The truth behind dangerous apps for kids

The truth behind dangerous apps for kids

In Sarasota County, Florida, the local Sheriff’s Office arrested 25 men accused of approaching children through various social media apps. These arrests have spurred a number of media outlets to list the 15 most dangerous social media apps and platforms for children. These apps include Ask.fm, Badoo, Bumble, Calculator%, Grindr, Holla, Hot or Not, Kik, LiveMe, MeetMe, Skout, SnapChat, TikTok, WhatsApp, and Whisper. Is the media exaggerating the danger or are these apps really dangerous for kids? We’re about to give you the lowdown on these apps and tell you what you can do to protect your kids.

The majority of the apps listed are dating apps. Any child under 18 has no business being in Badoo, Bumble, Grindr, Hot or Not, MeetMe, or Skout. Other apps on this list are livestreaming or video apps like Holla, TikTok, Snapchat, and LiveMe. While these apps allow users as young as 13 to register for their service, these apps should not be used unsupervised by children as predators have used them to either approach or groom children. Apps like Kik, Whisper, and WhatsApp are messaging apps which can be used like text messages. The problem with these apps is that predators like to move kids to these apps after approaching them on other apps so they can continue to communicate with them.

While all of these apps are potentially dangerous there are, in our opinion, two apps which are extremely dangerous to children and they are Snapchat and Kik. Snapchat is the photo-sharing app where the photos are supposed to disappear after a set amount of time, however, it’s fairly easy for someone to take a screenshot of the photo being shared. Meanwhile, Kik is the messaging app that is a tool of choice among predators with one registered sex offender calling it “well known within their industry”.

If you would prefer that your kids not use these apps there is something you can do about it. If your kids are using iPhones or iPads, iOS has parental controls that you can learn to use here. If your kids are on Android phones and tablets parental control instructions can be found here. Also, keep in mind that not all devices need a cellular data connection for predators to approach your kids. Many of these apps can be used on a wifi connection alone so keep that in mind when deciding how best to protect your children.