“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!
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 October 16, 2019
11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity
Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.
Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.
Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.
In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.
ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.
ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.
ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.
Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.
Available on Web
Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.
You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.
For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.
From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.
While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.
Available on Web
Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.
It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.
Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.
At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.
Available on Web
For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.
This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.
Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.
Available on Web
is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.
They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.
Available on Web
Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.
It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.
You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.
While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.
WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.
Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.
Available on Web
Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.
Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.
Available on Web
Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.
NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.
While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.
Available on Web
Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers
In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.
To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”
Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.
A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.
Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.
If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.
Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.
With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.
The Bottom Line
Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.
Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.
Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.
Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com