Digital progress is the double-edged sword that can bring pain or pleasure to our lives. On the one hand, we enjoy all the stuff our phones can do and high-end graphics in movies and games, but on the other hand, all this tech is a headache for parents.
Police in Huntersville, North Carolina are reminding us to watch our kids and what they’re doing online. So many of our children know how to connect to WiFi and immerse themselves in the digital world like it’s second nature. But there are apps out there that could put them in a world of danger.
We’ve got to keep up. To help us do that, this police department released an image of app icons and asked, “DO YOUR CHILDREN HAVE ANY OF THESE APPS?”
Let’s take a look and heed these warnings. You’re probably already familiar with Instagram and know that pictures and videos posted can be viewed publicly or privately. People can contact your child through private messages – a.k.a., “the DMs.”
Snapchat is another popular app that enables users to “snap” pics and videos that are posted for a short period of time before being deleted. Users – which may be friends or nasty strangers – can view these snaps and contact your child.
Be aware that the app has been criticized for too much sexual content, the live-streaming of inappropriate/dumb/dangerous acts by adults and kids, and a few of its secret features. “Discover” provides links to articles and images related to anything from pop culture news to drugs and sex. “My Eyes Only” stores a user’s unwanted photos that are only accessible with a pin. What’s in there, Mom?
Check out the Calculator app and its logo (I will be auditing my child’s device for this one). It looks innocent enough but is actually a disguise; the app hides videos and browser history info in plain sight.
Kik is normally used for texting, but the PD points out that anyone from anywhere can contact your child through the app. You can even send photos.
Whisper and Omegle are both platforms used for chatting with strangers, one even has a location-sharing feature.
Bigo Live-Live Stream, Live.ly, Live.ME, and Musical.ly may also look innocent, but they are live-streaming apps that kids as young as 6 or 7 have been using to film themselves (live) in their bedrooms, getting dressed or undressed, or doing who knows what else. There are no moderators for these apps and predators on always on the prowl.
Apps like Wishbone, Holla, and AskFm encourage cyber-bullying. Random strangers can contact your child and issue “ratings” on them.
We highly encourage you to look at this list provided by the Huntersville PD and also do some more research on your own. Then check your child’s phone, tablet, or any other device they have to see if these apps are on it.
Some may not have parental controls, so deleting them is the best option. And don’t forget to check which have location tracking features. In some cases, you may find yourself having a long talk with your child about rules and digital safety. There are too many bad things going on out there!
Get some tips from law enforcement by clicking on the video below.
Does this report concern you about your child’s digital use? Were you aware of these apps and their functions? What about their dangers?