Welcome back! Sidle on up, and let’s get ready to dig back into our second but alas, final part. In our first installment, we talked about the first 8 websites and apps that kids are using to text and share photos/videos. While we wish all of our kids were frequenting websites like khanacademy.com and apps like Lynda, the reality is that they are not. Managed security providers like the New York Nerds are tasked with keeping tabs on apps and websites that are designed to exploit businesses. Some of the same apps and websites listed below and in part 1 are used by employees to defeat employers cyber security safeguards.
With the current advancements in technology, mobile phones have become a human’s companion. It is almost impossible to live without these sophisticated gadgets. To enhance their functionality, they incorporate apps that are meant to ease their user’s daily needs. For instance, if you were planning a trip to a nearby town, you can quickly turn to your phone’s Google map app to help you get your coordinates as well as guide you to your destination. However, some of these apps are touted to be having significant effects on the teens. There are numerous apps apart from Facebook, which makes it even harder for parents to monitor and regulate their kids or teens use.
Below are some of the apps and websites kids are heading to after Facebook:
Calculator +, an Android app your child may have on their phone is a fully functional calculator, but it can also hide images on a phone that can only be opened by pressing or entering specific keys or numbers.
This is an app for messaging that enables its users to upload pictures and videos to other users online. Also, it allows users to control when the content disappears by setting a time limit. The majority of teens use Snapchat to share embarrassing videos or goofy photos with their friends. What parents ought to know about Snapchat:
• It is impossible to get rid of Snapchat and stories of it going away is a myth- Since its major hack in December 2013 Snapchat clarified its policies and made it more secure. However, data is data and never goes completely “away.” For this reason, teens should always be wary.
• Sexting seems normal and okay- Its risk-free criterion of functionality encourages users to share sexy images.
• They are a lot of clicky content- Some of the materials displayed on this platform is not secured. Snapchat Discovery offers magazines, articles, quizzes, and videos that may contain adult content.
This is an app that allows users to express their emotions in a message paired with an image. It offers teens the freedom to fully express their feelings without fear of judgment.
• The App has lots of adult content- Users use this app to post eye-catching pictures to try and hook-up with people nearly.
• It contains dark confessions- Some confessions on this platform can be dark. Some of the topics discussed on this platform include substance abuse, depression, insecurity, and various lies told by employers or teachers.
• Its anonymity is not fully guaranteed- When joining the platform you might think it’s secure, but after time it encourages its users to share their location.
Streaming apps like Houseparty are big security risks for kids, read below for more
LIVE-STREAMING VIDEO APPS
Houseparty – Group Video Chat
This app is used by a group of teens o connect or chat via live video. Using this app, they are capable of connecting up to eight people in one live video. They can interact by chatting while using the interactive video capability to contact friends, chat, or even invite others to join. Below are some of the critical things you need to know about the Houseparty app:
• The app enables its users to take screenshots during a chat- They say, what happens in the chat section stays there. However, this is not the case with Houseparty, users can take screenshots while in the chat and share it with anyone in the platform.
• The app has no moderator- When there is no moderator in a given platform it means that anything can happen, which can also be a problem. Unlike other social networks where it is easy to monitor user’s behaviors, it is almost impossible to predict what your teen had been doing on the site.
Live.me – Live Video Streaming
This is one of the apps that allow kids to stream others online as well as broadcast themselves live. Teens use it to earn currencies from fans when they view, or stream to their channel Listed below are some of the things that parents should watch out for in Live.me:
• It associates itself with other apps such as Tik Tok- The app integrates both apps in one making it more popular.
• It is easy to view inappropriate content- In the previous reviews, we witnessed broadcasters causing a stir over inappropriate content with young teens answering to sex charges.
• Predatory comments constitute a significant issue- Since anyone is capable of interacting in the platform, it might pose some potential harm to teens. Some viewers request sexual pictures and even contact them via their private social media channels. This has piqued the interest of several managed security service firms nationwide.
YouNow – Broadcast, Chat, and Watch Live Video
This is an app that lets individuals stream and watches live broadcasts. Teens watch, make comments, and buy gold bars to give to other users.
• Teens and kids tend to make poor decisions in the name of gaining popularity- Simply because it is a live chat app, individuals can send requests and receive gifts in real-time.
• It is possible to share personal information- Whenever they broadcast from their bedrooms or other places within their homes area they compromise their privacy.
It’s not uncommon for kids to have access to phones, tablets, and computers. Be vigillant in checking ALL of your kids devices and make sure to get their passwords too!
CHATTING, MEETING, AND DATING APPS AND SITES
Monkey — Have Fun Chats
Remember Chatroulette? It randomly matches strangers for a video-chat. Well, this an updated version of Chatroulette. Through the use of Snapchat in connection, users can live video-chat with people who they have never come across before in their lives in about ten seconds. Parents need to take into consideration the following aspects regarding its usage by their teens:
• Majority of teenagers are using it- As a result of being connected with Snapchat, a lot of teens are always present for a quick chat. This enables the continuation of the conversation on this platform after connection via Snapchat.
• Rejection or acceptance of a chat by teens- A stranger’s gender, age, and location are reviewed by the user before the commencement of a chat. Therefore it is at the user’s disposal to decide on whether or not to be matched.
MeetMe – Chat and Meet New People
It is all said just by the look of its name. This app has a feature of Match despite it not being marketed as a dating app. Through this, people online can ‘secretly admire’ each other, whose more significant user base is interpreted to attention that is guaranteed and communication at a fast pace. In connection to this app parents ought to know that:
• It is a network that is open- Whoever is online they can engage with each other as well as conducting a local search. The potential problem is thus out there when this door is opened.
• Detailed information is required- During the registration process, the full name is needed, age as well as ZIP code. A Facebook account can be used to log in. Location services are also required for the user’s mobile device to try finding their matches within their physical location
This chat site provides a choice of a video-chat and that of a text chat by bringing two strangers together. It is very enticing to teens since it has the feature of anonymity. It is not recommended for kids and teens since it has explicit content with users searching for chats which are sexual in nature. Below is what parents need to take into consideration:
• Strangers are paired with users- This is the platform of this app with the registration process not expected.
Here users can swipe right or left in accepting or rejecting the profiles of other users. For this reason, it is generally referred to as ‘Tinder for Teens.’ In instances where users swipe right on each other, they can hook up and chat via Instagram or Snapchat. Our cyber security threat mitigation team found that this app also sends random data times when the app is closed to Russia. Important things to note here is that:
• You have to let the app ‘geotag’ you thus the need to share your location and personal information. This is a security risk found by most managed security service providers on a global level.
• Ease in lying one’s age as the app defaults to an age the user prefers.
Amino – Communities, Chat, Forums, and Groups
It is an app designed for people sharing a common interest in life such as groups. These groups can be created by teens or still joined by them and start a conversation right away. Unfortunately, bullying here is familiar with the publishing of mature content which can be disturbing to teens.
We know this isn’t a full list of apps or websites that kids are using, but its a good starting poit. Use your diligence in keeping up with your kids and their footprints. Make sure you obtain a username/password for their computer, their pin for their phone, and any other access credentials they may have. Check their devices, text messages, profiles, email, folders on their computer, phone records, and the like. If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, you can hire a cyber security professional to come to your home to do it for you. In our house, it’s our policy that we have the kids passwords for all devices. If they decide to change their credentials without telling us first, they lose their device for a while. Same for deleting ANYTHING. The New York Nerds believes it to be an excellent measure to teach techniques that foster good online behavior, particularly with younger users. As the saying goes, “an informed child is a safe child.”
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