New Apps to watch for on Your Teenager’s Phone

We all know that part of parenting today involves knowing what our kids are doing online. New apps pop up every day that influence our teens, and even younger children, and give them the impression that some things are acceptable that are not.  Sometimes it leads to an activity they know is not acceptable, but the apps provide a way to misbehave anonymously, or so they think.  Too many times people have found that the internet is not anonymous, and pictures and messages posted in private become public, and end up in the wrong hands. 

In addition, we are all aware how easily predators can pretend to be a child the age of your own, and lure them into dangerous meetings and activities.  The only way to prevent this is to know what your children and teens are doing when they are online.  TeenSafe, an app that allows parents to monitor their children’s phone activity, released a “blacklist” of apps that parents should watch out for in 2016.

1.) Tinder

Tinder is a mobile dating app that connects users based on physical location.  TeenSafe blacklisted Tinder because “we believe no teenager should have access to dating apps, period.”

2.) Blendr

Like Tinder, Blendr is a mobile dating app designed to connect people within close proximity.

3.) Down

Is an app meant for adults who are looking for a casual relationship or a more serious one.  Down made TeenSafe’s “blacklist” because it says the app “encourages teens to think of each other in terms of their physical attributes, which can lead to low self-esteem and depression in vulnerable teens with body image issues.”

4.) Omegle

Omegle is a video chatting app that connects users with strangers. TeenSafe says teens using Omegle “can be exposed to predators, nudity, and other inappropriate material via Omegle.”

5.) YikYak

YikYak is a social media app that lets users post anonymous messages that can be seen by anybody within a set radius.

“While this may seem harmless, it can quickly turn when someone shares a message that’s mean or belittling in an attempt to bully other users,” TeenSafe says. “It’s especially problematic because bullying can be done anonymously without any way of stopping it.”

6.) Ask.fm

Ask.fm is a “question and answer” style social network.  Many times users will receive negative messages without knowing from whom the messages came. TeenSafe says the app is “an extremely dangerous app that has already been linked to nine cases of suicide in the U.S. and U.K.”

7.) Whisper

Whisper is a smartphone app that allows users to share secrets anonymously.

TeenSafe says the app is on their “blacklist” because, “Any app that allows users to post anonymously is going to be rampant with cyberbullying and Whisper is no exception.”

8.) Snapchat

Snapchat is a social media app in which users can send pictures that will disappear after a few seconds.

The app is on TeenSafe’s list of “use with caution” apps.

“It’s best not to allow your teen to use Snapchat unless you can be absolutely sure they’ll use it responsibly and won’t send anything inappropriate,” the parental app states.

9.) Kik

Kik is a free instant messenger app for smartphones.

TeenSafe discourages the use of Kik because, “online predators can and have used Kik to search a particular age range to find victims in their area.”

For more information, please visit http://www.teensafe.com/blog/new-year-new-apps-block-teensafe-2016-app-blacklist/