websafety_blog_watchoutfortheseapps

Watch Out For These Apps

 

There are many apps where predators lurk. Not only are kids targeted for sex crimes, but also Internet trolls use these apps to pick fights and gang up on users. Although your child might only be talking to fellow teens online (or believe they are), it’s a good idea to remind kids that predators and cyberbullies could prey on them. Banning your child from using certain apps can result in them creating secret accounts. Trust your child, but make sure they exercise caution when using the following apps.

Kik: Instant messaging application which uses a data plan or Wi-Fi to transmit and receive messages. Users may share photos, videos, sketches, webpages, and other content. Predators use this app to extort and share child pornography.

BurnNote: Messaging application where messages self-destruct after the recipient has opened them. The service claims they destroy all message data. Because the messages “disappear,” this app is used for sexting, threats, cyberbullying, and rendezvous information.

Slingshot: Instant messaging application which uses a data plan or Wi-Fi to transmit and receive messages. Users may share photos, videos, sketches, webpages, and other content. Predators use this app to extort and share child pornography.

Omegle: Online and Mobile application chat site that allows strangers to communicate without registering. Anonymous users are randomly paired by the service and may chat via microphone or text and may add video streaming. Predators use this site to contact minors for sexting and attempt to coerce kids into meeting in real life.

Snapchat: Video Messaging application which allows users to take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send media to users of their choice. The sent media is called a “Snap.” Users set a time limit (up to 10 seconds) for how long a recipient can view their Snap. After the snap has been viewed, Snapchat claims the media will be deleted from their company’s servers. Because of the ”disappearing” images, some teens and adults use this app for sexting.

Yik Yak: Social media application allowing people to anonymously create and view posts and photos within a 1.5 mile radius. Users can microblog to other nearby users as well as “vote up” or “vote down” users’ profile score and their posts. Because users may remain anonymous, this allows cyberbullies to gang up on other users.

Ask.FM: Social media application where users can send each other questions and answers anonymously. Because users may remain anonymous, this allows cyberbullies to gang up on users. There are suicides from all over the world linked to documented posts where teens were cyberbullied on this app.

Whisper: Social media application that allows users to send messages anonymously and receive replies. Messages are text superimposed over an image, much like a greeting card. Users do not have a public identity, but they do have a persistent handle. Because users can post anonymously, this has resulted in defamation of character, describing sexual fantasies, and threats made against people, schools, and other public buildings.

After School: Social media application that allows users to send messages anonymously and receive replies. As users can post anonymously, this has resulted in defamation of character, describing sexual fantasies, and threats made against people, schools, and other public buildings.

Vine: Video sharing app that allows users to post and share 6 second looping videos. It’s easy for teens to find porn and watch violent content that includes (but is not limited to) physical fighting and profanity.

Tumbler: Microblogging platform and social media network. Users may create, share, and comment on posts. The extensive site and vast amount of posts make it easy for users to post and find pornography and violent media. Reports show many users experience cyberbullying on this site.

Hot or Not: Rating application based on physical appearance. Users upload photos of themselves and allow other users to rate their photo on a scale of 1-10 as well as exchange messages. Predators use this site to contact minors for sexting and attempt to coerce kids into meeting in real life.

MeetMe: Formerly myYearbook, this social network helps users (as young as age 13) discover and chat with teens that have similar interests. Predators know teens go here to flirt and target victims accordingly.

Tinder: Location based dating application that allows users to chat with their matches. This dating app was developed for adults, not teens. Predators use this site to contact minors for sexting and attempt to coerce kids into meeting in real life.

Badoo: Dating application that allows users to chat with their matches. Users may post photos or videos. This dating app was developed for adults, not teens. Predators use this site to contact minors for sexting and attempt to coerce kids into meeting in real life.

Skout: Location based dating application and website which uses GPS to help users find other nearby users. Although teens and adults are separated, predators pose as teens to chat with and try to meet minors.

Calculator%: Media storage app that hides photographs and video. This app looks like a calculator on your child’s mobile device, but is actually a secret vault for photos they do not want others to see. It appears and operates as a normal calculator, but once the password (sequence of digits) is entered, you are granted access to hidden photo albums.

The WebSafety app will notify you when your child downloads a new app. Be extra cautious if the app looks like a calculator or is named Photo Vault, Secret Gallery, or Safe.  These are common names for “ghost” or “vault” apps which can be used to hide sexually explicit files, photos, videos, and apps from parents.

Sources:

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/snapchat-and-7-more-iffy-messaging-apps-teens-love

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/15-apps-and-websites-kids-are-heading-to-after-facebook

http://fun.familyeducation.com/mobile-apps/social-networking/74548.html

 

By:  B. Staples

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/ 6,860 View(s) /Fri November 13, 2015/ by WebSafety

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