As a parent, it is your responsibility to protect your children. After all, they hadn’t been here long and didn’t understand the potential threats this world brought.
So you lock the door, limit their junk food, and enforce a curfew. They are safe and sound in their room, right? Wrong. If your child has unattended access to a smart device, there is another threat lurking – mobile apps.
There are mobile apps that are considered “kid-friendly”, but they are not. Here are seven things you should know.
At the top of our list is the HIP – and for a special reason. Kids can use this app to hide inappropriate apps in plain sight. It works by disguising apps as something less sinister.
For example, a dating app looks like a music app. The name HIP is an acronym for Hide it Pro. However, it will appear as a HIP on your child’s device.
It is available on the app store for free. Your child can set up a PIN to hide all types of files in the vault, including photos and messages.
So, if you’re a parent who regularly checks your kid’s mobile activities, there’s a good chance they’ll back you up with this app.
In addition, there is another similar application that needs attention, called Poof.
Facebook is an outdated platform for young groups. The alternative to them is Snapchat. In case you are not familiar with Snapchat, this is an app that allows you to share videos with your friends. Doesn’t sound too bad right? So what is the red flag?
The content you publish on this platform is similar to Instagram Stories, which disappear after 24 hours. This means you can never really know what your kids are doing on this app as there’s no way to go back and check.
Making sure your kids are safe and not doing anything they’re not allowed to do on the app is a challenge. So to be on the safe side, it’s better to keep this app off your kids devices.
All the kids love it, and even some adults use it. It’s the music app that people use to reenact their favorite dance moves from their favorite song or make a parody of a popular song.
It all sounds innocent until you read the reviews from the above parents Common Sense Media. Some are concerned about the language their child is exposed to when using the app and rightfully so.
Not to mention, there are sexy dance moves that young eyes shouldn’t see (let alone do). Did we mention adults are using it? Well, it deserves a second mention.
It’s worth noting that the app is taking its stand by removing accounts for users under the age of 13. However, some parents may still want to ban this app for their 16+ teens.
Be wary that users can fake their age, so if your kids are below the limit, they can still create an account.
Whenever you have an app geared towards teenagers that hides their identity, parents should be concerned. As you might imagine, it’s an ideal place for cyberbullying.
This application allows you to create accounts, hide your identity and contact others anonymously. The app focuses on anonymously asking other users questions. Kids will be kids, so you can expect some kids to ask weird questions (some of which can be disrespectful or embarrassing).
Then there’s also the concern that chats aren’t always private. Some users asked each other for Kik’s phone number and username.
Speaking of which…
Teens may see this as just another messenger to communicate with their friends. However, upon a closer look, you’ll see some concerns about potentially harmful behavior.
For example, you can exchange photos, sketches, gifs, and videos with anyone (even if they’re not your friends). So not only are your kids potentially exposed to inappropriate content, but they may also be exposed to strangers posing as children.
Unfortunately, there are no parental controls and your child can protect his or her account with a password. If you don’t know it, then you are locked out of that part of your child’s life.
If you’re not into the dating game, then Tinder might not be on your radar yet. It was an app that allowed users to rate each other’s photos (which was a malicious start).
Since you can use GPS tracking, you can locate people within a 10-mile radius around you. This is one of the reasons people use it for dating. And it helps match you with other potential “mates.”
The app requires users to be 18 or older, but it also doesn’t verify age. So parents have to make sure that their kids don’t use it.
Another similar app is Yubo, called “Tinder for Teens.” Like Tinder, it is malicious in nature, allowing users to accept or reject each other’s photos (by swiping left or right).
This is the downside of social media, where people unintentionally hurt each other’s feelings without regret. No wonder teen depression is on the rise!
Protect your kids from predators (Young and Old)
Parenting in the digital age is tough. You have to worry about predatory behavior from old perverts, as well as rude young ones.
The best way to do this is to pay attention to the apps your child is using. Do more than look at the icon, review the app’s description, do a Google search, and see what other parents are saying about the app Common Sense Media. Even the police have issue their own list of apps Parents should be vigilant.