This day and age there is an app for everything. While many apps are helpful to our lives, danger can arise when put into the wrong hands. Our children are engrossed in social media these days, and it is our duty to take an active part in protecting them. With so many available apps for kids, what we don’t know will hurt us. Here are some of the most popular you need to look out for.
Twitter is an online social networking service that lets users send and read short 140-character messages called “tweets.” Registered users can read and post tweets, but those who are unregistered can only read them. The problem with Twitter, like many other social media, is the danger of content that our children can be exposed to. Vines, the infamous 6-second video, was birthed from Twitter and is rated 17+, but children still have the ability to download it.
Instagram is a photo-sharing site and is owned by Facebook. The filters, collage options, and common connection through Facebook features are popular. With hashtags and people making connections, this app seems harmless. It’s rated 13+, and while tamer than other competitive apps, users like your children still have access to inappropriate content.
Snapchat is an app that allows users to send photos and videos that disappear from view within 10 seconds after they’re received. This app is rated 12+. While it offers hilarious features to animate your face or change your voice, many people use this app to send risqué photos and videos. They believe images cannot be saved and circulated, but users can screenshot pictures, thus making this app dangerous. Apps that allow any pic or video to self-destruct should be on a parent’s radar and up for discussion.
This app is used for high-speed texting with friends. The user’s profile photo shows up in a small bubble next to their text. Currently, the app is rated 17+; however, there are many users on Kik who are younger since there is no age verification needed to open an account. Kik allows your child to connect with a username, rather than using their phone number. This is where the danger lies. Often, children like to do things anonymously if they’re up to something. Reviews show that many people use Kik to meet strangers and for sexting. And in some cases, this app has been used for cyberbullying.
Musical.ly is an app used for creating 15-second music videos. The user selects snippets of popular songs, comedy skits, vines, and phrases used for recording themselves singing, lip-syncing or dancing. Users are encouraged to have a fan base and are able to post their videos on social media. They also have the ability to save their video to their camera so they can share with anyone at any time. Users on this app are called “musers,” and the goal of the app is to have a featured video. These kinds of videos get more likes and fans. Parents should know this app is rated “T” for teen. However, there are many young children currently using the app. The danger is in the very risky content they are exposed to; be careful if your 11-year-old begins lip-syncing to gangster rap, thinking it’s funny.
So, what can parents do? Being informed is key. Creating boundaries with your children and limiting their time on social media is a great step to take. Educating your children on the dangers of these apps and disciplining them if and when they are used inappropriately is another step toward safety. Talking to your friends and family to inform them about the dangers of the app is another way to increase internet safety. Don’t allow your child to download anything without your permission. These apps can lead your children to pornography, stalkers, drug abuse, explicit language, and unsafe people. Take precaution and monitor your child on these sites. As a parent, you have the right to keep your children safe!