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Let’s be honest, we have all been tempted to look at our teen’s phone. Many of us already have, and the reasoning behind it is fairly simple: we are responsible for their well being while underage. Many parents pay for their child’s smartphone, and so that is an additional reason for assumed transparency.

But there are additional reasons that we might choose to violate this particular boundary of privacy. The biggest one is app use, and what might be happening on those programs.

A Time Of New Digital Threats

Parents don’t tend to be as savvy as their children when it comes to new technology. That has always been the case, and while we are still on Facebook, our kids have long since moved on. As I have heard it explained, Facebook is like putting on your best outfit and smile to go to your grandmother’s Christmas party. It isn’t where they are being their genuine selves.

Over the past couple of years new apps have been hitting the market that offer dating opportunities, privacy and security, and the ability to communicate on a local level completely anonymously. This has changed the way teens use their phones, and it leads to some real risks.

Of those threats there are three that are especially alarming:

  1. Sexting and the exchange of provocative media

  2. Child exploitation by older app users.

Apps To Look Out For

This is by no means an exhaustive list of dangerous apps. But it is a list of common ones that your teen may be using, and while some are innocuous in and of themselves, others have no business hosting teenage users.

Some to look for include:

App Hider – This app, as well as others such as Poof, are designed to keep you from seeing apps on a user’s phone. It requires a passcode to view what has been masked. The problem with finding out if App Hider is present is that other apps exist that hide that app icon, as well as the app that hides it. Tricky, huh? However, you may be able to see it in the processes menu.

Grindr, Tinder, and Other Dating Apps – Dating apps are meant for people who are 18 and over, but there is no checking process beyond taking their word for it. There is no reason a teenager should be using a dating app, much less ones like Grindr (primarily a homosexual hookup app), or Tinder (primarily a heterosexual hookup app).

Whisper, Yik Yak, Local Connection Apps – These are confession and opinion apps that connect to local neighborhoods within a certain mile radius using GPS. Everything is anonymous, and they have become notorious for cruel cyber bullying without consequences.

Kik, SnapChat, Whatsapp – These are applications that allow users to chat, and are incredibly popular. Your teen almost certainly has one, which isn’t a worry in and of itself. But because they destroy messages or allow for more anonymous accounts, they are common for sexting.

Learn more at Sundance Academy.

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