5 Alarming Apps That Your Teenager Is Most Probably Using

In this technologically advanced world, we understand that almost everyone has a cell phone by now. It isn’t uncommon in our era for children that haven’t even made it into middle school yet to be seen thumbing it up on their iPhones.

But, with all of the apps available for kids, with little to no parental consent required, what, exactly, are our children downloading? We have compiled a list of what we have found to be the top scariest applications available (for free) out in the digital world today.

SNAPCHAT

Although the app’s website states that “Snapchat is intended for use by people who are 18 years of age or older, and persons under the age of 18 are prohibited from creating Snapchat accounts”, a whopping 50% of Snapchat users are between the ages of 13-17.

Through the app, sent photographs and videos have a timer on them placed by the sender, which once expires allows the picture to disappear “forever”. Unless, that is, the receiver quickly takes a screenshot. In this case, the photo can be kept and distributed to whomever, leading to a variety of negative consequences, including bullying and shame.

Additionally, over the year Snapshot has been on the receiving end of several highly risky data breaches. The latest Snapchat breach compromised the photos of thousands of underage users. Basically, Snapchat and kids = bad mixture.

INSTAGRAM

Everyone loves Instagram. It is the second most downloaded app, with only Facebook beating it out. Its a wonderful sharing tool for all your pictures from the beach, or what you are having for lunch. Instagram is a neat way to quickly send a photo to friends to wordlessly say how your day is going with a picture of a quote, your fabulous shoes, etc.

We didn’t personally see too much of an issue with a tween or responsible teenager having an IG account, but that was before they went and added DM. “DM” stands for “Direct Message,” and this handy new feature means that one may snap a picture and send it, privately, to anyone they wish. This could be a prime place for kids and teens to sext.

Instagram also has a location geotagging feature and allows for teens to choose whether or not they want to make their profiles public or private. Although these features can be set to private and disabled, teens can enable these settings whenever they want to.

TUMBLR

Tumblr is another app and social network that seems so innocent and sweet until you look into it. Pornography is so easily found on its pages that it’s ridiculous. Pictures of scantily clad or naked people are available through the search option.

The popular blogging site is also host to a multitude of blogs that encourage unhealthy body images among young teens. “Thinspiration” and “Tinspo” blogs encourage girls to idolize eating disorders and become “inspired” to become excessively thin. These despicable blogs are rampant and easily accessible on Tumblr.

BADOO

A quick search of BADOO online and you will see that their website, simply says “Badoo – chat, date and meet with over 223 million people. Join our community and make friends in your area.” Umm, what? That is all fine and well, if you are a mature adult seeking companionship from another mature adult, but a swipe through the application itself shows pictures of persons very apparently NOT over the age of eighteen years old. In this world that we live in, that is no risk anyone should be willing to take.

The sign up is all too easy, and, as with all the apps mentioned in this article, there are no parental requests for age verification. It bothers one to think of all of the potential harm that could arise from the use of a dating app like this one. Our advice on this one is if you see it on your child’s phone: delete, delete, DELETE!

KIK MESSENGER

KIK is yet another messaging app. Anyone can download it for free and send messages to anyone else that has kik on their device. The only positive is that you don’t have to give out a telephone number, just a screen name, but it still screams “bad idea” to us. Can you guess why? Yep. Because you can send pictures, privately.

The photographs sent and received on this application have a similar feature to the timer on Snapchat. You can send a “bomb” with your picture so that it self destructs within seconds of being opened, but, there again, a quick shot of the screen and someone has it on their device to do with it what they will. Advice on Kik Messenger? Goodbye! Not a great choice for the younger generation.

The bottom line where popular apps and your children are concerned is safety, maturity, and responsibility. It is always the sole discretion of the parent or guardian of a young person to make these choices, but we feel strongly that these applications should not be used for persons under the age of eighteen.

If you make the decision to allow your youngster to use one or more of these apps, please, please speak with them about the dire importance of keeping their location private. The detail of their cause and effects of sending personal pictures and revealing private information.

Cyberbullying and Tweens

What to Do When Your Child Is the Bully.

No parent wants to imagine their child as a bully, but the sad fact is that it happens sometimes. When you first find out it’s your tween doing the bullying, it can be a bit devastating. Upon learning something like this, parents must take a few minutes to gather their thoughts and create a plan of action to help the offender see the error of their ways.

It’s important to realize that being a bully doesn’t make your child a bad person or you a bad parent. However, cyberbullying is serious and something that you must deal with immediately. Don’t ignore the problem and hope it will go away on its own because things normally get worse without intervention.

Talk to your child about the situation, but be calm when you do and don’t let your emotions get the better of you. It’s important to focus all of your attention on your child, not on your own anger or disappointment. It’s imperative to learn what is going on in your’d kid’s mind and determine what is motivating them to be a bully. Understanding why it’s happening will help you find ways to deal with the problem.

What to Do When Your Tween Is a Cyberbully

After learning all you can about the reasons behind your child’s actions, below are some ways you can react upon discovering that your tween is cyber bullying:

  • Tell them this type of behavior is not acceptable and that it must stop immediately.
  • Never just say, “Stop doing it!” and leave it at that. Your tween needs more information and support to make a change and understand why they must stop.
  • Explain to your child that they will have to face the consequences of their actions.
  • Find out the legal ramifications for bullying and explain these to your child. Let them know what will happen if they are reported to the school officials and/or to the local law enforcement.
  • Monitor your tween’s Internet activity carefully and if they have a Smartphone, monitor it too.
  • If you’re not computer literate, learn all you can about this type of technology. The more you know, the better you can keep tabs on your child to make sure they’re not causing trouble or being compromised by digital dangers.

Dealing with cyberbullying and tweens is a delicate situation that should be handled carefully. It’s important for you to help your child understand that this is a serious problem and that this type of behavior is unacceptable.

Let your tween know that you don’t agree with their actions regardless of the reason for it and then take steps to educate them on how to change. Remember: this is a difficult time for your tween and you may need to eventually consider seeking counseling for your child. A professional may be able to reach your tween and help in ways that you cannot on your own.

Privacy Settings

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Check Privacy Settings Frequently

I have so many conversations with parents about privacy settings.  There really is a lack of education when it comes to this topic.  I see so many Facebook profiles that are open for child and I am able to tell you where they live and other family members location.  We certainly wouldn’t let our children roam around the countryside on their own or tell anyone where we are going.  The scariest bit is that people check into places in the world to view.  Unfortunately, there are criminals out there just watching and waiting for someone to check in and off they go to their house and rob them.

A friend of mine had their bike stolen a few weeks ago, from their garage while on holiday. The strange thing is there were another 4 bikes in the same place, but they didn’t want them, only the valuable road bike.  I know this is something I keep going on about, but privacy settings are so important for all apps not just Facebook.  Think about what you are putting out there.  Be Savvy

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