Most parents have to answer this frightening question, eventually. “When is it time to get my kids their own smartphone?”
Their fears are justified because so many things can go wrong when technology and the internet are involved. One example is how tech affects a child’s development. Tap or click here to learn how too much screen time is changing the way kids’ brains develop.
Stunted development is alarming enough, but there are even scarier threats out there. Parents are being warned to check their kids’ devices for a bunch of popular apps. Why? Because these apps have been found to be gathering places for pedophiles. Yikes!
Check for these apps ASAP
Dangerous apps are nothing new. But most of the time we’re talking about malicious apps that could infect your gadget with malware or steal personal information. Tap or click here to find out which apps you need to delete now because they’re stealing personal data.
Sadly, we’ve learned about a list of apps that pose a more dangerous threat than even malware. These apps are allegedly used by pedophiles to search for children.
Police departments across the globe have been sharing this list of apps on their social media accounts to warn parents to be on the lookout. Apps making the list include dating apps and ones that have live chats, where pedophiles can share explicit pictures and videos.
Here are the 15 apps in question with a quick description of what police are warning about:
- MEETME – this is a dating social media app that allows users to connect with people based on geographic proximity. App users are encouraged to meet in person.
- WHATSAPP – is a popular messaging app that allows users to send texts, photos, voicemails and make calls and video chats.
- BUMBLE – This is similar to the popular dating app Tinder. It requires women to make the first contact. Kids have been known to create fake Bumble accounts that falsify their age.
- LIVE.ME – A live-streaming video app that uses geolocation to share videos so users can find out a broadcaster’s exact location. Users can earn “coins” as a way to pay minors for photos.
- ASK.FM – Known for cyberbullying, the app encourages users to allow anonymous people to ask them questions.
- GRINDR – This is a dating app geared towards the LGBT community. The app gives users options to chat, share photos and meet up based on a phone’s GPS.
- TIKTOK – This app is popular with kids. It’s used for creating and sharing short videos. With very limited privacy controls, users are vulnerable to cyberbullying and explicit content.
- SNAPCHAT – This is one of the most popular apps around. While the app promises users can take a photo or video and it will disappear, new features including “stories,” allows users to view content for up to 24 hours. Snapchat also allows users to see your location.
- HOLLA – This video chat app allows users to meet people all over the world in just seconds. Reviewers say they have been confronted with racial slurs, explicit content and more.
- CALCULATOR% – This is one of several secret apps used to hide photos, videos files and browser history.
- SKOUT – This is a location-based dating app and website. While users under 17 years old are unable to share private photos, kids can easily create an account with a falsified age.
- BADOO – This dating and social networking app allows users to chat, share photos and videos, and connect based on location. The app is intended for adults only, but teens have been known to create profiles.
- KIK – Allows anyone to contact and direct message to your child. Kids can bypass traditional messaging features and KIK gives users unlimited access to anyone, anywhere at any time.
- WHISPER – This anonymous social network promotes sharing secrets with strangers. It also reveals a user’s location so people can meet in person.
- HOT OR NOT – This app encourages users to rate your profile, check out people in their area and chat with strangers. The goal is for users to eventually hook up.
RELATED: 5 ways to protect your child online
If your kids have any of these apps on their devices, make sure to have a conversation with them about online safety. Some of the apps on the list pose less of a risk than others, but make sure to remove the dating apps. There’s no need for a child to be using a dating app, ever!
Helping protect your kids in the digital world
Technology isn’t what it used to be, even from only five years ago. There’s no shortage of options available, from smartphones and computers to smart TVs and gaming systems.
You need a way to set ground rules for when your kids are allowed to use those devices — especially their phones — and at what times they’re not supposed to, such as during dinner or before their chores are complete.
Setting boundaries for children has always been an important part of parenting. And it’s even more important now in the digital age.
To help, Kim created a technology contract that acts as an agreement between you and your children, so you’ll always be in-the-know about their activities to keep them safe. Tap or click here to download Kim’s tech safety contract for kids — it’s free!