I have young kids now, but having friends' with kids who are pre-teens and young adults I hear the stories about app security, and it's a growing concern of mine.

I always try to go through the apps on my daughter's tablet to see what she downloads and make sure there is no chat capability or that her apps don’t offer information for strangers to see. This is something my parents never had to deal with me growing up in the 80's and early 90's.

Keeping our kids safe online is an issue almost all parents have a hard time these days. The average age of a kid getting a smartphone is just over 10 years old. A lot of parents are concerned with apps that could compromise the safety of their kids. The potential risks are more serious than ever.

Instead of concerns about accidental in-app purchases or too much screen time, the toddlers who grew up with, now tablets are becoming the kids facing risks like bullying and communicating with strangers when they use certain apps.

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But warning your kids of the dangers and monitoring their phones isn’t always enough to keep them safe. Kids don’t always listen to their parents and they could be curious. Plus, there is a growing number of apps let kids communicate anonymously and leave no record behind for parents to see.

Top Bad Apps for Kids

Here’s a look at some of the more risky apps currently being used by young people, but remember that new apps are released daily and trends can change.

Kik
It’s an app where kids can send messages for free that won’t show up as texts. It utilizes usernames and could let strangers get in touch with your child. Kik was reportedly used before the murder of a 13-year-old girl in 2016.

Snapchat
Now pretty well-known, this app lets kids send and receive “self-destructing” photos and videos. It has been linked to sexting and harassment, and its Snap Maps feature has also caused extra safety concerns among parents.

Whisper
This online community lets users interact anonymously. Content can be inappropriate and some users share personal information, according to Common Sense Media.

YouNow
Teens can create and watch live broadcasts with this app. Unfortunately, they often accidentally share personal information with anonymous viewers.

House Party
This group video chat app could let kids get into conversations with people they don’t know due to mutual connections, according to Educate Empower Kids.

Yubo

Michigan police have called this free app “Tinder for Teens.” Kids can make new friends through Snapchat and Instagram. The app does not have an age verification, so police fear this could bring kids in contact with predators.

Monkey
This quick-video social networking app lets teens connect with other teens. While it touts safety measures, Common Sense Media has noted that it’s appropriate for ages 17-plus, as it doesn’t verify age and could share personal information with third parties.

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Parent tips

  • Know there are always more bad apps for kids
    There are always apps being created so try to stay on top of things. Educating is far greater than reacting, and has long-term preventative benefits.”
  • Educate yourself
    You can’t monitor social media if you are not on social media,get on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and follow your kids.
  • Being on social media allows you a glimpse into the world your kids are living in, and gives you the opportunity to guide them away from inappropriate people or behaviors.
  • Try not to freak out. Keep calm. Follow or friend your kids online, but never post on their platforms without permission.
  • Teach kids how to fix mistakes Help your kids see past their mistakes. Prevent mistakes by educating your teens and kids.

Hopefully this helps you. Most of these apps I have never heard of before. I think always keeping up to date with the latest information regarding apps is important and checking smartphones and tablets on a regular basis is a good start.