Ever wonder which apps are okay for your teenager and which apps are not okay? Did you know that there are hidden apps that your kids could sneak past you?

Dangerous Apps

What apps are okay for my tweens and teens is something I discuss on a regular basis with other parents I know. That’s why I found this info from TeenSafe so interesting. I was not familiar with all of these apps and chances are you are not either

 

Top 5 Dangerous Apps and why every parent should be on the lookout. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Snapchat: One of the most popular apps for sexting among teens. Sexts can be saved even though they are supposed to disappear.
  • Kik Messenger:  Tweens and teens also Kik to send sexts. Predators can contact your child via Kik and send unsolicited sexts.
  • Tinder: No age verification means your child could be “matched with adults on this popular dating app. Tinder has had security breaches that exposed user data and location.
  • Blendr: There are no age requirements for this dating app, allowing adults to contact children. GPS features can reveal the location of your child to diligent predators.
  • Down: Lets a user sort Facebook friends they are “down” to hook up with. It perpetuates “hookup” culture among young teens.

Top 5 Dangerous Apps for Teens

Internet Safety for Teenagers and Tweens

Talk to your kids about cyber-bullying.

  • Explain to them what it means.
  • Explain to them that they need to talk to you if they are upset over a comment or a picture that has been posted.
  • If you feel it was inappropriate, call the other kid’s parent or speak with the school.
  • This is a serious issue facing today’s kids and you must get involved if the situation arises.
Explain that tone cannot be read over a written comment on the internet and to keep this in mind when reading comments other kids have made.
  • Their friend could be making a joke, but it could come across wrong and hurt your child’s feelings.
  • Your child could be trying to make a joke on their friend’s photo or update it could come across wrong.

Cell Phones

Turn off location settings inside apps.

All smartphones run apps that can share locations and so much more. Apps that share your location with friends and family can be handy, but make sure only the right people can see where you are.

Share with care.

Whether posting vacation photos on Instagram, sending summer camp pictures on Snapchat, it’s important to think about what they are sharing, and with whom.

  • Never share passwords – even with your friends.
  • Do not share everything – you never know who might see your photo or how it could affect you in the future. Even people you consider friends can use the information you share online against you.

Teach Them Good Password Habits

With the number of activities kids do online these days and the increasing number of security breaches impacting personal information, it’s never too early to instill in them a healthy approach to password security. The best passwords are very long, and a great way to remember long passwords is to come up with strings of words including symbols and numbers to create a “passphrase”. Every app and website you use should have a different password so that a security issue on one site won’t jeopardize the security of your other accounts.

Social Media

Social media can make kids feel extremely left out. It is important for your kids to understand that social media is not a real representation of anyone’s life.

Instagram

Instagram is a wildly popular photo-sharing app.

  • If your child is on Instagram then you need to be on it as well.
  • Have your child set their account to private. Setting the account to private allows only those they are friends with to see their photos.

Set rules:

  1.  Only friend people you know personally.
  2.  Only accept friend requests from people you actually know.
  3.  Think about what you are posting before you actually post. Will this embarrass you or someone you know?
  4.  You may only spend 20 minutes a day on Instagram.
  • Check-in at least once a day to see what your child has posted and read through the comments left by others on their photos.
  • If someone leaves an inappropriate comment show your child how to block that person and delete the comment.

SnapChat

The main thing to know about SnapChat is that unlike the popular belief that the snaps disappear, others can absolutely save them or screenshot them. The other thing that is important for parents to know about SnapChat is your child can create a secret file within the app where they can save whatever they want. This folder is password protected with in the app. 

Consider a family ‘tech agreement’

If you want to take things one step further consider creating an agreement with your children. This is a solid way to set ground rules with your child is to create a Family Tech Agreement. A family tech agreement answers as many questions as possible about internet and device use so boundaries are clear to all family members. It’s a good way for the whole family to talk about safe and responsible online behaviours.

To create a family agreement, discuss topics like:

  • What apps, games, or sites does the family use most?
  • What rules do we want to include in our agreement?
  • How long should we spend on our devices?
  • What information is safe to share (or not)?
  • What do we do if we see something inappropriate?
  • What email address do we use to sign up for accounts?
  • Do we know how to use in-app safety features like blocking and reporting?
  • Who can we talk to if we feel uncomfortable with something online?
  • Who is safe to talk to?
  • What happens when someone breaks the agreement?
  • When might parents be forced to break the agreement for safety?

This is a starting point: your family may discuss more topics on internet safety for kids depending on the ages of your child or teens and what devices you use.

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