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CEO of ContentWatch, makers of Net Nanny
Jun 18, 2013
With more than a combined billion apps on the market, the saying "beggars can’t be choosers" no longer applies. With that many apps, who's watching the process of checking harmful or inappropriate apps? Sure, there are lots of useful and productive ones, but there are just as many—if not more—that are cause for concern. The real challenge is choosing well, not begging.
More than 80% of time spent on smartphones is immersed in the diverse world of apps, from business-related to entertainment-chocked.
Some developers have jumped on the app bandwagon to make a quick buck—uncaring of the harm it may cause. What kids and teens choose to put on their phones may not be what they expect and may be even further from what a parent hopes.
To update and educate parents on potential problems, a list of apps has been compiled below. From the blatantly serious to seemingly harmless, this list of apps is meant to raise awareness of what is on our kids' phones:
1) Bang with Friends 95% of teens reportedly use the Internet on their devices, with 80% of that number accessing social media sites including Facebook. Bang with Friends connects through Facebook to coordinate sexual rendezvous.
Although certain sites don’t permit underage access, some teens or younger children lie about their age. This allows social networks to barrage them with advertisements or sexual encounters too mature for their real age.
2) Badabing The program scans photos from up to five Facebook friends to find bikini shapes. The images can be shared, liked, and compiled into lists. But what starts out as teens sorting their friends could end up as adults viewing the pics, too, since anyone is allowed to view.
3) Blow Skirt Kids play the game by lifting or causing a skirt to rise, showing off the panties or thong underneath. What is disguised as a game encourages inappropriate voyeuristic behavior.
4) Poof by Cydia The fear of getting busted is no longer an issue with Poof. With a few clicks, settings are changed to hide any apps children are keeping secret from their parents. So even if the phone is taken away, parents won’t suspect a thing.
5) KiK Messenger A social network app for the exchange of photos, uploaded pictures, or sketches. What seems harmless can become spammed with unwanted nude photos. Predators can send any pic with a click, becoming legitimate and unwanted dangers.
6) Meet Me A social network designed to flirt and send explicit messages—or "sexts."
7) 9GAG This app creates and shares pictures with captions. Made for messages meant to be humorous, the photos/captions viewed can be vulgar, crude, or show mature language or images.
8) iFunny Used to create comic strips, this is another app intended for humor. In the wrong hands, it could be a perfect tool for cyberbullying.
9) Omegle An app that promises chats with random strangers. Another opportunity for predators, any kids using this app can receive photos shocking to them and horrifyingly unbeknownst to their parents.
10) Snapchat Photos and messages can be sent and then self-destruct. While they supposedly cannot be saved and made permanent, screenshots can save the photo and perpetuate pics not meant for daylight.
These are just a few of the apps parents should be aware of to protect their kids. For help monitoring which apps your children download on their devices, use Net Nanny for Android with its App Manager, a tool that is very important. Have family discussions about why certain apps are dangerous. With so many apps available and so much time spent using them, it is vital that parents help their kids choose wisely.
I work for Net Nanny and all opinions are my own.