The warning urges parents to inspect their child’s phone often and discuss the possible dangers of certain apps.
What it is: An app that is used for dating. Users can find potential “dates” via GPS location tracking. This app pulls information from user’s Facebook profiles.
Possible issue: It is easy for adults and minors to find one another. Also, due to the rating system, it is often used for cyberbullying because the app allows for ratings, which in turn, a group of kids could potentially rate another child.
What it is: This app allows a user to send photos and videos to anyone on his/her friend list. The sender can determine how long the receiver can view the image and then the image “destructs” or disappears after the allotted time.
Possible issue: It is the number one app used for “sexting,” mostly because people think it is the safer way to “sext.” However, the “snaps” can easily be recovered, and the receiver can take a screen shot and share it with others. Also, a lot of images from Snapchat get posted to revenge porn sites.
What it is: An app that allows users to post text-only “Yaks” of up to 200 characters. The messages can be viewed by the 500 Yakkers who are closest to the person who wrote the Yak, as determined by GPS tracking.
Possible issue: Users are exposed to and are contributing sexually explicit content, derogatory language and personal attacks. Although the posts are anonymous, kids start revealing personal information as they get more comfortable with other users.
What it is: This app, which used to be called Bang With Friends, is connected to Facebook. Users can categorize their Facebook friends in one of two ways: They can indicate whether or not a friend is someone they’d like to hang with or someone they are “down” to hook-up with.
Possible issue: Although identifying someone you are willing to hook-up with doesn’t mean you will actually hook-up with them, it creates a hook-up norm within a peer group. Depending on your sexual values, this might be something you don’t want for your child. Also, because of the classification system, a lot of kids will feel left out or unwanted, which can lead to anxiety or depression.
What it is: This app allows users to watch and post 6-second videos and share with friends.
Possible issue: While many of the videos are harmless, porn videos do pop up into the feed, exposing your children to sexually explicit material. You can also search for access to porn videos on this app. Predators can utilize this app to search for teens and find their location. Once found, try to connect with them via other messaging apps.
Other apps mentioned in the post are Blendr, KIK Messenger, ASKFM, Poof, Omegle, Periscope and Whisper. Staying informed about what your child or teen is using will help you counteract the possible negative impacts. Sites that can help parents stay informed are For Every Mom, Crosswalk and Educate Empower Kids.
There’s no doubt parenting in the age of apps is scarier than ever and we parents can use all the help we can get!
Article originally posted on Parenting.com.