As parents outfit their students with clothes, academic supplies, smartphones and computers for the first day of school, it’s important for parents to get educated on the potential dangerous some apps bring.
In this heavy social media, android, iPhone world we live in, there is something very convenient and almost necessary about apps. Most parents, while slow to admit it, will finally say their children know more about this latest technology than they do. However, with these cellphones and computer apps, lurks a very dark and seedy place where predators are successfully reaching children and teens. What's really scary is that parents are simply not aware of what is going on, and often right at home.
A few days ago V103’s Ryan Cameron gave out information breaking down these dangerous apps. The 7 Dangerous Apps Every Parent should be leery of gain considerable response from concerned parent and even teens. Below is the list of app that not only child advocate groups are warning parents about, but law enforcement as well. Unfortunately some of these app have directly been linked to child predator cases in Metro Atlanta.
Yik Yak- post anonymously with locals, up to 500 can view. GPS is used and sexually explicit content, vulgar language, and personal attacks are common. This past school year, some Metro Atlanta parent learned a lot about the dangers of Yik Yak and its connection to cyberbullying. But beyond teenagers posting ugly, untruths come the fact that anonymous posting have proven to identify people who are not who they say they are. Authorities say predators are among them.
Poof- an app that allows kids to hide an app or apps with a single touch. This one is most surprising among parents and just pain sneaky among children who really have no idea of the dangers they may be opening themselves up to.
SnapChat- allows photos to be seen for 10 seconds then they disappear- but the user can take a screen shot so any photo can and does live forever. The real problem here is not knowing who has your picture and how it is going to be used. At this time SnapChat cannot be downloaded on all technology like Window based devices.
Down- an app that allows the user to categorize their Facebook in terms of “hang out” with or “down to hook up” with.
Whisper- allows to post anonymously and share secrets to locals using the same app, searching for others as close as 1 mile. This app can allow predators, posing as a child or teen, to locate your child.
Omegle - a video chat that the user doesn’t register for. You are only known as “you” and “stranger” and matches the user to others through common Facebook likes. This app is also an easy door for a total strange to connect and communicate with your child.
Kik Messenger- users can send private messages that parents can’t see. Identifying other users is nearly impossible. This app has been the source of a number of school fights and improper communications between teens and people posing as teens.
Along with knowing that these apps exist, parents must also take action. Check your child’s device when they least expect you to do so. Make sure they use their devices in a family area like the den and not take them to their bedrooms to use. Set down some rules for when they can get on their devices. With school starting, academics should take priority anyway. Know who your child is talking to. Make your child give names and details about the person they are in communication with. Above all, do not allow phone locks, and if you do, make sure you as the parent know the code.
Social media and smart device apps are really great, but with anything, deviant people will figure out how to misuse it. That is why it is up to parents to step up and protect their children.