Now more than ever, children have access to a plethora of content through the internet and their phones. However, parents need to be aware of the potential risks and dangers that come with the use of these platforms.
Below is a list of apps parents should be aware of:
- Wizz is a social media platform that connects strangers with common interests and allows users to send message, photos, and videos to other individuals or in groups. It has a glitchy age verification system that can connect minors and adults on the app. This app is gaining popularity in Greenville.
- BeReal is a photo sharing app where friends are prompted to share a photo at a different set time each day. The goal of the app is to keep the user experience "real" - users don't know when they'll be prompted to take a photo and are not given time to prepare for it.
- ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence internet-based "chatbot" that can generate written content based on users prompts. Nation-wide concerns about the program have to do with students using it to do school work instead of learning the material.
- Meetme is a social media dating app that connects users based on their geographical location, with the aim of encouraging them to meet up in person.
- Roblox is a multiplayer online game platform that allows users to create their own games and play games created by other users. It features a chat function for people within the game.
- Omegle is a video chat website that pairs anonymous users for one-on-one conversations, often leading to unpredictable and potentially unsafe interactions.
- Grindr is a dating app designed for the LGBTQIA+ community, allowing users to chat, share photos and meet up based on their GPS location.
- Skout is a dating app that uses location-based features. Although users under 17 cannot share private photos, there is a risk of underage users creating accounts with false birth dates.
- Whatsapp is a messaging app that offers users the ability to send texts, photos, voicemails, as well as make calls and video chats.
- Tiktok is a popular app among children for creating and sharing short videos, but its limited privacy controls make users vulnerable to cyberbullying and explicit content.
- Badoo is a dating and social networking app that enables users to chat, share photos and videos based on their location. While intended for adults only, teenagers may create profiles on the app.
- Bumble is a dating app similar to Tinder, but with the requirement that women make the first contact. Children have been known to create fake accounts and lie about their age on the app.
- Snapchat is an app that allows users to send photos or videos that will disappear, but certain features allow content to be viewed for up to 24 hours. Additionally, Snapchat enables users to see the location of others.
- Kik is a messaging app that allows anyone to contact and direct message your child, sometimes anonymously. Children may use Kik to circumvent traditional text messaging features, and the app provides users with unlimited access to others.
- LiveMe is a live-streaming video app that uses geolocation to share videos, making it possible to determine the exact location of a broadcaster. Users can earn coins to pay minors for photos within the app.
- Holla is an addictive video chat app that enables users to connect with people from around the world in seconds. However, the app has received criticism for racial slurs, explicit content, and other inappropriate content.
- Whisper is an anonymous social network that encourages users to share secrets with strangers, and reveals users' locations to facilitate meetups.
- Ask.fm is an app that has become notorious for cyberbullying, as it allows users to receive anonymous questions from others.
- Calculator% is one of several secret apps used to hide photos, videos, files, and browser history.
- Hot or Not is an app that encourages users to rate others based on physical appearance, and provides the ability to chat with strangers in their area. The app is reportedly designed to facilitate hookups, according to law enforcement.
To help ensure your child's safety while using these apps, here are some internet safety tips for parents:
Set parental controls: Many smartphones and tablets come with parental control features that allow parents to restrict access to certain apps and content.
Monitor your child's use of the internet: Make sure you are aware of what your child is doing online and who they are interacting with.
Teach your child about the potential risks and dangers of using the internet, and how to stay safe online - like only talking to people they know, and never exchanging photos/videos.
More Internet Safety Basics (from Common Sense Media)
- Never share names, schools, ages, phone numbers, or addresses.
- Never open an email from a stranger - it may contain viruses that can harm a device.
- Never send pictures to strangers or view pictures that strangers send - photos contain "metadata" that includes things like your current location.
- Keep passwords private from everyone except parents.
- Tell a trusted adult if something mean or creepy happens on the Internet.