10 Obscure Apps Parents need to be aware of

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Do you know about these apps?

Advancements in technology have made our lives more comfortable and connected. Yet, even with such progress, there are also dangers lurking in the most hidden areas. Teens nowadays are getting more and more exposed to inappropriate content and potentially dangerous apps. Here are 10 obscure apps parents need to be aware of. 

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Technology has made life better, but we need to understand the flip sides, too. What are some obscure apps parents need to be aware of?

Top 10 Obscure Apps parents need to be aware of

1.  Calculator%

What it is: Although it mimics a calculator’s app from the outside, its’s actually a secret photo vault. A secret password and the button is all it takes to access the secret stash.

Why you need to monitor your teen’s use: Being able to store secret photos can lead to several risky activities, such as pornography or sexting. Sometimes this can lead to very alarming consequences –  such as a sexting ring – being hidden right under your noses.

2.  Omegle

What it is: A website that lets your child chat anonymously to strangers for free. 

Why you need to monitor your teen’s use: Predators often use Omegle as a platform to obtain information from minors and arrange a meet up – leading to cases such as kidnapping, sexual assault or cyberbullying. Some even extort these minors to send explicit photos and to as they are told. Furthermore, even though it’s anonymous, a conversation can often lead to exchanging of personal information.

3. Yellow

What it is: An app that provides teens an environment to flirt with one another

Why you need to monitor your teen’s use: Officially, only kids above 13 years old can join, but in truth, anyone can join the app by providing a false birthday. Furthermore, users unconsciously reveal their location to others and cannot be changed to ‘private’. In addition, it’s also commonly used as a sexting app to send nude or semi-nude photos to strangers. This all boils down to the risk of your child being targeted by an online predator disguised as another child. 

4. Whisper 

What it is: An app that lets teens share secrets anonymously and meet new people.

Why you need to monitor your teen’s use: Whisper provides an option of sending a picture of yourself to share your secrets, and allows strangers to directly message you. Providing a new audience to young people can lead to issues such as online predators and cyber-bullying vulnerable parties (eg minors and suicidal people). Whisper also saves your IP address and your secrets become the company’s property – not exactly anonymous at all. 

5. Ask.fm

What it is: A platform for people to ask one another questions anonymously and get an answer in return.

Why you need to monitor your teen’s use: Ask.fm has been used as a site for by many teens below the age of 18 for less innocent interactions, such as cyberbullying. Unfortunately, such brutal messages can lead to depression. Notably, in the West, the app has caused a string of teen suicides.

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Sometimes even the most innocuous app can hide dark secrets.

6. Hot or Not

What it is: An app that lets strangers rate how you look in the hopes of getting a date.

Why you need to monitor your teen’s use: The app doesn’t have a way to verify users’ ages, so predators masking themselves as teens can join the group. Its location based properties can also lead to predators meeting in person. Furthermore, the rating others based on their appearance can cause low self esteem, pose too much emphasis on appearance, and also lead to inappropriate sexual interactions.  

7. Burn Book 

What it is: A platform that allows you to post rumours via audio messages, text and photos about others anonymously. 

Why you need to monitor your teen’s use: The app has been linked to bullying, and recently schools in the US have temporarily closed because of  a shooting threat on Burnbook. As with all cases of bullying, depression, low self esteem and suicidal tendencies my follow suit.

8. Wishbone

What it is: An app that gives users an opportunity to compare kids with other children and rate them on a scale.

Why you need to monitor your teen’s use: The app enables users to write comments on one another’s pictures and such comments can incite cyberbullying. This app also has age-verification and so can be exposed to the risk of online predators, especially with a direct messaging function. There may also be concerns of security breaches (such as in 2017) since it can link to other social media accounts.

9. Kik 

What it is: A messaging software that contains web content and built-in apps that may not be safe for underaged viewers.

Why you need to monitor your teen’s use: Unsurprisingly although the app is rated 17+, it doesn’t verify users’s ages so anyone can join. Furthermore, many strangers use kik for sexting other strangers, and can be another platform for cyberbullying, and may lead to others taking their own life.

10. Instagram

What it is: A platform to upload photos and chat with people. Often used by individuals and businesses. 

Why you need to monitor your teen’s use: Sadly, teens nowadays use instagram to make fake accounts so that they can hide content from parents. Instagram is also a preferred messaging app among teens because messages shared between users are deleted once they leave a conversation. Not only can this lead to your teens knowing unsavoury characters or strangers, it may even expose them to paedophiles or kidnappers.

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Here’s how you can monitor your teen’s activities in the dangerous jungle called the internet.

 

Obscure apps parents need to be aware of: How to Use this knowledge

Parents, how can you protect your little ones, knowing well that the world is fraught with such dangers? Here are some ways you can do so:

  • Monitor your child’s app purchases. Parental controls in iOS and Android allows you to view the apps your kids have downloaded. With iOS, parents can even set up notifications that allow them to approve or deny any app downloads.
  • Discuss with kids potential dangers, drawbacks and risks of such apps before they use it. What exactly are they posting, and who can see it? Is the app safe for their age? This form of education is called “digital citizenship“ or “digital literacy” and it must be part of every child’s education.  If they have already downloaded it, then urge them to delete it.
  • Advise your child to not link their social media accounts with their apps and to choose an anonymous username and strong password to protect their account.
  • Parents should also explain that sexting and sending nude or semi-nude pictures between underage teens is considered child pornography. This can have serious criminal liability with life-long consequences.
  • With regards to password protected social apps like yellow, parents should insist on knowing their teen’s password and monitor their contacts and messages at any time. A reliable parental monitoring app might be able to help. 
  • Imbue positivity so that it overcomes negativity. This is what the organisation #iCANHELP is promoting— that one person has the power to make a difference and delete negativity online. Its assemblies, presentations, social media campaigns, and student leadership training have taught kids how to stand up for themselves and others, improve resiliency and hence better protecting themselves online.

Other obscure apps parents need to be aware of:

Other apps to watch out for include:

  • Yik Yak
  • Blendr 
  • Snap Chat
  • Vaulty
  • Audio manager
  • Tinder
  • Line 
  • Voxer
  • Vine 
  • Poke 
  • Shots of me 
  • Tumblr
  • Jail Breaking Apps and Icon Hiding Apps

We at theAsianParent hope that this information on obscure apps parents need to be aware of has been useful for you to monitor your children’s use of mobile apps. Always remember to understand the apps your child is using to avoid dangerous situations.

References: the Affinity Blog, teensafe, pumpic, huffington post,  the guardianfamily education, internetmatters.org