It’s that time again, time for BecauseFamily to release our list of apps you should look out for on your kids phones. Unfortunately things change so fast that is seems silly to just throw a list together and tell you to look for those particular icons. Instead, this is a list of app categories that you should be aware of. Some are very malicious and can be dangerous for your kids, some aren’t inherently dangerous but can have some risk associated with them. The list below is not exhaustive, though, I have included several examples of some of the most popular apps that come up when you search for these particular types of app in the app stores. Hopefully this will help you make quality decisions as to what apps your kids have and don’t have on their devices.
These apps allow users to store private images and videos behind a password of some kind. Oftentimes hidden behind a calculator, camera, or music icon, these apps are intended to fool people into ignoring them and are disguised well. Of course these apps can pose a problem for parents who are worried about their child(ren) sending or receiving inappropriate images or videos. Having a supposed safe place to hide them could make more kids prone to take the risk. Some examples of photo vault apps include:
Secret Photo Vault
Lock Secret Photo Album
Photo Safe Vault
Many games come with built in friend messaging and ways to connect with players you didn’t already know. This is considered social gaming and it’s standard with most mobile games. Many games seem like they are intended for a younger audience but are actually played by people of all ages. Language, sexual innuendo, and much more can be expected in these “in-game” chat rooms. Also, predators have been known to use messaging in some of these games to identify, target, and groom their prey. Some examples of these social games are:
Apps with Disappearing Messages
Cyberbullying and sexting have become a major issue for many junior high and high school administers. Parents are also concerned that their kids are sending and receiving messages they shouldn’t be distributing. Disappearing messages can encourage more of this behavior since it enhances the sense of anonymity. It’s critical our kids understand that what you send over the internet should always be considered permanent and that just because something said it has disappeared doesn’t mean it’s gone. Some examples of apps that allow you to delete messages after sending are listed below:
Online dating is nothing new, apps that connect singles for chatting, dates, and much more are all the rage as well. Sometimes they become trendy among teens also. The following apps are meant to connect older users for romantic purposes but have no foolproof way to be sure kids don’t use the app:
Coffee Meets Bagel
Live/Life Streaming Apps
It seems like every social media platform encourages its users to “go live” as often as possible. Live streaming broadcasts you to all of your followers and allows them to engage through comments and questions. Oftentimes you can even broadcast publicly and allow anyone who would like to watch you. Life-streaming is when kids, teens, and adults broadcast much of every day of their lives. The following apps allow kids to life stream to their audience:
Try Not to Freak Out
Please keep in mind that just because you see one of these apps on your kids’ phone or tablet doesn’t mean they are using the app for the wrong reasons. Much of this list is based on a risk that is associated with the app, not an automatic danger as soon as it is installed. We need to be vigilant when it comes to our kids’ online activity. Not because of fear or mistrust but from a place of wisdom. Remember to keep communication open with your kids. You should be a safe place to come if something negative does happen to them online. I never recommend spying on your children without their knowledge and I always recommend over communicating with them about the steps you are taking to keep them safe and what you expect from them while they use their connected devices. Be sure to download the PDF of our internet safety resource list!
Nanny2U has the rights to repost this blog post by BecauseFamily.