Parents: 3 Ways to Meet People that Your Child Should be Warned About

Jun 03, 2014

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The following are three ways that teens meet other teens.  There are challenges with each method.  Two are apps, and one is a website.

Kik

Kik, a mobile instant message app, allows users to exchange videos, sketches, and emojis. Recently Kik introduced HTML 5, a feature that provides a way to search, view, and send YouTube videos, pics, and more without even leaving Kik.

Kik can save money and bypass the text messaging fees; however, it also bypasses any parental ability to check texting history.  There are no censors for risqué photos or images.

For parents with teens, check for the Kik icon on their phone’s home screen. If you have children that are using Kik, help them avoid questionable characters by choosing the “ignore new people” feature on the app. Warn them not to share their username on other social media sites; once their name is out, strangers can send them messages at any time.

ChatRoulette

You have “face-timed” and “skyped” with family and friends, but have you ever with a complete stranger? ChatRoulette is a video- chat website that randomly selects two people (from anywhere in the world) and matches them up for a webcam conversation.

On the homepage ChatRoulette clearly defines their rules:

  • Nudity is not allowed
  • Must be at least 18 to use
  • Posing to be someone else is not allowed
  • Spam is prohibited

Directly following the defined rules is a blunt warning: "It is possible for people to record you. Do not do anything during your chat that can be used against you.”

Despite the rules and warnings, there is no one regulating and upholding these standards. You are on your own.

Psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow advised that “Parents should keep all their children off the site because it’s much too dangerous for children. It’s a predator’s paradise.”

Tinder

A mobile dating app, “Tinder is how people meet. It’s like real life, but better.” The Tinder catchphrase is bold. Tinder is an app that displays social media pictures of other tinder users near your location. 

There is no profile or information, only pictures. A user scrolls through each person’s picture and chooses whether they are interested or not. If both parties have selected the “interested” option, they are then are notified that they have a match. Following that, both users can message one another.

Be aware of some Tinder users, not all are looking for a long-term relationship. As with any chat-room and social platform, be cautious of who you talk with and what information you share.