Police Warn Parents of 15 Apps That Could Get Kids Into Trouble
As kids head back to school, police are reminding parents that with more freedom comes more responsibility. There are 15 apps in particular that law enforcement says parents should watch out for and warn their kids about, according to News Center Maine. Some of these apps are more susceptible to cyberbullying and privacy issues than others, so don't be alarmed if your kids have installed a couple of the programs below. Many have settings you can change to curb your kids' risk while using them, while others are worth deleting altogether. Make sure your kids know the dangers behind internet use and how to cope with and respond to hate speech, cyberbullying, and online threats.
<< 1) MeetMe: Formerly known as the myYearbook app, MeetMe differentiates itself because it introduces users to new friends instead of connecting you with old ones. It also puts you at risk because you don't personally know the "new friends" the app is connecting you with.
>> 2) WhatsApp: a cross-platform instant messaging application that allows iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia smartphone users to exchange text, image, video and audio messages for free. It's often used as a texting alternative, but users can be contacted by strangers as well.
<< 3) Bumble: This is a dating app in which women are given the power of initiation. While it's a popular dating app for adults, we can all agree that teens shouldn't be making accounts and lying about their ages.
>> 4) Live.Me: A live-streaming app that uses geolocation to share videos. The dangerous part is that users can earn "coins" to "pay" minors for photos.
<< 5) Ask.FM: Users can ask questions
anonymously, often resulting in cyberbullying and harassment.
>> 6) Grindr: Another dating app, this time commonly known as a hook-up-only kind of deal. Definitely not meant for users under 18.
<< 7) TikTok: Very popular among high schoolers for its short videos, TikTok is like the Vine of this generation. However, the app has limited privacy controls, so kids can easily be exposed to cyberbullying and explicit content.
>> 8) Snapchat: Another very popular app - don't be alarmed if your kids have this, but warn them about the app's dangers. They should never open content from strangers, accept strangers as friends, or send anything to people they don't know. Settings can be changed to hide one's location, which is also crucial for your kid's privacy.
<< 9) Holla: An addictive video sharing app, where kids are likely to see inappropriate content from time to time. Be sure they know how to respond to racial slurs, violent or sexual content, and hate speech. Again, these things can be hard to avoid in today's internet-consumed world... so prepare your kids for the worst.
>> 10) Calculator+: Police say this is one of several apps that are used to hide photos, videos, files and browser history, reports News Center Maine.
<< 11) Skout: A location-based dating app where underage users can easily falsify their age and be exposed to explicit content and predators.
>> 12) Badoo: Same as Skout, a dating app meant for adults. Be sure your kids aren't tempted to create accounts and put themselves in danger.
<< 13) Kik: Similar to WhatsApp, Kik is a texting alternative app that allows users unlimited access to anyone anytime.
>> 14) Whisper: Used to tell secrets to friends and strangers, Whisper also shows the user's location to allow meeting up, which is never a good idea for kids on the internet. Or adults, for that matter.
<< 15) Hot or Not: A hook up-focused dating app that allows users to peruse and rate pictures of people in their area. It shares users' locations and is a generally tasteless app, plus it's meant for adults. Kids, just say no!