For digitally slow parents the app store can seem otherworldly but now a prominent tech blogger has warned of the apps parents should look out for which could pose a risk to children’s safety.
With apps ranging from sharing rumours to rating each other’s appearance online, the list of apps flagged up by by tech blogger April Requard on her blog Appsolutely April are readily available to be downloaded by children.
The Calculator% app looks like a normal calculator app, however, instead of entering a sum the user puts in a passcode which will unlock secret photos and videos. The files are stored in the private app and cannot be viewed in the normal camera roll.
Users don’t need to download the Omegle app to use it, this chatroom can be used online and allows children to talk to strangers anonymously. There is no control over the content.
Another app that lets users chat with strangers online, it also promotes sharing secrets anonymously.
Ask.fm has over 215 million users and lets people ask questions anonymously to strangers online. The site has been known for online bullying and trolling.
It is one of the biggest apps in the world where children can follow friends, family, celebrities and strangers online. It allows more than a photo and video sharing service though. Children can text privately through the app, be targeted by strangers or be vulnerable to bullying.
Snapchat is another hugely popular social networking site which allows people to share photo, short video or message to contacts, however, users can’t control what they see when they open a Snapchat from another user.
Kik instant messenger app allows users to send emoji, GIFs and text online. It’s free to use, however, strangers (including adults) can add them on the site and send inappropriate messages.
This app allows users to compare anything online. It also allows kids to compare other though and rate them on a scale based on appearance.
Like a digital version of the infamous Mean Girls book, the Burn Book allows users to post anonymous rumours through texts, messages, audio and photos.
Hot or Not
Just like it says on the tin, Hot or Not allows users to judge others appearance based on their pictures. The app also lets users see how ‘hot’ their friends are and see a list of the ‘hottest’ people nearby.
Although Requard warns of the dangers posed by such apps, the blogger does state how technology can be safely.
She said: “Not all social apps are bad. Most of the apps our kids use are truly an extension of your child’s “real world” social life. For the most part, our kids talk to people they only talk to in “real life.”
“With the influence of technology in our kids social lives, we can’t panic or over think every single thing, but we do need to empower each other and be aware of what our kids are doing when they are online and engaged in these apps.”
An NSPCC spokesperson added: “The internet is an amazing place for teenagers to learn, create and socialise and can open up a whole world of exciting possibilities. But with the digital world evolving all the time, it is vital that parents talk to their children about their online lives. This could include talking about what personal information or photos are risky to share online, as well as the fact that new friends online might not always be who they say they are.
“Many parents wonder if they should snoop on their children’s devices or social media accounts. We wouldn’t advise this approach as it could make young people feel their privacy has been invaded, and might make them less likely to come to you if there is a problem.”
The NSPCC also have a guide for parents to better understand apps, social media sites and games that children use at www.net-aware.org.uk.