In this rapidly changing digital world, it’s crucial for parents to “Parent Online” and know what apps their children are using! Parents are the 1st line of defense when it comes to Online Safety! Do you know what the age restriction is for the app your child, tween or teen is using?
Ask.fm, an anonymous messaging app
Ask.fm, an App That Thrives on Anonymity; Known for Cyberbullying
Ask.fm: A question and answering service that gives tweens and teens the opportunity to ask and answer controversial questions anonymously. This site is highly integrated with popular social networking sites like Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Users can invite their friends and followers to ask them questions by posting links on their timelines or Twitter feeds. Unfortunately, and sadly this site is ripe with abuse and has been linked to several incidents that have resulted in suicide. Ask.fm’s age requirement 13 years old.
down, the mobile app popular with teens
“Down with a bang”! Seriously? Not for kids.
Down: Whatever happened to the normal dating process? This app, which used to be called “Bang with Friends,” connects via Facebook. Down users pick Facebook friends to whom they think are “sexy” and if the friend is attracted to them the app lets them know they are both “down to bang.”
First users select their “sexy” friends and are told, “they won’t know until they select you, too. Once we know you’re both interested, we’ll send a notification – when and where to meet is up to you!” As Down says to promote their app, “get dates or get down.”
This app has no age restriction in the terms of service because users sign in with Facebook which has an age restriction of 13 years old. We know that many kids use Facebook under the age of 13. The Down app is not suitable for kids, period. The how page of the website alone is disturbing, with graphic images and content that is inappropriate for kids.
The mobile app Fess, popular with Teens
A high-school confession app.
Fess: “Fess lets you post anonymously to your high school. Only students allowed in, no Fesses allowed out. This is your high school’s own confessions app,” describes the iTunes store. A red flag should go up whenever we read the word anonymous, because anonymous apps usually spell trouble of the cyberbullying kind. Why else would it be anonymous? So beware and don’t let your kids “Fess”. Age requirement to use Fess is 13 years old.
Instagram, mobile app used by kids
Instagram, the Popular Photo-sharing App for Kids
Instagram: Owned by Facebook. Instagram is an online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that allows users to take pictures and videos, change the way a photo looks using digital filters and share them on social networking sites. It’s known as Selfie central! Parents need to make sure the privacy settings are set to allow friends they know to see the images. Also, the Geo-location feature needs to be turned off to mitigate online predator risk. Parents should also be aware that Instagram has recently been linked to buying and selling drugs. Required age of use is 13 years old. This is an app commonly used by younger kids today. Parents clearly need to supervise use!
Kik a messaging app
Kik, A Free Messaging App
That Kids Use.
Kik Messenger: A quick instant messaging service that allows teens to text their friends (who are also using Kik) and add photos and videos to the text message. It’s rated 17+ but many young teens are using it without their parents’ knowledge. Kik is very popular and has 90 million users. Kids may be exposed to highly sexualized, inappropriate content that includes graphic images.
App not appropriate for those under 18 years old
mobile app omegle, popular with kids
Invites kids to talk to strangers!
Omegle: The home page of Omegle invites people to Talk to Strangers. This says it all about the app and kids. Not talking to strangers is one of the first things we teach our kids. Parents need to be vigilant about who their kids’ are chatting with online too. Omegle is a haven for sexual predators. This App is not for kids period. Kids are able to connect Omegle to their Facebook account to find chat partners with similar interests. When a tween or teen selects this feature, an Omegle Facebook App will receive their Facebook “likes” and match them with a stranger with similar likes. Personal info is at risk too. Omegle’s age restriction is 13 years old. This app should not be used by anyone that is not an adult.
Oovoo, a mobile app popular with kids
What can your tween or teen do with OoVoo?
Oovoo: What can you do on OoVoo? Kids are able to access OoVoo either on their computer or download an app on their smartphone. They can video chat with up to 12 friends (or strangers), send video messages, record, and upload videos to YouTube and use the instant messaging feature. Parents need to pay attention to who their child is chatting with. The age requirement for this app is 13 years old.