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9 Apps And Websites Parents Should Know to Protect Their Kids’ Online Security

9 Apps And Websites Parents Should Know to Protect Their Kids’ Online Security

As a parent, you are concerned about the safety and well-being of your children. In this day and age, the accessibility to dangerous social media platforms makes it difficult to protect your kids’ online security. No-one wants to put their child in the way of danger, however, especially to those less tech-savvy parents, it is difficult to keep up with the amount of dangerous apps and websites that are popping up recently.

To those parents educated in the usage of social media, this is simply a reminder, however to those parents who are not well acquainted with social media, take this as a warning.

Here is a list of apps and websites every parent should know to ensure their child remains safe online:

1.) Instagram

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    A 2014 survey conducted across 41 States in America concluded that the photo-sharing network, Instagram is now the most popular social media network among 7,200 US teenagers.

    It is important to note that the minimum age of sign up is 13; therefore it is already clear that any child under this age is not suitable for an Instagram account. Upon signing up the default profile visibility is set to public. This means that any picture uploaded to the app can be seen by anyone. This can open up young children to the risk of paedophilia, cyber bullying and stalking.

    For parents who allow their children on Instagram, here are a few handy hints to make sure your child stays safe:

    • Turn their profile visibility to private. This way, only their approved followers can view their photos.
    • Make sure your children are aware of blocking users and reporting images. If your child comes across inappropriate material, they can easily block whoever was uploading the material. Be sure they report the particular photo/s as well.

    2.) Snapchat

    Snapchat_Logo.jpg
      Photo: nypost.com

      Similar to Instagram, Snapchat is a photo/video-sharing based social media platform. It involves taking a ‘snap’ and sending it to various people on your friends list. The receiver of the image/video can view it for a set amount of time (e.g. 10 seconds) before it disappears, thus the main appeal of Snapchat.

      This app also holds a 12+ age rating. The main danger of this app is that sometimes the ‘snap’ does not always completely disappear. Inappropriate use of the app can lead to harassment and bullying.

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      Snapchat published a parents’ guide which provides information on safe use of the app, but here are some the basic things a parent should know:

      • Configure Snapchat to only accept messages from users on your “My Friends” list. The last thing you want is your child receiving inappropriate and/or explicit images from a stranger.
      • Don’t expect your snaps to fully disappear. The ‘snapshot’ feature allows the receiver to save the photo to their phone. A warning message is sent to the sender; however that snap is now saved onto someone’s phone. Don’t take snaps you will regret sending later.

      3.) Tinder

      o-TINDER-APP-facebook

        Tinder is first and foremost, a dating app or a hook-up site. Therefore it is questionable as to why children 13 years old (and sometimes under, if the account holds a false age), and most importantly a minor, should be allowed to have it.

        This app locates ‘singles’ near your location. An image of a ‘single’ is shown and if you find them attractive, you ‘swipe right’. If they ‘swipe right’ to you as well, then you can message them.

        There are a number of problems this app can cause from use by children:

        First of all, it puts emphasis on the belief that they need to be physically attractive to be desired, which promotes unhealthy obsessions with appearance. It also opens them up to the dangers of meeting potentially dangerous strangers online and eventually in person.

        As a parent, you can protect your child by:

        • Emphasising the importance of ‘stranger danger’: Make sure they are wary and aware that people are not the same online as they are in person.
        • Wait until they are older: If possible, do not allow them to use the app until they are at least 16.

        4.) Kik Messenger

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          This free app is rated for people aged 17 and over, however it has been reported that its main users are actually aged 11-15.

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          Due to the fact that Kik is not too well-known among adults, it appeals to kinds and younger teens. Cyber safety consultant Martine Oglethorpe told the Sydney Morning Herald:

          ”Kids are moving away from open Facebook updates because they know their parents are watching them, and they’re moving on to Kik.”

          The use of fake names (usernames) also makes it harder to monitor their activity. However this app also draws in paedophiles and drug dealers who can communicate with and influence these children.

          If your child is insistent on using the app, then you can try these alternatives:

          • Don’t be the oblivious parent. Educate yourselves about the social media your children and other children use.
          • Set boundaries. Make sure you come to an agreement about how the app is used, e.g. no inappropriate or explicit messaging especially when it comes to strangers.
          • Educate them about strangers. Don’t let them meet up with strangers. That should be the most important aspect of all.

          5.) Yik Yak

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            This app is free to use, requires no registration and allows total anonymity. Yik Yak connects up to 500 nearby user to an anonymous chat room. The lack of registration allows users of any age to use the app, making it popular among younger teens regardless of the 17+ age recommendation. According to Yik Yak co-founder Brooks Buffington,

            “The app was made for college-age users or above, for college campuses and to act as a virtual bulletin board, so it acts as local Twitter for their campus.”

            It is easy to realize therefore that the app can be easily misused by younger people.

            The biggest problem regarding this app is the case of cyberbullying. The anonymity of users makes it impossible to trace the writer of offensive content and it can be distributed over a wide array of viewers. Used irresponsibly, this can cause major problems with rumors and inappropriate online behavior.

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            Important factors that parents should take into consideration include:

            • Letting them know that bullying anyone is not okay: no one likes a bully, and it will come back to them in one way or another
            • If they’re being bullied, make sure they let someone know: if you’re the victim, it might be best to stay away from the app and seek help.

            6.) Ask.FM

            Ask.fm_Logo

              Ask.fm is a popular question-and-answer website and app popular among young teenagers due to the basis of anonymity. The website’s terms of service places the age restriction to 13 years of age. The website’s most prominent audience ranges from the ages of 13-25, with 50% of registered users under the age of 18. This particular site has featured prominently in the media for being linked to a handful of suicides involving young teenagers. While the questions are posted anonymously, the actual user asked the questions cannot increase privacy settings. Again, this opens up a platform for extreme bullying and harassment by people who are impossible to track.

              For parents with children who use this site, you might want to:

              • Communicate with your child/teen: ensure they are safe on the site and are not experiencing harassment.
              • Don’t let them continue if it gets too bad: if the bullying increases, simply remove them from the site. It would solve a lot of issues.

              7.) Chatroulette

              chatroulettemoose

                The first thing parents need to know about Chatroulette is that it has been dubbed a “predator’s paradise”. User must be at least 16 years old and have to agree not to broadcast explicit material; however any of these barriers can be by-passed by fake accounts and can expose young children to child molesters.

                The site works by allowing the user to randomly chat with individuals as they appear on the screen. The communication can be through text, audio, and/or video. This site is renowned for widespread inappropriate sexual behavior and can be mentally and emotionally scarring for children.

                As a parent:

                • Be aware of your child’s internet activity: if you are aware that your child is using the site, especially under-aged, you might want to have a serious conversation about it.
                • Warn them of the dangers of webcam: you really don’t want to scar your child for life, so make they know the dangerous consequences of chatting to strangers on a webcam.

                8.) 4chan

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                  4chan is an anonymous image message board notorious for its controversial content. It is known to contain posts that can be described as vulgar, stupid and occasionally dangerous. Trends and ideas are quickly spread through users of the site that then incorporate this knowledge into day-to-day life.

                  A more recent example includes the ‘bikini bridge’ trend, which puts a large amount of pressure on health-consciousness and body-image issues.  At the most impressionable adolescent age, it is impractical to think that your child will know well enough to be wary of internet traps.

                  It also opens up a platform for negative thoughts and actions. This has implications for the development of depression and even suicide.

                  It is important for parents to remember that:

                  • These sites are not suitable for children: remember the types of content this page displays. You do not want to be exposing your child to explicit material.
                  • Observe your child: if they begin displaying worrisome behavior picked up from online trends, make sure you talk to them about being reasonable.

                  9.) Omegle

                  omegle2

                    This chatting site identifies you as simple “You” and the stranger you are talking to as simply “Stranger”. This anonymous chat can take place as either a text or video conversation. If that doesn’t ring enough warning bells, being anonymous does not stop users from sharing name, age and location through the actual message.

                    Users of Omegle must be over 13 with parental consent until the age of 18; however it is not likely that teenagers will actually ask their parents for permission.

                    Once again, this opens up the potential for stranger danger.

                    Parents of children who use Omegle please be aware:

                    • Internet predators are tricky: you do not want your child drawn in by internet predators, so don’t allow your children to meet up with stranger unaccompanied, no matter what the circumstances are.
                    • It is dangerous to share private information: you don’t want creeps showing breaking into your house in the middle of the night because your child has given their address. Private information is very valuable, and they should know when and when not to share it.

                    Featured photo credit: forbes.com via blogs-images.forbes.com

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                    Elizabeth Andal

                    Elizabeth is a passionate writer who shares about lifestyle tips and lessons learned in life on Lifehack.

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                    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

                    10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

                    10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

                    Productivity is the ability to perform tasks efficiently and in a timely manner. In today’s busy and competitive business world, productivity is paramount for any business, organization or corporation.

                    Productivity is more than just performing tasks successfully. It is about investing and allocating resources, so the company or business can perform to meet its core goals.

                    As part of 2019, it is important to commit to new goals. When shopping around for new productivity software keep in mind the following things: cost, reliability, cross-platform compatibility, on the go, technical support, etc.

                    In the subsequent sections, we will examine the most recommended productivity software in the marketplace. In addition, we will look at what makes them tick and what separates them from the rest of the pack.

