Most kids using these and other apps are innocent enough. Kids really do believe that they're smarter than the average guy and that harm will not come to them. That's part of the beauty of being young.
Here are a few of the most currently popular/problematic apps that you should know about:
1. KIK: Kik is a free mobile messenger app that allows kids to send messages to anyone else using the Kik app. Kik makes it easy to add video and picture to text messages. At first glance, Kik appears to be harmless enough. The appeal to kids and teens is that it allows them to remain in dialogue with their friends.
The potential problem with the KIK app is that once someone knows your kids/teens user name, he/she can message your child. Let me say this again ANYONE CAN SEND YOUR CHILD A TEXT/PHOTO/VIDEO message.
Unfortunately, you cannot undo something you've already seen. The app does have an "ignore" option once someone has messaged you but by that point in time, it may be too late.
This app has quickly become one of the top used of pedophiles. Because you can say you are anyone on Kik, strike up a "friendship" with an unsuspecting person and begin sending anything you want to their user name, the potential danger arises.
2. SnapChat: We've mentioned the potential dangers of SnapChat before here on this site but all dangers aside, the premise of this app alone is based on dishonesty. This app is popular among kids because it allows them to send pics to a friend and the pic is deleted within a few seconds. Ummmmm, why would a picture someone sent to one of my kids need to be deleted?
Created as a sexting app, this app poses a real threat to teens/kids who live on their devices. Parents must understand that kids are sharing far more than innocent family photos through this app and assuming that all evidence is being deleted within ten seconds.
3. Vine: A video sharing app created by Twitter, Vine obtained record numbers of subscribers within mere days of it's release.
Once your child/teen creates a Vine account, he/she instantly has access to all kinds of videos, many that are sexually explicit. With Vine's capabilities of locating where users are, Vine has quickly become a predator's app of choice.
The dangers associated with this sort of video sharing should be obvious to most parents. Want just an idea of what these are like? Google "best vine videos" and with one look at the top few rows of Google Images, you will see what the eyes of your kids are seeing all day long.
4. Tinder: designed as an online dating app, the dangers of this app are abundant. Users join, add a picture, and then are invited to browse pics of others nearby (the geography feature found in this app again is a God-send to predators). Once someone clicks that they like a photo, a chat window opens up and you are invited to begin a conversation with the other person.
Parents, this app DESIGNED for the HOOK UP--only has an age restriction of 12!
PARENTS, PLEASE KNOW....predators pose as "friends" online. They don't post picture of themselves molesting children. They don't post that that that they're a 55 year old male who has done jail time. THEY POSE AS 14 YEAR OLD GIRLS! They act like a 21 year old male who is flattering your daughter. They talk like one of your kids friends, they even have pictures that "prove" their identity with your child/teen.
Most kids using these and other apps are innocent enough. Kids really do believe that they're smarter than the average guy and that harm will not come to them. That's part of the beauty of being young. One of the reasons God gave us parents is so they could PROTECT us.
It's our job to get nosy.
It's our job to read text/check apps/limit screen time.
There is so much at stake. If you've never taken the time to check out the apps on your kids' device, today is the day. Don't make assumptions and assume their innocence is being valued.
It's a parents job to protect that innocence.
How about you? Are there other apps that you consider to be dangerous?
*Want an idea of what is out there and readily available for your kids to see? Take a look at this CBS News piece highlighting apps that were recently removed from the App Store. http://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/banned-most-dangerous-iphone-apps/