These days, there is an app for everything. For the most part, this is convenient. Everything you need is in one easy-to-find place: your phone. But as developers continue to create apps that cater to convenience, more dangers are lurking on kids’ smart devices.
It’s likely that your children already have a phone so you can reach them at all times and a tablet to keep them occupied, so it’s important that you monitor the apps they’re downloading, even the ones that seem harmless. Here are some popular apps that you may be using yourself but that could be harmful in the hands of kids.
Apps likes Best Secret Folder and Secret Calculator look normal (they hide behind typical icons like a utilities folder and calculator, respectively) but they allow kids to safely guard photos, videos and notes that they don’t want their parents to see. Both require passwords and both include systems that document intruders by snapping a photo. Best Secret Folder includes an optional feature that, when activated, will make you think you have cracked the code by playing fake videos. Secret Calculator users can activate a feature that erases all data in the app when attempts to log in have failed five times.
It is all too easy to use messaging apps recklessly. Kik and WhatsApp are free texting apps that allow users to message people directly without using a phone number. Sure, you can talk to friends and family while getting around data plans, but strangers can reach out via these apps, too. Kids may also see them as a way to send inappropriate messages away from parents’ prying eyes.
Not the Norm
Dating apps are a great way for adults to meet new people, but in the hands of teenagers, they can be harmful. Although some have age limits, it’s easy to create accounts using a different age and meet people who are much older that potentially don’t have the best of intentions. With MeetMe and Skout, users can connect with others based on their location, and they are encouraged to meet in person. On Bumble, a dating app that connects individuals with similar interests and requires the woman to reach out first, accounts are created using an individual’s Facebook account. This means that personal information that is set as private and is monitored by parents on Facebook is now available for strangers to see through Bumble.
It’s more important than ever to be aware of what your kids and teenagers are doing on their smartphones and to stay in the know about the dangers that could be lurking.