The Internet can be a scary place, especially when you have a child who is deciding to become more active on social media. Steve Kardian, author of THE NEW SUPERPOWER FOR WOMEN, shares a list of common app concepts your child might be using and how to talk to them about safety.
Many apps create a forum where there is no oversight or monitoring of relationships. Adults can befriend minors, allowing potential predators to have contact with underage children and develop relationships with them. Without your knowledge and without understanding by the child, a predator will surreptitiously groom them for future contact. Issues such as cyberbullying are also a problem.
The popularity of apps changes constantly and a list of the “in” ones would probably be outdated by the time you finish this book. Below is a list of app concepts and what every parent should be aware of:
These are apps used for hooking up and dating. Users find a potential hookup via a GPS location tracking. Sites like this often have a rating system, and millions of profiles are rated daily. The safer apps use Facebook to authenticate.
DANGERS: It’s easy for adults and minors to locate one another. Rating systems can be used for bullying when kids target or group-target other kids, causing their rating to go down.
Photo-Video Apps that Disappear
These apps allow a user to send photos and videos to anyone on their friends list. The sender can set a time limit for viewing the image and it will disappear once the time expires.
DANGERS: These apps are at the top of the list for sexting because people believe that it is a safe way to sext. The photos can easily be recovered and the person receiving the image or video can do a screenshot, enabling the images to possibly be used for revenge porn.
Flirting apps are used to meet people through GPS location services. You can send photos, videos, and messages and many of these apps have rating systems.
DANGERS: No authentication requirement. Predators can contact and set up meetings with minors. Promotes sexting and the rating system can be used to attack a child or teen.
Apps allow users to exchange photos, videos, and sketches. Users can exchange YouTube videos, digital gifts, and memes.
DANGERS: Kids/teens can use these apps for sexting and sending nude selfies. Username can be used to place classified ads for sex on other sites. For example, a bag of weed might be offered for a sexual favor. An easy way for sexual predators to interact and hook up with minors. There is no authentication and no parental controls.
Now that you’re aware of the social platforms your child may be using, teach your children how to scare off predators.