1. KiK Messanger
Kik is growing in it's popularity with teens. It allows users to send video and picture messages that cannot be seen by parents. In addition it is extremely difficult to find the personal identity of a user on Kik, which creates a high sense of security for child predators. Kik is a preferred app for sexting as it leaves little trail. Want to know if your child has a Kik account? You may find a clue by checking their Facebook or Instagram.
SnapChat seems very "safe" to teens because they think that once a picture (known as a "Snap") is sent, the message "disappears". Unfortunately Snaps can easily be saved by the reciever (especially by taking a screenshot) and can remain online forever. SnapChat is known as a common app for sexting as the evidence seems to disappear in a ... snap.
Ask.fm allows users all over the world to ask questions on the user's profile and, if they choose, remain anonymous. The site is known as a platform for crude language, sexually explicit text, and cyberbullying. In the media, Ask.fm has been widely criticized for it's involvement in a number of teen suicide cases.
Known as a hub for people to share their confessions, Whisper encourages teens to share secrets. While users remain anonymous, a GPS feature displays to other users the geographic region that you are posting from. Online relationships have formed over this app which have led to teens being contacted by adults and sexually assaulted.
Their tagline is "Talk to Strangers" and this happens via text and live webcam video, often containing sexual content and nudity. Within one click. a user can enter the chatroom. Once inside they can be exposed to pedophiles who commonly troll the site in search of kids to prey upon. Many will try to get the underage user to contact them through an app like Kik so that their identity cannot easily be discovered. Many teens and even younger children use the website regularly.
Tinder, a dating app has quickly grown a reputation for being a "hook-up" or "one night stand" app. It connects people by suggesting other users nearby. Each user can then choose whether or not they are interested in the other person by viewing their profile picture and clicking on a green heart or red "X". The communication is anonymous until both people have shown interest, then both can message each other. Tinder says that their product is appropriate for "12+ due to Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content or Nudity; Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor; Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes." This is surely one you will want to block.
You can help keep your kids safe by installing cyber monitoring software on their devices. Here's one to consider...
* These tips are brought to you by Jeff Veley. Neither Jeff Veley nor Where You Going Productions, LLC endorse any website and/or software product referred to in this article.