Most parents have to answer this frightening question, eventually. “When is it time to get my kids their own smartphone?”
Their fears are justified because so many things can go wrong when technology and the internet are involved. One example is how tech affects a child’s development. Tap or click here to see how too much screen time changes the way kids’ brains develop.
Stunted development is alarming enough, but there are even scarier threats out there. Parents are being warned to check their kids’ devices for a bunch of popular apps. Why? Because these apps are gathering places for pedophiles. Yikes!
Check for these apps ASAP
Dangerous apps are nothing new. But most of the time, we’re talking about malicious apps that could infect your gadget with malware or steal personal information. Tap or click here to find out which apps you need to delete now because they’re stealing personal data.
Sadly, we’ve learned about a list of apps that pose a more dangerous threat than even malware. Police officers across the country are warning parents to keep their children away from these 15 apps. That’s because pedophiles allegedly use them to search for children.
Here are the 15 apps in question with a quick description of what whistleblowers are warning about:
- MEETME – This is a dating/social media app that allows users to connect with people based on geographic proximity. App users are encouraged to meet in person.
- WHATSAPP – This is a popular messaging app that allows users to send texts, photos, voicemails and make calls and video chats.
- BUMBLE – This is similar to the popular dating app Tinder. It requires women to make the first contact. Kids have been known to create fake Bumble accounts that falsify their age.
- LIVEME – 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 – Known for cyberbullying, the app encourages users to allow anonymous people to ask them questions.
- GRINDR – This is a dating app geared towards the LGBT community. The app gives users options to chat, share photos and meet up based on a phone’s GPS.
- TIKTOK – This app is popular with kids. It’s used for creating and sharing short videos. With very limited privacy controls, users are vulnerable to cyberbullying and explicit content.
- SNAPCHAT – This is one of the most popular apps around. While the app promises users can take a photo or video and it will disappear, new features including “stories,” allows users to view the content for up to 24 hours. Snapchat also allows users to see your location.
- SKOUT – This is a location-based dating app and website. While users under 17 are unable to share private photos, kids can easily create an account with a falsified age.
- BADOO – This dating and social networking app allows users to chat, share photos and videos, and connect based on location. The app is intended for adults only, but teens have been known to create profiles.
- KIK – Allows anyone to contact and direct message your child. Kids can bypass traditional messaging features and KIK gives users unlimited access to anyone, anywhere at any time.
- WHISPER – This anonymous social network promotes sharing secrets with strangers. It also reveals a user’s location so people can meet in person.
- YUBO – Dubbed “Tinder for teens,” this app was first launched after Tinder cut off underage users. Users can stream themselves for an unlimited number of watchers. With notoriously lax safety restrictions, the app lets anyone create an account without verifying their identity.
- OMEGLE – This video app has been around for a long time, but people are using it more than ever during the quarantine. This chat roulette pairs you with a video feed from a stranger. Predators use it to flash themselves at the camera, which means your child could be exposed to extreme video in a matter of seconds.
- LIKEE – Experts call this dangerous app is “a pedophile’s paradise.” The TikTok copycat automatically shows a user’s location with every post. There’s no way to make your account private, which means predators can comment on your kid’s content and even know where they live.
RELATED: 5 ways to protect your child online
If your kids have any of these apps on their devices, make sure to have a conversation with them about online safety. Some of the apps on the list pose less risk than others but make sure to remove the dating apps. There’s no need for a child to be using a dating app, ever!
Helping protect your kids in the digital world
Technology isn’t what it used to be, even from only five years ago. There’s no shortage of options available, from smartphones and computers to smart TVs and gaming systems.
You need a way to set ground rules for when your kids are allowed to use those devices — especially their phones — and at what times they’re not supposed to, such as during dinner or before their chores are complete.
Setting boundaries for children has always been an important part of parenting. And it’s even more important now in the digital age.
To help, Kim created a technology contract that acts as an agreement between you and your children, so you’ll always be in-the-know about their activities to keep them safe. Tap or click here to download Kim’s tech safety contract for kids — it’s free!