on-one conversations with strangers.
Houseparty: Houseparty lets you have several “parties” going at once. Up to 8 people can be in a “room” at a time. Again, this app makes it easy for kids to have private conversations with strangers.
“Friending” Apps | “Tinder For Teens”
These apps allow kids to easily connect and talk with people they have never met. That is not the only issue with these apps. They often also use location, so the new “friends” are all nearby. Safety is really a concern when using these apps.
Spotafriend: This location-based app allows you to rate other members (and visa-versa) by swiping left or right. It’s marketed to kids age 13-19. However, you can get a Mature+17 rating in the app stores.
Yellow: This app is nicknamed “Tinder for Teens.” It works with your Snapchat or Instagram account. Like Tinder, users swipe left or right on photos to find a match. There is no private option so your profile can be viewed by anyone in a particular radius of your real-life location.
MyLOL: This is a website and an app advertised for “Teen Dating.” However, it’s really designed for those 17 and older. Users often post provocative photos of themselves and engage in inappropriate conversations. Chats often reference alcohol, violence, or drug use. Unfortunately, some users post their real names, email addresses, phone numbers, or IM handles.