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5 dangerous apps you don’t know your kids are using

5 dangerous apps you don’t know your kids are using
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

If you're a parent or grandparent, you know that kids pick up the latest technology lightning fast. Of course, that means the children in your life can also be using apps and visiting sites that are totally inappropriate for their ages. Worse yet, you might not even realize it.

Let’s look at five dangerous apps that the children you deeply care about might be using and why they're dangerous.

1. Snapchat

Snapchat is a picture-messaging app whose claim to fame is that the messages only last for a few seconds once they're opened. Then the messages supposedly evaporate into thin air. In theory, you can send embarrassing or risque pictures without being afraid of someone stealing them or distributing them.

Unfortunately, the claim that Snapchat makes it safe to send risque pictures is just plain wrong. It's way too simple for anyone to grab a screenshot of the image before it's deleted. In fact, several teenage boys have gotten in serious legal trouble over the last few years for capturing and distributing illegal photos sent to them by underage girls.

Also, in October 2014, hackers got their hands on thousands of "deleted" Snapchat images that had been stored on third-party servers. While it wasn't exactly a breach of Snapchat, it's further proof that pictures don't always disappear.

In fairness, many teens use Snapchat for innocent picture-conversations with each other. And as Snapchat grows in popularity, the company is moving further away from its sexting association, but it's still a big concern.

If your teen is using Snapchat, ask them to show you how they're using it. Make sure that your teen is only communicating with people that they know, and that they realize the pictures they send don't just vanish forever. Remind them, "Once on the Internet, always on the Internet!"

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