Police say parents should monitor 15 apps on their kids’ phones

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(WCMH) – Police departments across the country are reminding parents of potentially dangerous apps that could be on their child’s phone.

The list currently in circulation is from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. It includes several social media apps, dating apps, and apps meant to hide content.

The list was first released by the Sheriff’s Office in May 2018. Six applications were added in july after 25 men were arrested in an online predator and human trafficking bite. The sheriff’s office said the six new apps were used by the arrested suspects.

The app, many of which is aimed at adults, can expose your kids to a range of things from bullying and unwanted sex messages, some apps can even tell strangers your child’s location.

(Press here for a printable copy with a light background)

The applications, according to the sheriff’s office are:

  • Ask.fm – Ask.fm is known for cyberbullying. The app encourages users to allow anonymous people to ask them questions.
  • Badoo – Badoo is a dating and social networking app where users can chat, share photos and videos, and connect based on their location. Although the app is for adults only, teens are known to create profiles.
  • Bumble – Bumble is similar to the popular “ Tinder ” dating app, however, women need to make first contact. Children have been known to use Bumble to create fake accounts and age their age.
  • Calculator% – Calculator% is just one of MANY secret apps used to hide photos, videos, files and browser history.
  • Grindr – Grindr is a dating app for gay, bi and transgender people. The app provides users with options to chat, share photos and meet based on the GPS position of a smart phone.
  • Holla– Holla is a self-proclaimed “ addictive ” video chat app that allows users to meet people from all over the world in seconds. Critics say they have faced racist slurs, explicit content and more.
  • Hot or not – Hot or Not encourages users to rate your profile, check out people in their area, and chat with strangers. The purpose of this app is to connect.
  • Kik – Kik allows anyone to contact and send a direct message to your child. Children can bypass traditional text messaging features. Kik gives users unlimited access to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
  • Live.me – Live.me is a live streaming video app that uses geolocation to share videos so that users can find the exact location of a broadcaster. Users can earn “coins” as a way to “pay” minors for photos.
  • Meet me – Meetme is a social media dating app that allows users to connect with people based on geographic proximity. As the name of the app suggests, users are encouraged to meet in person.
  • Skout – Skout is a location based dating app and website. While users under the age of 17 can’t share private photos, kids can easily create an account using a different age.
  • Snapchat – Snapchat is one of the most popular apps in recent years. While the app promises users to take a photo / video and it will disappear, new features including “ stories ” allow users to view content for up to 24 hours. Snapchat also allows users to see your location.
  • TIC Tac – TikTok is a new mobile device app popular with kids, used for creating and sharing short videos. With very limited privacy controls, users are vulnerable to intimidation and explicit content.
  • WhatsApp – Whatsapp is a popular messaging app that allows users to send texts, photos, voice messages, make calls and video chats around the world. Whatsapp uses internet connection on smart phones and computers.
  • Whisper – Whisper is an anonymous social network that promotes the sharing of secrets with strangers. It also reveals a user’s location so people can meet.

Here is what you can do to protect your children:

  • Approve every app on your kid’s phone
  • Check the privacy settings
  • Chat with your kids about using the phone, apps and social media with your kids
  • Find out what’s popular in your area, different apps are spreading to different places

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