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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

        The_Official_Kik_Logo_2013-05-16_07-12

          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-logo-chris-poole-moot-quits

                  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 January 13, 2020

                    11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

                    11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

                    Whether at work or at school, people these days are under tremendous pressure to perform, perform and perform! Stress and pressure can have adverse affects on the well-being of a person, and need to be controlled.

                    Now, this doesn’t mean you make a dash to your nearest therapist. There are a number of wonderful and smart apps that you can use on your phone. These brain training apps have been scientifically designed to target specific areas of the human mind and control harmful emotions such as anxiety, as well as to improve memory and sharpness of the brain.

                    Here are 11 iPhone apps that you will not only enjoy but also find useful in keeping your mental health balanced at all times.

                    1. Lumosity

                    This app consists of games that focus on improving the user’s memory, problem-solving capability, attention span, and thinking. There are three games in each session, and they challenge the brain by changing every time. The user has to complete the games while playing against a clock.

                    Free of trial. $15 per month for the full version.

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                    Luminosity Mind training apps-Lifehack

                      2. Fit Brains Trainer

                      This brain training app has 10 sets of games that work on different areas of the brain and improve memory as well as concentration. A user is required to finish a particular task from each category on a daily basis and the app tracks the progress by a color coded graph.

                      Free.

                      Fit Brains Trainer Mind training apps-Lifehack

                        3. CogniFit Brain Fitness

                        Developed with the help of neuroscientists, this fun app improves a person’s cognitive abilities, which includes memory and concentration. The progress made by the user over a period of time can be tracked. Users can also play challenge rounds with their friends. The app also modifies the difficulty level to suit the profile of the user and provide recommendations based on the results. Spending 20–30 minutes a few times every week can give measurable improvement in the performance of a user.

                        First four games free, then $13 a month.

                        cognifit-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

                          4. Brain Fitness Pro

                          The makers of this app claim that it can improve the IQ of a user, and improve intelligence and memory. The app is fun and is user friendly, and 30 minutes a day can fetch you results in less than three weeks.

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                          Buy for $3.99.

                          5. Happify

                          If nothing else makes you happy in life, this app will. Well, this is what the developers claim at least. This app comes loaded with lots of quizzes, polls and gratitude journals, which work on the fundamentals of positive psychology. The app also helps to control stress and emotions to make you feel better.

                          Free to use.

                          Happify-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

                            6. Clockwork Brain

                            You will like the little gold robot that comes in every time to explain the next game you are going to play. While the games are not much different to those offered in apps such as Luminosity, the look and feel reminds me of a workshop from old times.

                            Free.

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                            Clockwork Trsin-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

                              7. ReliefLink

                              Initially created as an app for suicide prevention, it has found its use as a great app for tracking the mood of the user by taking measure of all things relevant to the user’s mental health. In case the user experiences high emotional stress, the app has a coping mechanism that includes voice-recorded mindfulness, exercises and music for relaxation. There is also a map that informs the user of the nearest therapist and medical facilities for mental health treatment.

                              Relief Link - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                                8. Eidetic

                                Eidetic is a memory enhancement app and uses a ‘spaced repetition’ technique to help users memorize information such as important phone numbers, words, credit card details or passwords. It also notifies you when it’s time to take a test to see what you remember, so that you retain information in your long-term memory.

                                Eidetic - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                                  9. Braingle

                                  Braingle helps to maintain the sharpness of the brain and improve the reasoning ability of a person through riddles and optical illusions. It is different from other brain training apps that employ memory and reaction based tests. You can also compete with your friends and family members in figuring out the fun riddles.

                                  Free.

                                  Briangle- Mind Training Apps-LIfehack

                                    10. Not The Hole Story

                                    If you have a penchant for solving hard riddles, then this app is a must-have for you. Filled with exclusive riddles along with a simple-to-use interface, the app gives you riddles that you have to solve through a book. You will be given hints along the way, and when you give up, the answers will be revealed. This app will encourage you to broaden your thinking and put your mind to a challenging test.

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                                    Free.

                                    Not the hole story - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                                      11. Personal Zen

                                      This fun brain training app follows the journey of two animated characters who travel through a field of grass. Personal Zen is a nice app meant for reducing anxiety and trains the brain to focus on the positive aspects. The developer’s advice is to use the app for 10 minutes a day to see the best results.

                                      Free.

                                      personal zen- mind training apps - lifehack

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