What are your kids doing on their smartphones and tablets? Police are warning parents about apps that could be putting your child at risk.
What are your kids doing on their smartphones and tablets?
Police are warning parents about apps that could be putting your child at risk. A newly released list from the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office in Florida lists nine apps parents should know about, and some of them are scary.
Deputies in Sarasota arrested nearly two dozen men last month accused of soliciting young boys and girls for sex, often using social media apps on this list. Many parents know about Snapchat, but the others on the list aren't so well known. Apps like Holla, Hot or Not, and Whisper can share your child's location, allow them to video chat with strangers, and post anonymous messages.
Rochester Police Investigator Jackie Shuman says there's also another big concern about these apps.
"The cyberbullying in some of those apps," Shuman says. "Those are the ones where people can say things and not be held accountable and they don't realize what they are doing to people that they are saying harsh things to."
More than one in three young people have experienced cyber threats online according to data from the i-SAFE foundation.
Law enforcement says the best way to stay on top of these apps is to simply ask your child what apps they like to use. As for the apps that share location, you can control those settings on your child's phone to limit who sees their location.
Here are the apps deputies are warning against:
BUMBLE is similar to the popular dating app "Tinder," however it requires women to make the first contact. Kids have been known to use Bumble to create fake accounts and falsify their age.
LIVE.ME is a live-streaming video app that uses geolocation to share videos so users can find out a broadcaster's exact location. Users can earn "coins" as a way to "pay" minors for photos.
ASK.FM is known for cyberbullying. The app encourages users to allow anonymous people to ask them questions.
SNAPCHAT is one of the most popular apps of 2018. While the app promises users can take a photo/video and it will disappear, recent features including "stories" allows users to view content for up to 24 hours. Snapchat also allows users to see your location.
HOLLA is a self-proclaimed "addicting" video chat app that allows users to meet people from all over the world in just seconds. Reviewers say they have been confronted with racial slurs, explicit content and more.
CALCULATOR% is only one of several secret apps used to hide photos, videos, files and browser history.
KIK allows anyone to contact and direct message to your child. Kids can bypass traditional text messaging features. KIK gives users unlimited access to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
WHISPER is an anonymous social network that promotes sharing secrets with strangers. It also reveals a user's location so people can meet up.
HOT OR NOT encourages users to rate your profile, check out people in their area and chat with strangers. The goal of this app is to hook up.