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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 June 17, 2019

                    40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2019 Updated)

                    40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2019 Updated)

                    Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity.

                    There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category.

                    Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at. And everyone has the one they prefer.

                    It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together a list of 40 best productivity apps for iPhone (all categorized based on their functions) to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you.

                    For Getting Things Done

                    1. OmniFocus

                    This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.

                    Download it here.

                      2. Forest

                      Train yourself to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand by playing with this planting game. It’s fun and will help you achieve more.

                      Download it here.

                        3. Things

                        Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.[1]

                        Download it here.

                          4. 30/30

                          Recently covered here at Lifehack

                          , 30/30 is a newcomer to the game that incorporates lists and timing of tasks into an elegant and easy-to-use interface.

                          Download it here.

                            5. Any.Do

                            A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.

                            Download it here.

                              6. PocketLife Calendar

                              This calendar app is specifically designed to be stylish and super easy-to-use. You can organize your life easily with different modern features.

                              Download it here.

                                7. Asana

                                We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack

                                , and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience.

                                Download it here.

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                                  8. ToDoist

                                  This app keeps track of everything – from simple errands to your most important projects – so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.

                                  Download it here.

                                    9. FlowTasks

                                    From the folks at MetaLab, Flow is a gorgeous collaborative task management app that is easy-to-use and incredibly functional.

                                    Download it here.

                                      10. Calendars 5

                                      This calendar app focuses on events that help you to keep track of upcoming events and tasks easily. It has everything you need to organize, track and complete your to-dos.

                                      Download it here.

                                        11. Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

                                        A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.

                                        Download it here.

                                          12. Due

                                          A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.

                                          Download it here.

                                            13. Checkmark 2

                                            I use this app

                                            for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and a valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.

                                            Download it here.

                                              14. TeuxDeux

                                              Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — Teux Deux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then Teux Deux will be right up your alley.

                                              Download it here.

                                                15. Wunderlist 

                                                Another incredibly popular choice is Wunderlist. Part of 6Wunderkinder’s software family, it sports a gorgeous design and is incredibly functional. We’ve talked about the app a couple of times here at Lifehack, so check those posts out here.

                                                Download it here.

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                                                  16. Nirvana

                                                  For the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”

                                                  Download it here.

                                                    17. Priorities

                                                    An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews,[2] this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.

                                                    Download it here.

                                                      For Building Habits

                                                      18. Productive

                                                      With this app, you can plan your habits with an easy-to-use interface, schedule habits for any time of the day, set smart reminders for each time of the day and stay on track with useful feedback. This app is perfect for anyone who wants to build a habit that sticks.

                                                      Download it here.

                                                        19. Habitica: Gamified Taskmanager

                                                        You can complete tasks and build habits in a more fun way with this app. Input your Habits, your Daily goals, and your To-Do list, and then create a custom avatar. Check off tasks to level up your avatar and unlock features such as armor, pets, skills, and even quests.

                                                        Download it here.

                                                          20. Streaks

                                                          This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.

                                                          Download it here.

                                                            21. Remember The Milk

                                                            Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.

                                                            Download it here.

                                                              22. Day One Journal

                                                              When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.

                                                              Download it here.

                                                                For Files Organization

                                                                23. Evernote

                                                                Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.

                                                                Download it here.

                                                                  24. Pocket

                                                                  You can save an article, video or link you want to read or watch later to Pocket from anywhere including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly.

                                                                  Download it here.

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                                                                    25. Sync.Me

                                                                    This app identifies unknown phone calls, warns you from annoying spam calls, and adds a caller picture to your contacts from Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                      26. Droplr

                                                                      One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”

                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                        27. Dropbox

                                                                        Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive in your iPhone. A must-have.

                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                          28. iDolly 

                                                                          In conjunction with Dolly Drive and DollySync, iDolly allows you to edit and share your documents from your iPhone.

                                                                          Since all your changes sync automatically to all your devices, the current version of a document will always be accessible because Dolly Sync keeps everything in sync. Very handy.

                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                            29. Soulver

                                                                            It may seem odd that a calculator app shows up on this list, but this is no ordinary calendar app. Ben Brooks over at The Brooks review describes Soulver as follows: “It is what calculators would have been if they were invented at the same time computers were, instead of what we have with most calculator apps.” [3]

                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                              For Working Smarter

                                                                              30. Captio

                                                                              A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”

                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                31. Drafts

                                                                                A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things and more.

                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                  32. NoteShelf 2

                                                                                  This is a perfect note-taking app for you. You can take beautiful handwritten notes, type, annotate PDFs, record audio & create lists. You can organize them into categories or groups.

                                                                                  Download it here.

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                                                                                    33. Doodle

                                                                                    This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.

                                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                                      34. TextExpander (Legacy)

                                                                                      I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.

                                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                                        35. Launch Center Pro

                                                                                        A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. This app saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.

                                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                                          36. GoodReader

                                                                                          This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but here are plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.

                                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                                            37. LogMeIn

                                                                                            Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.

                                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                                              For Improving Security

                                                                                              38. 1Password

                                                                                              There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.

                                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                                39. LastPass Password Manager

                                                                                                You can store passwords and logins, create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords, track personal information in photo and audio notes.

                                                                                                All you have to do is remember your LastPass master password, and LastPass autofills web browser and app logins for you.

                                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                                  40. Truecallers

                                                                                                  Identify and block spammers, search for unknown numbers and call friends easily with this app. With a community-based spam list from over 250 million users, you’ll need this app.

                                                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                                                    There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 40 are among the best.

                                                                                                    More Great Apps Recommendations

                                                                                                    Reference

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