It’s 10 o’clock, do you know what apps your kid is using?
Many teenagers aren’t going out with friends at night; they’re staying home, locked in their room and chatting with friends, sharing live videos and photos with friends and people they don’t know.
While the apps themselves are not inherently bad, people using the apps can, and often are, talking about things and sharing photos and videos of things most parents do not want their kids to be around.
Here are some of the more popular apps among teens and pre-teens they probably don’t want their parents to see:
After School is a popular app among high school students. It’s an anonymous app that allows and encourages its users to share information they might not share if anyone knew they were saying or thinking it. When you sign up the apps asks which school you attend so it will place you in that community but I managed to sign up and choose any school in the area. It also showed there were over 700 students using the app in every school I checked. Much of the discussions in the app are about sex and frequently students are mentioned by first and last name.
TBH or To Be Honest is popular among middle school students. It is also an anonymous app where students can ask and answer questions about other students without giving their name.
Kik is an app that grew out of favor with high school students who moved on to SnapChat and other messaging apps but it’s still popular with middle and elementary school students. Kik allows anyone to chat in private groups or chat rooms. It is often used as the one-on-one messaging app when kids meet other people using other apps by simply sharing their user name. It’s come under fire many times in recent years and has been named by police as a threat due to strangers who are able to access the app and invite kids to a chat room. Prosecutors have urged parents to delete the app from their child’s smartphone after police identified it as being the way sex predators initiate conversations with young children.
Melon is a relatively new social media app that allows anyone to go live over video. A user can then scroll through the life feeds and join with just a tap on the screen. I downloaded the Melon app and within just a few minutes I had been cursed at and then threatened by the person on the other end of the video chat.
These apps are free but are restricted to people over the age of 13. That age limit is practically un-enforceable as younger children will lie about their age when they sign up. It was not uncommon to find young children using these apps frequently.
While many messaging apps grow in popularity among teenagers very quickly they can just as quickly become ‘yesterday’s news’. Ask.fm, Kik, SnapChat, Instagram and Twitter have had the longest run of all the apps aimed at the teen and pre-teen audience.
These apps require users to be at least 13 years old, but that’s unenforceable. Again, the apps themselves are not inherently bad but it isn’t out of the ordinary to see kids bullying other kids on them and talk about sex and drug use are fairly common.