Having dozens of apps loaded onto their phones is not uncommon for young people, and many of them their parents wouldn’t even recognise, so now is the time to get clued up on some of the most popular apps used by youngsters.
Some of these apps can leave your loved ones vulnerable to predators, bullies and mental health issues, so it is always best to know what they are doing when they are on their phones.
If you see your children using any of these apps, you should make sure they are monitored whenever using them, or they should be removed from their phones.
It’s also important to talk to your children about ways to stay safe online and not to send photos to strangers they have met over the web.
Be aware if your child has these apps on their phone
1. Secret Calculator apps
These “calculator” apps are not all they seem on the surface, as it actually allows users to hide private photos and videos in plain sight.
It works by locking away secret content behind the main page of the app, which appears as a typical calculator, but when a secret passcode is typed it, in opens up image storage.
If youngsters are trying to hide their images, there is usually a reason. These could be sexually explicit photos or other types of inappropriate content they want to keep away from prying eyes.
Some of these apps have now been removed from the Apple and Google Play app stores, but can still be downloaded directly from the internet.
This app is a free online chatroom that lets users talk to complete strangers over webcams.
It works by pairing random people together and offering them a chance to chat on their computer camera or through an instant messenger on the app.
The issue with this app, which could be concerning for parents, is that there is no way to control who your child will be paired up with, and nudity and inappropriate requests from strangers could take place.
The site does warn users before they enter, with a message reading: “Predators have been known to use Omegle, so please be careful”.
This app allows youngsters to ask their peers any question they would like – but all questions have the option of being sent anonymously.
While it may have first started life as a place for teens to ask who their friends fancy, the app could be used by bullies as they can say whatever they want without fear of anyone finding out who they are.
If your child is using this app, make sure to keep an eye on the sorts of things they are being asked and make sure they know what to do if they are being picked on online.
Picture-sharing app Snapchat is become hugely popular since it first launched in 2011.
The app is usually used to send silly photos to friends, but there are some features on the app that parents should know about.
Firstly, although pictures “disappear” after a matter of seconds, they can be screenshotted, meaning they will be around forever. Users can also get messages and requests from people they do not know.
The “Snapmap” feature shares users’ location unless they go into “ghost mode”, so strangers could keep track of where your children are at all times.
The Whisper app allows users to share their secrets anonymously.
As with any other anonymous online service, teens can be encouraged to engage in risky behaviour when using the app.
The open nature of the social networking site means that predators could contact children anonymously and there would be no way of verifying who users are really talking to.
Tumblr is a hugely popular blogging site for youngsters where text and images can be shared on an individual blog – but all blogs are public and cannot be made private. There is also no minimum age to join, so children of any age can join the site, as long as they have an email address.
Posts on the site go mainly unregulated until they are reported by users, so there could be images that show nudity, violence and self-harm among many other inappropriate pictures.
Parents with children using the site are advised to keep an eye on what they are putting on their blogs and the sort of accounts they are following. They should also teach kids how to report posts if they need to.
Branded the ‘Tinder for Teens’, Yubo is a dating app, where users swipe left or right to accept or decline chat requests from people in their area.
Once two people swipe right to “like” each other, they become friends on the app and can begin to chat and send photos straight away.
There is also an opportunity to live stream on the app. People can send messages to users.
8. Burn Book
The anonymous gossip app, sharing the name of the infamous book from the Mean Girls film, allows users to post rumours about other people through audio, messages and photos.
The app can be downloaded for free and users can search for school communities within 10 miles.
However, as the app allows users to gossip anonymously, it could be used by cyber-bullies. It is important to monitor what your child is doing if they have this app.
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