For parents that haven’t yet added some sort of parental controls to their child’s smartphones, tablets, and devices, now is the time. Getting hip to what’s cool in the kid world is another step you’ll want to take along with that, but often, despite our best efforts, we can fall behind.
What’s most uncool of all though is not knowing the dangers of some of the social media apps your kids are turning to. Not all things appear sinister and not all children use social media apps for wrongdoing. It’s up to us as parents to protect them at all costs.
Check out your kids’ apps and make sure they’re appropriate and being used appropriately. For example, even simple texting through their phone could lead to sexting, something you should have your eye on.
For others though, it might not be so obvious. Here are some you may not know that need to be on your radar.
1Kik Messenger This free texting app won’t charge you anything on your phone bill unless they’re using data. The problem with Kik is that there is a huge potential for strangers to contact your child. Brands can also reach out to your kids and influence them.
2Instagram You probably use Instagram yourself, but there are problems waiting to happen if you’re not supervising your kid’s Instagram. That doesn’t mean “following” them either. The direct chat feature allows you to send photos that are never publicized, meaning they could be sharing inappropriate content with others. Teens are also very sensitive to earning “likes.” Keep an eye on these issues and an open dialog with your child.
3Tumblr No good can come from Tumblr for your kids. It contains lots of pornographic images and other questionable content, plus there isn’t much privacy, meaning anyone can contact them. It’s best to encourage your child to use something else.
4Houseparty This group video chat seems fun and innocent when the group consists of your child’s friends. However, someone that isn’t a friend can join the chat, making this a recipe for danger. Screenshots can also be taken during these chats and that has the potential to do a lot of damage for your child. With no moderator to oversee things, this is a dangerous app your child shouldn’t use.
5YouNow Perhaps even more dangerous, this app consists of live video feeds where your child may accidentally give out personal information that a predator can use to come to your home. Intimate moments like sleeping can also be shared with strangers, another reason to ban it from their phone immediately.
6The World of Self-Destructing, Secret Apps and Dating AppsFor any child under the age of 18, those secret apps or ones that self-destruct should never be permitted. Snapchat claims videos disappear but that’s not the case. It can be captured via screenshot. If your child sends questionable images to someone, they may be preserved in infamy. Dating apps or apps to meet strangers should never be allowed either. Kids are too trusting and the person they’re communicating with might not be a hunky teenage boy or a gorgeous cheerleader, but rather, a dangerous sex offender or someone involved in child trafficking.
The bottom line is this: when you allow your children to use devices, with it comes social media, You must regulate that usage and be involved in it, as well as involved in their lives to protect them and show them responsible usage.