DANGEROUS APPS FOR KIDS THAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT
In the expanding world of virtualization, social media and technology – for parents, you should now be more cautious than ever for the safety and privacy of your teens. Thousands of applications that connect one another are produced each week and introduced into both Google Play and Apple’s App store, now that’s a lot of apps to keep up with!
Now this goes without saying but not all those applications make it in the long run due to many reasons. However, let me tell you about the biggest ones that tweens, teens, kids and preteens have been using:
• Is loaded with Ads, has community blogs that can lead to Cyber Stranger Danger-type scenarios
• Posts are easily shareable/accessible by the tap of a button
• Allows users to send any picture
• users can screenshot
• This application is disguised a calculator but instead functions as a secret photo vault.
• A free online chat website that promotes chatting anonymously to strangers
Hot or Not:
• Strangers rate your profile.
• Goal is to lead to a hookup.
• App is designed to “make friends on snapchat” but is being exploited as a teen dating service.
• An app that allows users to compare anything
• An anonymous app where the creators promote sharing secrets and meeting new people.
• Can easily create fake accounts.
• Lots of bots.
• Ask a question anonymously.
• Has been linked to severe forms of cyber bullying.
Now like I said, these are the most popular ones. Numerous amounts of other applications are available on the open market that feature various combinations of those that are mentioned above.
Did I miss something?
You’re probably thinking “Holy shit! Did I miss something?” And the simple answer is ‘yes’, yes you did miss something and so did the ceo’s of these applications.
You know how most toys with small parts or objects are printed with a health warning that states something like “Choking Hazard – Toy contains marbles. Not for children under 3 years.”? Well I do, so where’s the disclaimer on these applications for potential threats to our kids? The answer is ‘Nowhere’.
At what age should I allow my child to use social media?
While there are social media apps that are being targeted to 10-12 years old (some even as low as 6 years old! I.e. Facebook’s Messenger for Kids), studies suggest that kids begin to better understand people, their surroundings and lifestyles by 13 – in which is the minimum age for Facebook and Instagram users.
Although there are these minimum age requirements rules in place, there’s no legitimate way to check if a user lies about his or hers’ age.
Kids should not be completely shut off from these technologies throughout their youth and upbringing, but perhaps educated on the dangers that surround social media platforms when they eventually want to sign up.
What age are kids accessing social media services?
In 2013, www.kidsmatter.edu.au conducted a nationwide study to explore the various fields of social media and related technology usage to find out the medians of usage among Australian youth:
• Their studies suggest that 45% of of 8-11 year olds use social media networking sites. Keep in mind, a vast majority of these users are accessing these services while in another room, at a friend’s house or away from direct parent supervision.
• Roughly 95% of 8-11 year olds had accessed the internet within the last four weeks, with almost all of which had accessed the internet at some point in there lives. (This isn’t just social media services)
These studies elucidate the fact that the usage of devices and social media are becoming more common in younger age groups.
Top 3 Apps to be cautious of:
Just by going to the app store, at a quick glance I could already see the top grossing apps that are most common throughout our youth.
Instagram (6) – Instagram is a social media application which allows users to share, like and comment on other people’s photos instantaneously. Users create profiles to share images in a gallery-like fashion. The service also keeps track, publicly, of who the user follows and the amount of people following the user.
Snapchat (12) – Snapchat is a social media service which is built on the idea that users send photos to each other that may last up to 10 seconds. Snapchat has recently provided the application with an update feature called ‘SnapMap’. The snap map can be easily accessed by the pinch of a screen and allows users to find the friends within seconds (if their location is enabled).
FaceBook (11) – Coming in at 11 is popular social media platform, Facebook. Like social media you must first make a profile to use the platform. Once the user’s profile is created they are able to send friend requests, like pages and share posts.
Although these are the most common among our kids, keep in mind that other social media services should not be ignored.
Why we should be cracking down on our kids
The internet can be wonderful, it can be educational, humorous and also fun. But, the internet can be as treacherous and mischievous as those who use it.
“But my child is well behaved…”
Your child may be behaved but that doesn’t rule out the threats and exploits of these applications.
We should now be cracking down more than ever to guarantee that our kids know the rules, parameters and the conditions of usage for these applications/ services to avoid the outlying risks of predators, lack of social interaction, cyber bullying, privacy and mental health issues.
Join us for our 1hr lunchtime webinar!
This upcoming webinar is for those who either lack the knowledge of current platforms or want to know more about the type of applications their kids are using.