According to the Pender County Sheriff’s Office, there are 15 apps parents should know about if their kids are using them.
“I didn’t even know there were that many apps that were out there like this,” said Sgt. Chester Ward, Pender County Sheriff’s Office public information officer.
Ward said the reason the sheriff’s office is publicizing this list is so parents can recognize these apps and understand what their uses are.
“Underage kids that are potentially showing inappropriate images can result in criminal actions,” Ward said. “Once the pictures are released, people can hold those images in their phone permanently.”
The following apps are ones parents should pay close attention to, as they can be potentially dangerous for their kids and teens.
- MeetMe: This is a dating app that allows users to connect with people based on geographic proximity. As the app’s name suggests, users are encouraged to meet each other in person.
- Grindr: This is a dating app geared towards gay, bisexual, and transgender people. The app gives users options to chat, share photos and meet up based on a smart phone’s GPS location.
- Skout: This is a location-based dating app and website. While users under 17 years old are unable to share private photos, kids can easily create an account using a different age.
- WhatsApp: This popular messaging app allows users to send texts, photos, make calls, and video chats worldwide. WhatsApp uses an internet connection on smart phones and computers.
- TikTok: This is a newer mobile device app popular with kids used for creating and sharing short videos. With very limited privacy controls, users are vulnerable to bullying and explicit content.
- Badoo: This is a dating and social networking app where users can chat, share photos and videos, and connect based on location. While the app is intended for adults only, teens have been known to create profiles.
- Kik: This app allows anyone to contact and direct message your child. Kids can bypass traditional text messaging features. Kik gives users unlimited access to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
- Snapchat: This is one of the most popular apps in recent years. While the app promises users can take a photo and/or video and it will disappear, new features, including “stories,” allow users to view content for up to 24 hours.
- Bumble: This is similar to the popular dating app “Tinder.” However, it requires women to make the first contact. Kids have been known to use Bumble to create fake accounts and falsify their age.
- Live.Me: This is a live-streaming video app that uses geolocation to share videos so users can find out a broadcaster’s exact location. Users can earn “coins” as a way to “pay” minors for photos.
- Ask.FM: This app is known for cyber bullying. The app encourages users to allow anonymous people to ask them questions.
- Holla: This is a self-proclaimed “addicting” video chat app that allows users to meet people all over the world in just seconds. Reviewers say they have been confronted with racial slurs, explicit content and more.
- Calculator%: This is only one of several secret apps used to hide photos, videos, files and browser history.
- Whisper: This is an anonymous social network that promotes sharing secrets with strangers. It also reveals a user’s location so people can meet up.
- Hot or Not: This app encourages users to rate your profile, check out people in their area, and chat with strangers. The goal of this app is to “hook up.”
Tinder, Hinge, and Plenty of Fish are other popular dating apps to look out for that aren’t mentioned in this list.
Reporter Krys Merryman can be reached at 910-343-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.