Kids Discover Apps To Sneak Around Behind Their Parent's Backs
It is an age-old game of cat and mouse every parent has to deal with, and it is not the same as it was when we were young. Teens are taking sneaking around to a whole new level by using phone apps and some are geared to keep you in the dark. We break down a few of the more popular apps that you need to be aware of.
"Eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve...What we call pre-teens, as well as teenagers, use Snapchat and TikTok but unfortunately, parents aren't able to control who their kids are talking to and what the settings are. I want parents to have control so they can help protect their children," Rutledge said. Leslie Rutledge is the Attorney General for the state of Arkansas joined 44 other states to write a demand letter to TikTok and Snapchat to create parental controls within these apps.
How bad is it right now?
The numbers provided to the Madison County News Network by a popular phone monitoring provider are shocking. 43% of tweens and 75% of teens were involved in a self-harm/suicidal situation;
69% of tweens and 91% of teens encountered nudity or content of a sexual nature;
75% of tweens and 93% of teens engaged in conversations surrounding drugs/alcohol;
81% of tweens and 95% of teens expressed or experienced violent subject matter/thoughts;
and 72% of tweens and 85% of teens experienced bullying as a bully, victim, or witness. Educating minors on social media dangers is very important, however, when children are left alone their curiosity can get them into unsafe situations.
What apps you should check on your child's device?
The correct answer is all of them but, this breakdown explains the popular ones for parents and guardians, and a short breakdown of what each one does.
TikTok - Short video sharing platform with limited privacy controls that could expose your child to explicit content and cyber-bullying.
Snapchat- Photo and Video sharing platform that promises its users that content will disappear, although it does not. This app also allows its users to share their location to other users.
Yubo-Yubo, formerly Yellow, is a social media app encouraging teens to find new friends by allowing them to swipe left or right to connect and live stream.
Tumblr- Blogging and social media tool that allows users to publish a "tumblelog", or short blog posts. As a niche platform, Tumblr has darker pockets of content ranging from self-harm to depictions of explicit sexual activity.
Discord- Discord is a free voice, video, and text chat app that's used by people ages 13+ to talk and hang out with their communities and friends. It has been linked previously to crimes against teens and human trafficking. Discord also lacks parental control features.
Whisper - an anonymous social networking app. Users post confessions, either fact or fiction, by superimposing text on a picture. Whisper, the secret-sharing app that called itself the “safest place on the Internet,” left years of users' most intimate confessions exposed on the Web tied to their age, location, and other details, raising alarm among cybersecurity researchers that users could have been unmasked or blackmailed.
Calculator% (no, that is not a typo) The Secret Calculator App looks like an innocent calculator app on your child's iPhone or Android device. Actually, this app is used to hide files, photos, and videos.
Monkey- Monkey is a video-chat app for iPhone and iPad, and connects users around the world with like-minded individuals for 10-second video chats using their Snapchat usernames. This app may also be called "Yee" as it is being clone-developed due to Apple's threat to remove them, Users also need to be aware of the fact that nothing is actually private on the app and there is always a risk that their information or any of their data could be made public.
Chatous - This is a messaging app that randomly matches users with others from all over the world which makes it unsafe for children and teens.
Telegram- Cross-platform messaging app This app is not meant for teens. The app was clearly created for adult interaction. The secretive nature of this app lends itself to inappropriate and questionable content sharing and behavior.
Tinder- Dating app that has been used by preditors to look for teens, this app also encourages in-person meetups. There are other similar ones like Grindr, geared towards the LGBT community, and Bumble which encourages the girls to make the first move.
Roblox - Gaming platform - ParentsTogether claims the game is a threat to children due to "casino-level spending" Parent watchdog group ParentsTogether today called on Roblox to "stop baiting children into outrageous spending." It warns that children are susceptible to spending large sums of money on in-app purchases on the gaming platform.
Kik- Users can communicate without revealing their actual names or phone numbers, and Kik doesn't track the content of messages or the phone numbers of users. This makes it hard for law enforcement and parents to get almost any information about the person on the other end of the message.
Most platforms have ways to report predators and cyber-bullies on them, if you believe you or your child is in danger, you can always call the police, and, if it is a life-threatening emergency you should dial 911. Talking to your children about social media platforms, and why sending inappropriate pictures is important and you should remember that even if it is erased off of your child's device, it does not mean it was erased off of the platform it was used to share it with, or the device that received the image.