Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Dangerous apps for kids and teens
How many of you out there are juggling to keep up with everything life has to throw at us? Working, keeping a home, nurturing a marriage. Perhaps it's dealing with a difficult divorce or illness... Sometimes we all need a hand in life no matter where that particular area may be. Raising kids can be challenging and we all have heard the saying "it takes a village".... but in today's society it seems the odds can be stacked against us as parents. We all do our very best and hope it's enough to keep our kids safe, but still we wonder....are we missing something?
I've wanted to do this blog post on this subject for some time now, and I've come to the conclusion that with all my ideas for blog posts; that I just need to make the time as these issues are important. If it can help even one of my readers than I have done what makes me happy and made a difference. :-) I receive a lot of emails on different topics and lots of questions, life has kept me busy but I am going to post as much as I can on issues that are important to me and more frequently.
My girls are my everything as you can see from my blog, and keeping them safe and a top priority is very important to both my husband and I. Some of the ways I do this is by constantly researching and staying as informed as I can. Communication is top priority always in our family, there's nothing we don't discuss with our girls when an issue arises, or even before it does. Keeping conversations age appropriate is also something we take seriously in this house. Ages and stages of development are important for many reasons, especially in how children are able to process and handle situations and new information.
Exposure to school and other social gatherings can open children up to things we as parents may not approve of. Keeping lines of communication open is very important. Some of your children may have tablets or phones and many have access to computers. My post today is going to talk about a list of apps that could be dangerous to kids and a small overview of them. Keep in mind I have chosen the most popular ones among kids, so you need to be aware there are others lurking. I encourage you to research these apps and others in more depth, as well as check your children's phones regularly.
WHISPER APP: This app allows children to post secrets anonymously and they are able to chat with others in their geographic region. The danger is they are targets for predators and anyone computer savvy can access personal information about your child. Locate them and/or have them meet up with them.
YIKYAK APP: This one is particularly hazardous, especially among schools as you can post anonymous comments and it is accessible to the nearest 500 people or more within a 1-5 mile radius. This opens the door to a lot of bullying issues.
KIK: Free app based alternative to texting which allows pictures and texts, etc. to be posted without being logged in to a phone history. This has already caused problems in school such as slandering teachers and other students.
SNAPCHAT: Capturing a video or image and allowing it to only be visible for a certain amount of time. Then it "disappears" or so the app claims. Similar apps include POKE, WIRE, and WICKR
VINE: Watch and post 6 second videos. The problem is it is intended for 17 years and up, but children younger are accessing it. There tends to be a lot of explicit content such as porn that children are exposed to unsupervised.
CHATROULETTE/OMEGLE: This app allows you to chat with complete strangers!
POOF: This is a very dangerous app as it allows them to hide other apps on their phones so you are not aware of what they are downloading and doing.
ASK.COM: A question and answer site used by kids that allows others to ask questions and they remain anonymous. Can lead to cyberbullying and this has been directly linked to 9 documented cases of suicide.
TINDER: This is basically a dating site where you find others in your geographic region and instant message (which are private) to hook up and meet them.
POKE: This is a Facebook app, similar to SNAPCHAT that promises pictures sent will self-destruct within seconds after being received. This is causing big issues especially with sexting. If you are unfamiliar with sexting it is the act of sending sexually explicit messages, primarily between mobile phones. This is actually a big problems in the schools.
TUMBLR: Photo sharing app that also allows videos and chats and all content is public! It is very easy to access pornographic, violent and other inappropriate content.
There are a variety of programs you can download to help keep track of what activity your child is doing on the internet. I will list several without links as I feel choosing this protection for your family is a personal choice. Many are free, or you can upgrade for an additional fee. This list you can google and decide which ones work the best for your family. There are many others not listed also.
NORTON FAMILY (Free and paid versions available)
AVIRA SOCIAL NETWORK PROTECTION
AVG FAMILY SAFETY
MICROSOFT FAMILY SAFETY
While this is a start to keeping up with what children do; what is most important is being involved in their lives. Talking to them and teaching them right from wrong. Not letting them be exposed to too much too soon. Some parents have a very laid back attitude and want to be "cool" friends with their children. While it is certainly good to be your child's friend; first and foremost you have to take responsibility of being a parent and all that entails. Guide your children.... don't just assume that they will be exposed to so much you can't control.... be vigilant and if that happens be available to discuss it. It's not realistic to think we can protect them from all the bad things in the world.... absolutely not. But how they are taught to handle things and how they portray themselves to society says a lot. In many situations the blame can fall on the parents lack of interaction. Other times some kids stray no matter what effort the parent puts in. The thing is....step back and look at your actions. Are they healthy, encouraging and portraying a good role model for what you want for your child? Are the influences in your children's lives good or bad? Sometimes helping our kids starts with evaluating ourselves and seeing what we can change.
"It is a wise father that knows his own child" William Shakespeare
"Having a child is wondrous. It is to forever have your heart go walking around outside your body" Elizabeth Stone
"Lucky parents who have fine children usually have lucky children who have fine parents" James A. Brewer
"Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege, than the raising of the next generation" C. Everett Koop
"The most important thing that parents can teach their children is how to get along without them" Frank A. Clark
Thanks for reading today, I will be doing more posts on important topics shortly. I will still be posting recipes, crafts and more and a money segment. Feel free to email me :-)