If you have provided or plan to provide your teenager with a Smartphone with internet access, I encourage you to install parental controls and on all internet accessible devices, i.e. Ipads, Ipods, and computers. Parental controls are helpful but not foolproof in protecting your child from harmful conduct.
PlanetGreenRecycle.com, March 10, 2015, listed 10 Apps your teenager should not have on their internet devices. The information is from the PlanetGreenRecycle.com website.
1. SNAPCHAT – Enables members to send photos and videos to other Snapchat users. Many teenagers are using Snapchat to sext one another. They are under the impression their photo will self destruct after a certain number of seconds. Snapchat knows sexting and the transmission of sexual images by minors are being sent via their App, but it does nothing to prevent this type of behavior. Adults are also using Snapchat to transmit sexual content. There are ways a user can capture the pictures and screen shots and save them. The FBI warns about the dangers of Snapchat for minors.
2. TINDER – Statistics show that more than 450 million Tinder profiles exist. The dating App has gained a lot of fame because it gives users access to dozens of profiles. The App uses GPS location to suggest matches living nearby. Tinder also features a rating system enabling members to give a grade to the profile of others. This rating system has become associated with cyber-bullying. The GPS locator poses certain risks especially if used for the wrong purposes by a non-family member.
3. WHISPER – This anonymous community enables its members to share posts and status updates without revealing their identity. It also has a chat feature. Many kids enjoy the anonymity of Whisper, which encourages them to share secrets and sensitive information with strangers. Ill-intentioned adults can use the App to access information that will potentially compromise the safety of a minor. Revealing too much may also become a reason for cyber-bullying. “Whisper on kids’ phones could potentially give them access to pornographic content and indecent posts by others. A lot of the content focuses on sex and drug abuse, which may have a detrimental impact on a teen or teen’s development.”
4. YIK YAK – This is another anonymous, Smartphone-based community. The comments posted by YikYak users are shared with 500 people living nearby (based on GPS localization). “Fox News recently published a report written by psychiatrist Keith Ablow. According to Dr. Ablow, YikYak is the most dangerous App that has ever come in existence. Classmates can easily become members of a virtual community, sharing mean comments and malicious remarks about each other. Cyper-bullying becomes an easy, convenient, and readily available option.”
5. POOF – Poof is an App created for the sole purpose of hiding other Apps on a Smartphone. A kid can use Poof to hide Snapchat or Whisper, essentially preventing parents from ever learning about their installation on the phone. Seeing the Poof App on your child’s phone should be an instant red flag, as it indicates that your child may be trying to hide something. Perhaps you recall news of a Colorado high school where many of the senior students were distributing pornography/child pornography between themselves and hiding it on their phones on an App behind what appeared to be a calculator.
6. CHATROULETTE AND OMEGLE – “When installed on kids’ mobile phones, these Apps will enable video chat with other users. There are no filters in terms of what could be revealed during the session. Many ChatRoulette users will pose nude in front of the camera and the random nature of the App will give your child no control over the communication.” “ChatRoulette conversations can be recorded. Anything your teenager does or says may come back to haunt them in the future. This record can be posted elsewhere and popularized easily through social media. Numerous children have become victims of cyber-bullying because of the mere existence of Apps like ChatRoulette and Omegle.”
7. BLENDR – It’s main premise is anonymity. Blendr enables just about anyone to communicate with another user of the App. This is one of the main reasons why the App is quite often utilized for sexting. Another danger stems from the fact that the GPS localization enables the users to communicate with other Blendr members located nearby. Having strangers aware of your child’s physical location is certainly far from safe.
8. ASK.FM – “A popular network that is mostly used by teens, Ask.fm allows members to ask each other questions. There are no restrictions in terms of topic or language used. Ask.fm is also commonly associated with cyber-bullying. There is no editorial guidelines and none of the content gets reviewed before it is published. As a result, the amount of Ask.fm abuse has been growing rapidly. Ask.fm doesn’t enable its members to protect their privacy in any way. There are opportunities for blocking other users of the App. The blocked users, however, can still access and view content.”
9. VINE – “The App enables the creation of short videos, but many of these may have pornographic nature. According to the official terms and conditions, Vine has a 17+ restriction. However, it’s very easy for teenagers to get around the limitation. Apart from being exposed to inappropriate content, teens have the chance to upload indecent videos. Getting such content deleted from the web is an impossible task.”
10, KIK – “This is yet another free texting alternative enabling communications via text messages and images. This App can make it easy for your child to talk to strangers. Kik is supposed to come with an age restriction but taking a single look at its App Store page reveals a completely different truth. Many of the reviews (which sound like profiles on a hookup website) are written by individuals under the age of 13.”
11. TELEGRAM – This App was not listed by PlanetGreenRecycle. The App is very similar to Snapchat. You send a message and the message will disappear after a certain amount of time like Snapchat.