Tweets, Pheeds, Snaps… There’s no doubt that it’s hard for a parent to keep up with which mobile T-App or Tw-App their tween or teen is using today on their smartphone! But in today’s rapidly changing digital world, it’s important for parents to be aware of the Apps kids are using, many of which have age restrictions, may expose a child to adult content and privacy risks. Parents are the 1st line of defense when it comes to Online Safety!
Instagram: An online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that allows its users to take pictures and videos, change the way a photo looks using digital filters and share them on social networking sites. It’s known as Selfie Central! Parents need to make sure the privacy settings are set to allow only those allowed to see the images. Geo Location also needs to be turned off.
Snapchat: This app allows kids to send photos and videos. The images theoretically disappear within seconds so some kids are using Snapchat to sext. It’s known as the sexting app. Kids may think the photos disappear for all time but a screenshot capture can be taken easily and the image can go viral quickly.
Pheed: Another social network app that does it all for teens; sharing texts, photos, videos, audio tracks, voice notes and also live broadcasts. Pheed is hot and is quickly growing in popularity for highschoolers. Regarding privacy, Pheed has private and public channels. Teens can set their channel to private. On a private channel, they must approve all subscribers and only subscribers can see their channel.
Voxer: A walkie talkie app that allows users to share short little voice notes that make the experience similar to chatting back and forth on a walkie-talkie. Images and texts can also be shared. They can chat one on one or in groups. The app shares your current location by default which can put kids at risk.
Kik Messanger: A quick instant messaging service that allows teens to text their friends (who are also using Kik) and add photos and videos to the text message. It’s rated 17+ but many young teens are using it without their parents’ knowledge. That’s why it’s so important to parent online! How do you restrict your tween or teen from using Kik? Click Here.
Vine: is a social media app, owned by Twitter that entices teens to “see and share beautiful looping videos and capture their world in a fun and simple way!” The maximum video clip length is six seconds and it can be shared or embedded on other social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. The videos are often funny and creative. But some of the videos are inappropriate and contain mature content! Also, Vine settings are public by default which raises privacy concerns. Fortunately, the settings can be changed to protect posts and approve the followers that will see them
Quooh.me: The Home Page for Qooh.me, a social site, says that it ” allows people who find you interesting to ask you anonymous questions so they can know you better. ” They say, “IT’S ADDICTIVE!!” This app is opening up your child to potential cyberbullying and meeting strangers online, both serious risks.
Ask.fm: A question asking and answering service that gives tweens/teens the opportunity to ask and answer controversial questions anonymously. This site is highly integrated with popular social networking sites like Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter. Users can invite their friends and followers to ask them questions by posting links on their timelines or twitter feeds. Unfortunately, and sadly this site is ripe with abuse and has been linked to several cyberbullying incidents that have resulted in suicides.