As promised, I’ve been reading up on social media apps that are opening up the doors for kids to meet with potential preditors. I do understand that if we limit our kids from the social content, we can protect them. I also understand that where there’s a will, there’s a way. We all can sit here and say, “not my kid, I keep control over their access to the internet”, but do you really? Do you see what they are doing at their friend’s houses? How about at school? If they have smartphones, did you know that the parental settings DON’T prevent ALL of the apps from being blocked? Did you also know that some apps that appear to be completely harmless, and non-social media, are actually hubs for social media?
So you can make decisions to permanently prevent your kids from getting into any of these sites/apps, that I think is in many ways impossible to completely prevent, or you can find ways to educate yourself AND your children of the dangers behind these medias.
To list all of these apps is virtually impossible. There are just too many to be able to list, considering that there is a new one everyday. I’m going to list the ones that I’ve been made aware of, from personal research, experience, or from my daughter and her friends usage. I will add the descriptions, and websites if i can, as I can. I will, at the very least, include the names of the apps I discover. As new ones appear that I see, I will add them. Please feel free to comment with any that you know of.
I know that this list provides a list that kids can use to find these, but if they were already looking, they will find it, with or without this list. I’m not the only one out there writing about this, so I refuse to feel bad about providing the list.
There’s the obvious, but what I’m starting to see the lesser of the evils:
Facebook and Twitter
Kids seem to be less interested in these two. They’re old and parents can see what they’re up to, for the most part.
Snapchat- This app confuses me in so many ways. Kids think that these 10 second blurbs of pics are forever erased from the internet once they’ve been seen by their friends. I understand the draw to it, but also find its existence to be a minor irritation. We can’t go out anywhere without the kids wanting to check in their location with a snap chat to their friends. This means, we go to eat, so shopping, get coffee, see a movie….it ALL seems to require the world to know what we are doing. I’d probably understand this more if I was either 13, or in the need for constant approval of my every doings. The pictures range in appropriateness, and kids think that there is no long term consequence to the pictures that they post. I’ve seen some pretty explicit pictures that these kids think no one can see. Then there’s the option to screen shot the picture, making it anyone’s game as to who gets to see it.
Ask.fm- This app, and website, seems innocent enough. Its a portal for kids ages 13 and up to feel free to as any question anonymously that they don’t feel confident or comfortable asking in other circumstances. This is also a site that allows kids to share their other media names and connect elsewhere if they choose. The site has an entire FAQ section for parents, to reassure us that it is a safe environment for kids to feel safe to ask questions without their identity being compromised. What it neglects to state, is that the kids can share their identity or other forms of contact if they chose to. What the site also says is that the parents don’t have the right to the kids profile unless the log in information is known. They also do NOT have the right to request that the site admins remove the child’s profile, since they want the child to feel it is a safe place. Apparently the kid’s have more rights here than the parents. NOT my favorite thing to learn considering most kids, if not all, are social idiots. We all are….at least until we are over 25. Even then its questionable. Kids are NOT equipped with the ability to decide what’s safe or appropriate. That’s why we are the parents and are ultimately responsible for them. Here’s the link to their site’s FAQ~ http://ask.fm/about/safety/faq
Tango- Here is another app, that is similar to skype, but it also helps you connect with friends and new people. This is not really something that I’d want my kid on. It freely allows her to meet people who have no business being in her world if they are not friends from school. The basis of it seems good, but the idea that my child can text, talk and video chat with anyone out there that I don’t know scares me. It allows kids to have a whole phone/video/text access without the parent’s knowledge. There is no way to see the history, such as the bills, to see who they are communicating with. Link to their site: http://www.tango.me/features
Hangouts- This is an instant messaging and video chat platform deceloped by google. This can allow kids to have chats under their parents radar as well. It can use the google plus, google talk, which generates a google number for the user to use, so having a phone isn’t entirely necessary. They can use this with an ipod or ipad device and wifi.
The Game by Hot or Not-
I am Awesome-
Echofon for Twitter-
Finding new friends-
References (If not posted with content)-