TeenSafe Smartphone App Blacklist 2018
It’s getting easier and easier for developers to build and launch mobile apps. As a result, keeping track of which apps are dangerous for kids has become somewhat of a full-time job for parents. Once you figure out how one app works, another one is introduced. Who knows what impact each new app could have on your family?
At TeenSafe, we understand how difficult it can be to stay on top of the latest trends in the world of apps. Every year we break down the the apps that are blacklisted, there are a few new discoveries to add to the list.
Apps That Hide Other Features
Most kids know what their parents wouldn’t approve of them doing on their smartphones. But instead of following the rules, many kids simply hide inappropriate behavior on their smartphone so their parents will never find out.
How? There are now apps that allow kids to hide other apps, photos, and videos on their phone so no one scrolling through the phone will ever be able to see them. Here’s a look at some of these apps that keep kids’ activity hidden:
Once AppLock has been downloaded, kids can move any apps that they would like to hide into a password-protected folder on their device. Anyone who is looking through the device will only be able to see a folder labeled “AppLock.” In order to get into the folder, the user must enter the password. But, many parents don’t even make it to this step because they don’t see anything suspicious about their kids having an app called “AppLock” on their device.
The Vault app will store photos and videos that kids don’t want in their phone’s standard photo album in a password-protected folder. Some kids use this app to store sexually explicit photos that they exchange with others, which is why parents should be concerned about whether or not their kids are using Vault.
Vault is designed to look just like the camera app once it has been installed, so parents may have a hard time finding it. If parents do find it, the app is programmed to take a picture of anyone who is trying to access the private folder with the wrong password.
Video Chat Apps
Kids don’t just rely on text messages and phone calls to stay in touch with their friends. These days, kids are drawn to using video chat apps to communicate with one another. But, video chatting can put kids in uncomfortable situations or expose them to inappropriate content.
House Party is a group video chat app that allows up to eight people to video chat with one another. Groups can either lock their chats so other people cannot join, or allow friends of friends to come and go as they please. Although a video chatting app may seem innocent, cyberbullying often occurs on House Party. Because up to eight people are allowed in a group, the victim is outnumbered and may not know how to respond when attacked.
Kids also don’t always know when it’s the appropriate time to use House Party. If they get an invitation to join a group, they may feel compelled to participate even if they’re busy. But, talking to eight people at once is incredibly distracting, so it can be very dangerous for kids to launch this app while behind the wheel.
Airtime is another video chat app that should be blacklisted in 2018. Similar to House Party, kids can group chat with up to 10 people using the Airtime app. Just like House Party, Airtime puts kids in danger of being cyberbullied by a group of their peers.
This app sets itself apart from other video chatting apps by allowing kids to share videos and other content with one another while inside the group. There’s no way to control what type of content is shared with your children while they are using Airtime, so kids could be exposed to inappropriate content.
Social Media Apps
Parents should continue to be cautious when allowing their children to use social media apps in 2018. Every social media app, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more, poses unique dangers to teens. Here are a few new ones we’re adding to the list:
Yubo (Formerly Yellow)
Yubo, which formerly went by the name Yellow, describes itself as a social app that allows users to meet new friends. The app has been coined “Tinder for teens” since it allows kids to swipe right to initiate a conversation with other users or swipe left to pass on the opportunity.
Even though the app is targeted at teens, there are many adults using it, and they don’t have the best intentions. Predators are using Yubo to pose as teens so they can meet minors who are looking for new friends.
After talking to kids on Yubo, predators pressure them into giving out their personal information so they can take the conversation off of the app. This has become such a huge problem that schools in the UK have even warned their students’ parents to keep this app off of kids’ phones.
Sarahah is the latest new free social media app launched a few months ago. Users create a profile, and using the phone’s contact list can send anonymous notes to their friends. They can also share their profile link on other websites, even share with strangers, and receive anonymous messages from anyone.
Sarahah is easy to use, making it a popular download for kids. But even with only a few months in the app store, it’s already been blacklisted across parenting organizations seeing the potential for cyberbullying.
Snapchat is still one of the most popular apps for kids, but parents should be careful about allowing their kids to use it. Many kids feel comfortable sending inappropriate or sexually explicit photos or videos on Snapchat since the messages disappear after the recipient views them. However, kids don’t realize that the photo or video can be saved forever if the recipient simply takes a screenshot of it.
Over the last year, Snapchat also launched Snap Map, which allows users to share their exact location with friends. If your kids are using Snapchat, it’s important to turn this feature off right away so other users cannot track them.
Start the New Year by reviewing this list with your kids so they know which apps they should not be using. With a little help from TeenSafe, parents can keep their kids protected throughout the New Year!
Check out our list including other common anonymous and dating apps to steer clear of in 2018: