Parents Beware: These 15 Apps Could Spell Trouble for Your Kids
People are using their phones more than ever during this time of social distancing, and Cheyenne police are warning parents about several widely used apps that could spell trouble for their kids.
"With school being done at home, it's just more time for kids to be on social media and all these other platforms," said Officer David Inman. "Predators know that and will take advantage of it."
"If you're allowing apps on your kid's phone, try to know what the app is about," he added. "If it allows communication, texting, pictures, calling or GPS, realize it's a gateway to your kid and stay vigilant with who they're communicating with."
Inman says the 15 apps listed below "are just some of the apps that are used by kids."
- MEETME: A dating social media app that allows users to connect with people based on geographic proximity. As the app's name suggests, users are encouraged to meet each other in person.
- GRINDR: A dating app geared towards gay, bi and transgender people. The app gives users options to chat, share photos and meet up based on a smart phone's GPS location.
- SKOUT: A location-based dating app and website. While users under 17-years-old are unable to share private photos, kids can easily create an account using a different age.
- WHATSAPP: A popular messaging app that allows users to send texts, photos, make calls and video chats worldwide. WhatsApp uses an internet connection on smart phones and computers.
- TIKTOK: A new mobile device app popular with kids used for creating and sharing short videos. With very limited privacy controls, users are vulnerable to bullying and explicit content.
- BADOO: A dating and social networking app where users can chat, share photos and videos and connect based on location. While the app is intended for adults only, teens are known to create profiles.
- BUMBLE: 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.
- SNAPCHAT: One of the most popular apps in recent years. While the app promises users can take a photo/video and it will disappear, new features including 'stories' allow user to view content for up to 24 hours.
- KIK: Allows anyone to contact and direct message your child. Kids can bypass traditional text messaging features. Kik gives users unlimited access to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
- LIVE.ME: 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.
- HOLLA: A self-proclaimed 'addicting' video chat app that allows users to meet people all over the world in just seconds. Reviewers say they have been confronted with racial slurs, explicit content and more.
- WHISPER: An anonymous social network that promotes sharing secrets with strangers. It also reveals a user’s location so people can meet up.
- ASK.FM: Known for cyber bullying. The app encourages users to allow anonymous people to ask them questions.
- CALCULATOR%: Only one of several secret apps used to hide photos, videos, files and browser history.
- 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.
"We just wanted to let parents know what to look for," said Inman. "These are just some of the common ones that are used, but as we speak now, I can almost guarantee there's another one being developed in the App Store or the Google Play Store."