Parenting in this age of social media is not easy. We have to always be on guard and watchful, walking the fine line of protection your children and giving them a little bit of freedom. I don’t know about you, but my daughters are on their phones or tablets constantly and I get worried about the apps they’ve downloaded and use on a regular basis.
As much as possible, I friend my daughters and have them friend me back (on apps like instagram) so I know what pictures they share, how they talk on these sites etc but there are apps they use that I have no ideas about and I decided it was time to take a look to see what apps they shouldn’t be using.
Because my daughters are getting older, we’re at the point where ‘because I said no’ just doesn’t work. They need to understand why, the issues, my fears and I need to listen to them as well. Lately the issue of trust has come up when I talk about wanting to protect them. (lovely conversation btw but at least it’s a conversation).
In my searching for what apps my girls should NOT have on their devices (my children range from 12-16 yrs old so keep that in mind), these are the top 10 apps I feel as parents we need to be concerned about: (any parent and find these apps, do a search for apps kids should not use etc…there are a lot of sites out there to help us parents in this!)
- Skout: A flirting app where your child is placed in an ‘age appropriate’ category and can flirt with other users through posts and pictures they upload. Who’s to say the one flirting with your child isn’t an adult?
- Snapchat: Through this app, your child can send photos and videos to their friend list and then have the image delete after a length of time. Main issue for this app is that it’s used a lot for sexting and your child’s image may be used as porn photos.
- Secret: Speak Freely: It’s an app similar to Whisper, where people can voice their thoughts anonymously. They try to take precautions but they do require personal information and the language can be quite colorful.
- Whisper: A confession app where your identity may be a secret, but your location isn’t.
- Kik Messenger: Can we sexting made easy for kids?
- Yik Yak: Like Twitter but GPS tracking is involved.
- Omegle: Video chatting where strangers are paired – the main reason for the pairing is sexual in nature.
- BurnBook: Recent allegations say it exposes kids to cyber bullying – kids post anonymous about classmates (they can click on their school and write negative remarks about others in their school).
- After School: Allows kids to post anything they want about anyone they want – anonymously. Perfect set up for cyber-bullying.
- Chat Roulette: You never know who you’ll chat with – or see.
So what can you do? Talk to your child. Take their age into consideration. Be open with them, ask for their openness back.
Thank you for a great post. My children are the same ages as yours, and the things they can access online or on their phones are very scary. A couple of the apps on your list are new to me, but we’re always talking about these things as a family. I know in my community there have been instances of kids as young as third grade having “beauty contests” on Instagram and it can end in hurt feelings and bullying, especially because the kids are too young in many cases to know why it’s wrong. Thanks again.