                    Projects and Tasks Management

                    1. Monday dot com

                      Monday dot com was founded to create a team management solution so people connect to workplace processes across any industry. The productivity tool is used in more than 140 countries.

                      The user interface is intuitive and impressive. It makes collaboration productive and fun because of its simplicity.

                      The tool is deemed to have one of the best user experiences across the mobile and online project and task management platform.

                      The product includes usability, customization, admin control, group management and control, private or public control, in-group messaging and more.

                      Check out the software here!

                      2. Asana

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                        The mantra behind Asana’s product is to enable teams from across different organizations to work together effortlessly.

                        The software comes with lots of customizations. When you create a project as a user, you can choose between a traditional task view and the kanban-style board view. The dashboard allows you to see the progress on a project, and it includes an excellent advanced set of search tools.

                        Also, Asana’s Android and iOS apps do retain the web interface’s clean look and feel.

                        Check out the software here!

                        3. Trello

                          Trello was founded in the summer of 2010 and two years later the platform added 500,000 members. Anyone within sales, marketing, HR and operations can collaborate successfully with this product.

                          Moreover, the tool has over 100 plus integrations with Google Drive, Slack, Jira and others. The product works flawlessly across various platforms.

                          Some of the well-known features includes is speed, easy-to-use, and set up. The interface includes due dates, assignments, file storage, checklists and more.

                          Check out the software here!

                          4. Jira

                            The Jira software is flexible and heralded as the next-generation project.

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                            The software allows teams to design and adapt the software to an organization’s needs. This includes having visibility into long term goals, project roadmaps, status of work, real-time release information and more. In addition, the interface is customizable.

                            The Atlassian Cloud does not support multiple separate domains, subdomains or domain aliases in Google Apps.

                            Check out the software here!

                            5. Evernote Business

                              Evernote was founded in 2008 and reached 11 million users by 2011. The company was founded on the premise that their product should address the ever-increasing volume and speed of information.

                              The product helps bring together groups of teams because of versatility and functionality. It creates documents, collaboration on projects, store information all a single location.

                              Moreover, you can find information quickly and includes effective search capabilities and integrations with existing tools you may already use.

                              Check out the software here!

                              Communication

                              6. Slack

                                Slack was founded in 2013 and the tool is heralded as a collaboration hub. Slack is where productivity happens. When you start a new project, hire new staff, deploy a code, review a sales contract, finalize on a budget, Slack covers all of these. Some of the major highlights include highly customizable notifications and seamless integrations with other collaboration and office tools. The free version of the software comes loaded with features, but does not archive old message. So, you have to review what are the best options for your organization or business.

                                Check out the software here!

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                                7. Spike

                                  Newcomer Spike makes emails more conversational by helping teams maintain productivity, communication, and collaboration. All of these are achieved from within their inbox.

                                  Spike works on top of any existing email (O365, G suite, and IMAP) turning it into a real-time messenger and making your communication much more functional and efficient.

                                  Spike’s features include built-in groups and channels, voice and video calls, email encryption, instant access to all your files, and much more.

                                  Check out the software here!

                                  Creation

                                  8. Office 365

                                    Microsoft’s Office 365 could not be excluded from the conversation and especially as it pertains to productivity software.

                                    Of course we are all familiar with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. But there is more capabilities that come with it.

                                    You have business-class email, online storage space, and teamwork solutions. These services can be accessed from just about anywhere.

                                    Within this suite is Microsoft Sway, which is a presentation software and a step above PowerPoint.

                                    Check out the software here!

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                                    9. Grammarly

                                      Grammarly helps to cut down time on editing. Professionals in several industries like law, healthcare, academia, marketing, engineering and journalism use it to provide instant feedback on the accuracy of writing in English.

                                      Once you install the extension from Google Chrome, you can get corrections when you are drafting an email, using social media and other apps.

                                      Grammarly is AI powered and it’s a wonderful tool to have to check spelling and grammar before a presentation.

                                      Check out the software here!

                                      Team Analytics

                                      10. ActivTrak

                                        ActivTrak is a business intelligence tool that allows you to access team behavior analytics. In other words, it is data-driven.

                                        The pros include two-factor authentication with active directory integration. You can also automate your alerts and it has an intuitive interface with easy-to-use admin controls.

                                        Furthermore, it comes with Google sign-in, iOS app, productivity track, and more. The bottomline is the product offers employee productivity metrics along with team behavior analytics.

                                        Check out the software here!

                                        The Bottom Line

                                        Depending on the size, budget, resources, and immediate needs of your company, not all productivity software will exactly solve your problem. You will have to contact any of the providers above and probe extensively to find the right product that is made for your business.

                                        More Productivity Tools

                                        Featured photo credit: Domenico Loia via unsplash.com

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