7 Dangerous Apps Parents Should Know About
I don’t enjoy writing blogs like this but it has to be done because we all should know about apps that will put our children and young people at risk. Some apps that appear innocuous can be harmful. In the case of some ‘must-have’ apps your children may be downloading, they need to be aware that they will put them at risk. Keep your children safe by avoiding the following dangerous apps for your kids.
Some of the dangerous apps are filled with adult content, while some others have predators waiting to attack innocent minds. And you cannot judge the kind of application just by the cover. However, the usage of the application on your child’s phone can be monitored if you have enough knowledge of the most dangerous apps for kids.
TikTok is an app for creating and sharing short videos. Users can create short music videos of 3 to 15 seconds and short looping videos of 3 to 60 seconds. It encourages users to express themselves creatively through video. Special effects can be added to the videos.
Thirteen is the minimum age, but there isn’t a real way to validate age so anyone can download the app. Also, parents express concern that there is a lot of inappropriate language in the videos so it’s not appropriate for young children. Lastly, by default, all accounts are set to public so strangers can contact your children.
For more information on Tiktok, check out our Complete Parent’s Guide to TikTok.
Thi app is one of the newest and one of the most dangerous. It allows users to post text-only Yaks up to 200 characters. The messages can be viewed by the 500 Yakkers who are closest to the person who wrote the Yak, determined by GPS tracking. Users are exposed to, and contributing sexually explicit content, abusive language and personal attacks so severe that schools are starting to block the App on their Wi-Fi. While the posts are anonymous, children start revealing personal info as they get more comfortable with other users.
This app allows users to send photos that will disappear after 10 seconds. Once the recipient opens the picture, the timer starts. Then it’s gone. From both the sender’s phone and the recipient’s phone. However, the recipient can take a screenshot of the photo and have it to share with others. This app gives kids a false sense of security sending inappropriate pics; however, damage can still be done within a specified time frame. Talk to your child about the dangers of sending risky photos, and keep an eye out for SnapChat on her smartphone. This app enables kids to feel more comfortable “sexting” with peers.
For more information on Tiktok, check out our Complete Parent’s Guide to Snapchat.
This is a private messenger app and is coveted by those under 18 for a number of reasons. The app allows children to send private messages that their parents can’t see. There is very little you can do to verify the identity of someone on Kik, which obviously poses the risk of people with unsafe intentions chatting with your child.
This kicky app for all types of smartphones is a mini social network. Similar to iChat or Google Chat, users can talk to multiple people, upload pics and files and even send built-in greeting cards or sketched pictures. Seems harmless, right? Wrong. While KiK is a great way for responsible users to keep in touch, based on reviews in the Google Playstore, it’s turning out to have more to do with young teens flirting and sexting than just keeping in touch with friends.
YouTube is a place to house and shares your videos. You can control privacy settings. It’s also a great resource for educational videos and entertainment. Inappropriate content has been sliced into both all-ages content and children’s content. Also, comments on videos can be extremely inappropriate and hurtful. YouTube also has a known paedophile problem which is a major cause for concern.
For more information on Tiktok, check out our Complete Parent’s Guide to YouTube.
The Poof App allows users to make Apps disappear on their phone with one touch. Children can hide every app they don’t want you to see on their phone. All they have to do is open the App and select the ones they don’t want you to see. Very scary! The good news about this App is it is no longer available, which isn’t uncommon for these types of Apps. But, if it was downloaded before it was deleted from the App store, your child may still have it. Keep in mind that Apps like this are created and then terminated pretty quickly by Android and Apple stores, but there are similar ones being created constantly. Some other names include: Hidden Apps, App Lock and Hide It Pro.
This app has been around since 2008, with video chat added in 2009. When you use Omegle you do not identify yourself through the service – chat participants are only identified as “You” and “Stranger”. You don’t have to register for the App. However, you can connect Omegle to your Facebook account to find chat partners with similar interests. When choosing this feature, an Omegle Facebook App will receive your Facebook “likes” and try to match you with a stranger with similar likes. This is not okay for children. There is a high risk of people with unsafe intentions and you don’t want your children giving out their personal information, much less even talking to strangers.
Whisper app is a phenomenally popular app with teens. Whisper does not have parental controls. Casual use will find extremely sexually suggestive material in the form of provocative pictures and words. This is a meeting app that encourages users to post secrets. You post anonymously, but it displays the area you are posting from. You can search for users posting within a mile from you. A quick look at the app and you can see that online relationships are forming constantly on this app, but you never know the person behind the computer or phone. Whisper is widely used by predators to troll for potential victims. Predators are looking for vulnerable children. Children use Whisper to ”secretly” express their sadness, emotional needs, or sexually explicit thoughts.
No kids allowed! Another way for users to spread sarcastic, degrading and potentially hurtful pictures or posts, 9GAG is a free app/social media site that focuses on uploaded images with captions and text. These images run from Disney cartoon characters spouting abbreviated profanities to random pictures of pets. Granted, there are many harmless posts on the site; however, just scrolling through the daily favorites posted on the site will expose your innocent kiddo to crude humor, sexually suggestive material and offensive behavior. Definitely pass.
This app lets users create comic strips using photos and captions, and post or send them to friends. Seemingly innocuous, this app (rated for ages 17 and over) can actually have a downside—your kid runs the risk of exposure to humor she’s not ready for, and (perhaps more importantly) she can use the iFunny platform to bully (or be bullied by) fellow students. Once a comic strip is created, it can make its way to social networks, or it can be saved to phones and computers by other users, essentially spreading the info indiscriminately to whoever wants to keep it.