Part 1 explored safety concerns and hidden dangers of social apps popular with teens today. But the more we researched, the more risky apps and websites we found. So today we are bringing you Part 2, an investigation into more popular teen apps.
Hidden apps, also known as vault apps and ghost apps, can appear harmless at first sight (like a calculator). These apps are used by individuals to store pictures, videos, messages or even apps they don’t want others to see. A password is required to access the hidden content. Common hidden apps include Calculator%, Calculator+, CoverMe, Best Secret Folder, Audio Manager, and Hide it Pro.
Risk: These apps are commonly used to store content your teen doesn’t want you to see, namely nude pictures and videos.
This app advertises itself as a dating app and allows users to connect with members from within their Facebook network. Previously called “Bang with Friends,” this app allows users to swipe left to indicate “not interested”, swipe up for “get a date”, and swipe down for “get down” (slang for having sex).
Risk: This app was designed for those aged 18 and up; however, it is not difficult to get past the age verification. Your teen may develop self-esteem issues as the app encourages judgment based entirely on physical features. Teens can also easily be exposed to sexual content>.
Vora is a cloud-based app that tracks users’ fasting. Users can create profiles to publish their fasting regimes as well as follow other user’s fasts.
Risk: Those suffering from eating disorders have created a community within the app motivating each other to fast for longer periods. Vora is only one of many fitness related apps that are being abused in such ways.
This app allows users to talk to strangers anonymously through text, video or by using the built-in microphone feature.
Risk: Teens are at risk of being exposed to sexually explicit photos and videos. Omegle itself warns members that predators are known to use the app. In fact, many visitors come to Omegle after visiting pornographic websites and often leave the app to return to these sites.
After signing up for Sarahah, either through the website or through the app, users are provided with a link they can share on their social media. Anyone clicking on the link can leave anonymous messages as well as attach photos. The app was created to allow individuals to receive honest feedback from friends. Users cannot respond to the messages they receive.
Risk: Your teen may be at risk of being bullied through this app. Anyone who has access to the link can leave a message and there are no filters for explicit content. There is also no way to report inappropriate messages and threats.
This app allows users to compare two images and vote on their favorite. Users can create polls and get feedback from others. Wishbone covers a wide variety of topics including fashion, celebrities, humor, and music.
Risk: The content on the app is not monitored and there are no filter options available. Pornographic images and sexualized content are easy to find.
As teens are spending a majority of their time on the internet, it is important now more than ever that you have the necessary discussion about online safety. It is never too late to start. Here are some resources that can help you get the conversation started: