“The rise of sexting, bullying, prostitution, and drug use are taking place over third party mobile apps.” — Sedgrid Lewis
Our children can be tweens or teens, younger than that or older, and they will always be our kids. Ensuring their safety is our top priority, regardless their age. According to a recent study by the PewResearch Internet Project, “95% of teens are online, and increasingly their phones are affording them with always-on, mobile access to the internet — in some cases, serving as their primary point of access.” Smartphones and the apps children love to download can create a dangerous combination that we need to be aware of as parents. Other recent surveys indicate that our children now average 7 hours and 38 minutes a day plugged into media – mostly on their cellphones. I know that my daughter rarely strays from her phone, but I would never guess that she spends the equivalent of an average workday, or school day for her, connected to her phone.Advertising
How Safe Is Teen Cellphone Use?
To keep our kids safe, we need to monitor the apps children love to use. Kristin Peaks a Sr. Digital & Social Media Specialist at Cook Children’s tells us that, “I have learned so much about the dangers of Smart Phone Apps. It’s downright scary.” The list below includes the 7 of the hottest apps children love to use today, and why you should monitor them.
Whisper advertises itself as the best place to express yourself online, connect with like minded individuals, and discover the unseen world around you. Over 70% of whisper users are women under the age of 25, and the app provides freedom for young users to share raw feelings and emotions anonymously in their geographic area. Why You Should Monitor It: Teens are able to share things with complete strangers that they might never feel comfortable sharing with their friends, let alone their parents. This app has been used for cyberbullying, and by pedophiles to establish relationships with girls as young as 12 years old.Advertising
Kik Messenger is a free alternative texting service that allows users to send videos, texts, and pictures to over 180 million other users. Why You Should Monitor It: This app bypasses your wireless providers’ short message services (SMS) allowing your teen to “sext” without any parental controls. This has become so common that the the term sex buddy has been replaced with Kik Buddy. Additionally, there is no way of authenticating users, making it easy for pedophiles to use this messenger.
Snapchat provides a fast and easy way to take photos, add a caption, and send it to a friend. The photo “self destructs” 10 seconds after it is opened by the recipient. Why You Should Monitor It: Snapchat is the number one sexting app on the market. This app gives teens a false sense of security when sending sexually inappropriate photos because of the self destruct feature. The truth is, nothing sent over the internet ever disappears. There are always ways to retrieve and capture those images. There have also been numerous cases of cyberbullying with this app.Advertising
Tinder claims to be a fun way to connect with new and interesting people around you. When a mutual match is made by a simple swipe of the finger, your teen can immediately share messages and photos with strangers. Why You Should Monitor It: This app is primarily used for “hooking up.” Once your teen makes a mutual match with another user, the next step is to meet in person. Monitor this app if you do not want your teen meeting random strangers online.Advertising
The tagline for this app is, “Talk To Strangers,” and it does just that – it allows your teen to video chat with random strangers. Why You Should Monitor It: Omegle is filled with people searching for sexual chat. Since the chats are anonymous, they’re often much more explicit than those with a user who can be identified might be.
This app provides the user with a way to get “down” with friends and nearby strangers. After linking this app with their Facebook account, users can decide which ones that they want to “hook up” with. Why You Should Monitor It: This app used to be called “Bang with Friends,” and is connected to your teens Facebook account. The slogan for the app: “The anonymous, simple, fun way to find friends who are down for the night.” If that alone doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will!Advertising
Vine allows users to create short, six second, looping videos and share them with their friends and family to see. Why You Should Monitor It: While many of the videos are harmless, but inappropriate videos can pop up in your teens feed, exposing them to sexually explicit material. Predators have been using this app to search for teens by location, and connect with them through other messaging apps. If you are concerned with your teen’s online safety, you need to monitor the apps children love to use. With new apps being created every day, this is not a one-time activity but a continuous process. Children and Technology: How To Be A Cool, In-Control Parent is a great resource to learn keep your children safe online. When comes to our children it is always better to be safe than sorry, take the time to monitor the apps children love.
Featured photo credit: two boys and a teenage girl sitting outside with phones via shutterstock.com
Last Updated on January 27, 2022
Misplaced Your Items? Get This Search Party
We’ve all experienced that panicked moment, just as we leave the house, when we realise we can’t find our car keys, wallet, phone or house keys. Your mind starts racing to when you last had it and it’s a mad dash to try and locate where the item might be.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way of eliminating that feeling of misplacing your things?
The Answer to Never Losing Your Items Again
Tile is a clever and convenient way of locating your lost items using an app on your phone. Place your Tile on any item important to you or things you’re most likely to lose and your phone will use Bluetooth up to 100ft away from the lost item to locate it.
Lost your phone? All you need to do is double press one of your Tiles to make it ring – even when you’ve left it on silent.
The ‘Last Place Seen’ Feature to Help Locate Your Left Item
The phone app will always track where each of your Tile’s is within the 100 ft Bluetooth radius and logs it into a map. This helps you retrace your steps and makes it more likely to locate the item again limiting the worry and increasing peace of mind in your quest to get it back again.
Includes a ‘Search Party’ Community Feature to Increase Your Chances of Finding Your Lost Item
Everyone who buys a Tile and installs the app, instantly becomes part of the search party community. When someone walks by your lost item with the app on their phone, it will immediately ping a message to your phone with the item’s location. This is particularly useful if you haven’t necessarily realised your item is even missing and allows you to reunite with it more quickly.
What Do Tile Users Think of the Product?
Read any review from a Tile user and you’ll find a happy-ending story in it. From finding their wallet to locating a stolen motorbike, Tile has managed to help thousands of people reunite with their lost items.
Here’s one story from Paul who lost his wallet while about to board a plane on the way back from a business trip:
“I travel for work quite a bit. Today was no different, as I traveled to San Francisco for a work meeting and was on my way back home. Upon arriving at SFO, I climbed out of a Lyft, grabbed my laptop bag and suitcase, and headed into the security checkpoint. Unbeknownst to me, my wallet had fallen out somewhere along the way.
I proceeded to security and it wasn’t until then that I realized what had happened. Right away I pulled up my Tile app. Nothing registered (it was a long walk to security), so I traced my steps backward. As I was doing this with my Tile app open, I passed the airline ticketing counters. Suddenly, the tile app showed I was in range.
Hoping against hope, I approached counter after counter, asking if a wallet had been turned in. All answered with a resounding, ‘no.’ Feeling a bit defeated, I pressed the button to activate the chime. Airports are noisy places so I couldn’t hear it, but one of the individuals behind the ticketing counter did. Sure enough, two stations over from her was my wallet, dropped in a nondescript box behind the counter.
Not only was it the app and bluetooth that helped me know it was close, it was the chime that helped us find it. Best of all, my wallet had $400 cash in it. Everything was in my wallet, untouched, including the cash.”
Why You Should Purchase a Tile and Where Can You Find It?
This product will:
- Ring the Tile attached to what you’re trying to find
- Ring your phone even when it’s on silent
- Locate the last place your lost item was seen
- Allow other Tile users to automatically help locate your item and ping the location to your phone
- Comes in a sleek and discrete design that can attach to any item easily
But don’t restrict it to wallets and keys, if you have a pet that’s prone to wandering why not attach one to its collar or slip it in your child’s pocket for extra peace of mind?
Whatever you use it for, you’re guaranteed to never worry about losing your items again!