Your kids are using many of the same apps as You. But there are a few you probably weren’t aware of.
Is your teen or tween glued to their phone and texting 24/7? Don’t worry, that’s normal.
However, it’s a good idea to be having regular conversations with them about what they are doing online. Also, it’s good to educate yourself and your teen about newer messaging apps that can facilitate cyberbullying by using anonymity, keeping secrets, or spreading rumours. Below is an overview of some of these apps:
Sarahah is an anonymous messaging app that has been getting a lot of buzz (it has been a top download this summer in the big app stores). And not all of that buzz has been good (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/sarahah-honesty-app-bullying-harassment-canada-1.4264848). Teens can create a profile using their Snapchat login and then send messages to each other. However, they can choose to make these messages anonymous, making it very easy to send mean and hurtful messages.
You’d be forgiven if you thought that an app with the name ‘Audio Manger’ is for managing music. It isn’t. Audio Manager is an app for hiding other apps, pictures, videos, and more. When you press and hold the app, it reveals a lock screen, behind which your teen can hide what they like.
This app can easily be mistaken for a calculator. That isn’t what it does, though. Calculator% is actually a photo vault—an app used for keeping pictures hidden and secret. Apps like these are how teenagers keep nude sexting secret from parents and teachers.
Another picture vault app, Vaulty will snap a picture of anyone attempting to access it’s hidden pictures without a password.
Kik is a messaging app that allows users to send texts, pictures, and videos to each other over data. However, it’s also the app of choice for users who hook up with each other via personals sites like Reddit’s r/dirtykikpals.
Here’s what Fess has to say for itself on the iTunes store: “Fess lets you post anonymously to your high school. Only students allowed in, no Fesses allowed out. This is your high school’s own confessions app.” A school-wide clearinghouse of anonymous messages sounds like a recipe for cyberbullying.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Snapchat
You’re certainly aware of these apps. And you may be on a few of them yourself. However, leading statistics say that these are the four most used apps for young people. We aren’t saying that these particular apps are predisposed to allowing bullying, but where there are concentrations of teens on the internet, there will by cyberbullying, so it’s a good idea to monitor what your teens and tweens are doing on apps that aren’t so new and cool.