With the kids heading back to school, police are reminding parents that kids will be downloading new apps to communicate with their classmates. The problem is that some might promote bullying and some are designed to hide data so you won’t question it.
This list was first released by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office in Florida last year, but new apps have been added after over twenty men were arrested in an online predator and human trafficking sting. It turns out, the men were using a lot of these apps to engage with children.
These are the 15 apps that police are warning parents to take off their children’s phones.
- Ask.fm – Ask.fm can promote cyberbullying since it encourages people to anonymously ask questions.
- Badoo/Bumble/Grindr/Meet Me/Skout – These are dating apps and allows users to chat, share photos and videos and connect based on location. These apps are created for adults only.
- Calculator% – Calculator% is an app that looks innocent but it’s actually used to hide photos, videos, files and browser history.
- Holla– is a video chat app that allows users to meet people all over the world in just seconds.
- Hot or Not – Hot or Not encourages users to rate your looks. You can also check out people in their area, and chat with strangers.
- Kik – Kik allows anyone to contact and send a direct message to your child.
- Live.me – Live.me is a live-streaming video app that shows a users exact location. Users can earn ‘coins’ as a way to ‘pay’ minors for photos.
- Snapchat – Snapchat is one of the most popular apps in recent years. While the app promises users can take a photo/video and it will disappear, new features including ‘stories’ allow users to view the content for up to 24 hours. Snapchat also allows users to see your location.
- TikTok – TikTok allows kids to create and share short videos. There are limited privacy controls, which makes users vulnerable to bullying and explicit content.
- Whatsapp – Whatsapp is a popular messaging app that allows users to send texts, photos, voicemails, make calls and video chats worldwide.
- Whisper – Whisper promotes sharing secrets with strangers. It also shows a user’s location so people can meet up.
So what can you do to protect your children?
- Make sure you personally approve every app on your kid’s phone
- Check privacy settings and set controls you’re comfortable with
- Talk with your kids about social media and the dangers that come with it
- Research apps and make sure it doesn’t hide content from you.