If you see any of these apps on your kid’s smartphone it’s time to have a serious talk.
Internet safety expert Sedgrid Lewis, says the internet is an outright danger for some teens.
Your child's smartphones allow them to connect to the internet 24/7. As a parent, this is a daily reality you must deal with. Neither the internet or iphones are going away.
Some Apps Are Dangerous.
Research shows that three of every four teens share personal information on line, and 1/5 teens has received unwanted online sexual solicitation.
Unfortunately, the internet is full of people who have evil motives, including taking advantage of children and teens
One of the easiest avenues of access to your children are the apps on your child's smart phone. Fortunately, there are cyber-security experts speaking up about apps that can be dangerous for unsupervised children. In this article we will briefly identify four dangerous apps, according to various cyber-security experts.
Omegle is a livestreaming video and chat app that exists solely so that strangers can talk to one another. That’s right – total strangers. Livestreaming means people are able to send live video of themselves – doing anything!
Like many apps, the average parent is not familiar with Omegle, but kids (preteens & teens) know all about them.
Here is how Omegle describes itself on its website:
“Omegle (oh·meg·ull) is a great way to meet new friends. When you use Omegle, we pick someone else at random and let you talk one-on-one. To help you stay safe, chats are anonymous unless you tell someone who you are (not suggested!), and you can stop a chat at any time. Predators have been known to use Omegle, so please be careful.”
WHAT?! The site PICKS SOMEONE AT RANDOM (i.e., a TOTAL STRANGER) and lets your child talk to then one on one? Yes, I’m yelling at all parents. BE AWARE!
Sarahah is a popular online messaging app. With millions of users it is free and easy to understand – meaning even the youngest of kids have no problem using it.
It works by piggybacking on to another app – Snapchat. Is there a teen/preteen in the universe who does not use Snapchat?
Sarahah allows users to send anonymous direct messages to others. Herein lies the problem. Being able to tell a person something and be totally anonymous in doing so can bring out the worst in people – including young people. This takes schoolyard whispers and gossip to another level. One can say terrible and hurtful things to another person with NO consequences, because your identity is kept secret.
As a result, Sarahah has been rated as “the #1 bullying app on the market today”, by some cybersecurity experts.
Yubo touts itself as a way to make new friends and is marketed to 13- to 17-year-olds The DANGER of this app is it allows children of any age to say they are adults and request to “hook-up” with the total strangers they are talking to.
The phrase “hook-up” should set off strong alarms for every parent! I googled “hook-up” and the website for Ashley Madison popped up. Enough said.
Someone described Yubo as an app that allows teens to meet strangers and indicate if they are interested in meeting them in person. That’s a good summary for this app.
Musical.ly was designed with good intentions. This app allows people to lipsync to their favorite songs and upload videos of them doing so.
The danger: Uploading video of yourself can be a video of you doing ANYTHING.
The result is users can stream all forms of pornography to unsuspecting eyes – including children.
The videos are also used to cyberbully other young people.
As well, Musical.lyit is used as a video forum for depressed kids to talk about how they hate themselves, to self-harm themselves while others watch and share videos of actual suicide methods!
What Kind of World Have We Created?!
One that can be very unsafe for UNSUPERVISED children.
This article is written to INFORM parents. Knowledge truly is power. I don’t believe any of these apps were created with the intention of harming children.
But, these apps ARE being used to harm children.
Parents, you need to be aware of what is going on in your kid’s lives – especially younger kids (say, under the age of 16). For example, there is no way 10 year olds can properly process the images they can be exposed to via these apps.
What Can Parents Do?
i. Check your kid’s smartphone regularly. Any apps you are not familiar with? Google is your friend.
ii. Sit down and have a face-to-face with your child about dangerous apps you see on their phone. Discuss your concerns and objections.
iii. Delete those apps. Based on your research you may draw the conclusion you do NOT want your kids using certain apps.
iv. Never forget: YOU ARE THE BOSS. Your child is NOT the boss. You know what is best for them.
In our next article we will discuss where you can turn for help in staying abreast of dangerous apps. There are some excellent websites out there dedicated to just this purpose.
We will also discuss steps you can take to help your child understand why they must delete certain apps from their phone.
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