SnapChat – SnapChat allows you to send pictures or videos to a friend through the app for them to view for a set time (1-10 seconds), then the Snap “disappears” from the screen. This does not prevent screenshots being taken of the picture that was sent or received. Please read the terms and agreements in full. These pictures do not “disappear”. Everything that you post through the app belongs to SnapChat, however they are not legally responsible for any illegal activity that could rise from the app or it’s content. Again, I urge you, read the terms and conditions.
Kik – This is a private messaging app in which you can share text messages, photos, or videos. It is next to impossible to determine the true identity of the person with whom you may be chatting or messaging. Just by simply reading the “reviews”, you will clearly see that this is a sexually charged app promoting secrecy, anonymity, and sexting. Again, please read the terms and conditions of this app.
Instagram – While seemingly innocent and safe, this is a potential venue for pornographic websites to prey on you and your children. It’s important that your profile be set to private in order for them not to gain access to your account. Beware of the “explore” section of this app, as it has been known to feature explicit content. Also, watch who your child follows. This is an app that’s purpose is to share pictures and, as we all know, not all pictures are appropriate.
Ask.fm – The purpose of Ask.fm, both the app and website, is for users to ask other users questions, with the option of anonymity. However, anyone…and I repeat anyone, can ask the user anything, even if they do not have an ask.fm account just by clicking the option to be anonymous. Ask.fm is an incredibly dangerous app and website. Between 2012 and 2014, this app and site became associated with numerous instances of cyber-bullying, some of which led to suicides, particularly in teens.
Twitter – Use caution, set all accounts to private, and do not open any direct messages with a link. Many pornographic websites and fake profiles troll this app and website. Change your password often, as accounts are easily hacked.
Facebook – Check and reset privacy settings often, as they can be changed without the users being notified. Be aware that an individual can have more than one account.
Vine – Vine is a video sharing app where users can view, create, and share videos that are no more than six seconds in duration and run in a loop. This site is infamous for pornographic and explicit content, and has very little privacy and protective setting capabilities.
Pinterest – Description via app “With Pinterest you can:
-Plan projects—home decor overhauls, car restorations, garden redesigns and other DIY efforts
-Dream up your next travel outing—outdoor adventures, road trips with friends, family outings and exotic travel
-Collect your favorite things—illustrations, ideas for tattoos, hilarious quotes, jewelry designs, the latest technology and inspiring art and architecture
-Save great ideas—articles to read, movies to watch, gifts to buy, art for your home, fashion and beauty how-tos, food and recipes to cook, fitness tips and great hair looks
-Get organized for a party—wedding decor, birthday themes, dresses for the dinner party and recipes for game day
Use Pinterest today to discover things you you’re interested in, and let Pinterest inspire you to do those things. How it works: You organize all your ideas into collections (called “boards”) of visual bookmarks (called “Pins”). When you find something that looks interesting, all you have to do is Pin It!” While this app and website can hold much benefit, it is riddled with pornographic images and links. Many off these images are feigned “workout” pictures, others are just “in your face” porn.
YikYak – Via the app description: “YikYak acts like a local bulletin board for your area by showing the most recent posts from other users around you. It allows anyone to connect and share information with others without having to know them.” This app allows you to send updates that anyone in your area, set by GPS services, can see in a Twitter-like timeline or newsfeed. These updates are allowed to be no more than 200 characters. YikYak is an anonymous site. Basically, other users can know where you are but not who you are.
Poof – This app has currently been pulled from itunes, google play, and other android app services. However many apps like it are popping up daily. These apps make text messages “disappear” or make apps “disappear” from parents. What the person doesn’t want others to see on their phone, they can make “disappear” or hidden, using these apps.
“Omegle was initially a text-only chat that paired users at random to communicate as "strangers". However, in 2010, Omegle introduced a video mode to complement the text chat mode, which pairs together strangers who are using web-cams and microphones. The video chat also has a text window built in.
In 2011, the beta version of a new feature, "Spy Mode", was introduced. In Spy (Question) Mode, users have two options; to be the "spy" and ask a question of two strangers, or to discuss a question with another stranger. As the spy, the user inputs any question for the two strangers to answer or discuss and is able to view the discussion as a third party, albeit without being able to contribute further to the conversation. The spy can quit at any time without ending the chat for the two other strangers. If a user chooses to discuss a question instead, as in normal text mode, the user is paired with another stranger and can discuss the question the spy has asked up until the point the other stranger decides to disconnect and/or move on to another question.
In 2012, Omegle added a special new feature to the text and video modes, the option to input "interest" tags. Adding interests lets users be paired with a stranger who has something in common with the user. A user can input as many interests as he or she would like, and if no available match is found, the user is paired with a completely random stranger instead.
In 2013, an unmonitored version of the video chat mode was opened, leaving the original content moderator-regulated video section open to anyone aged thirteen and up as long as the content of his or her video stream is clean. Initially, questionable adult content in the video section of Omegle was filtered using image recognition algorithms only. The newer unmonitored video section allows consenting adults over the age of eighteen the freedom to view, and share with one another, uncensored explicit video streams.
In 2014, Omegle began experimenting with a "Dorm Chat" mode, which requires the user to provide an e-mail address ending in ".edu" to verify that they are associated with a college or university. Dorm Chat allows the user to chat with his or her classmates and colleagues on Omegle.”
Parents, if that alone does not scare the ever living daylights out of you I don’t know what will.
Whisper – Via the app description: “Whisper is an anonymous social network that allows people to express themselves, connect with like-minded individuals, and discover the unseen world around us. With Whisper, you can anonymously share your thoughts and emotions with the world, and form lasting and meaningful relationships in a community built around trust and honesty. If you have ever had something too intimate to share on traditional social networks, simply share it on Whisper.” This app allows you to anonymously connect with other users through responding “whispers” or with free private messaging.
Hot or Not – Via Wikipedia: “The purpose of the app 'Hot or Not' is to rate pictures of other people. When you rate somebody as hot, and they rate you as hot, then you become connections. When you're connected, you get to chat with each other. Users also receive a hotness rating out of 10 based on the number of people who rate you as hot, vs. those who don't.” Via app description: "Hot or Not. Get in. Get seen. Get fans! Check out if you are Hot, find interesting people around you and chat with them. The hottest online community with over 190 million members!" This is clearly a sexually charged app. Parents, please, let’s all be smart about this…enough said.
Down – Formerly “Bang with Friends”. This app is linked through Facebook. It’s slogan is “Anonymously find people in your social network who are down for the night.” Via the app description: “1. Pick your hot friends anonymously 2. They pick you 3. We send you a private email hooking you two up 4. Go on your date or get down! Bang With Friends is now DOWN: We are the original and official way to bang your friends!” Once again, enough said.
Parents, it's time. It time to get our heads out of the sand on this one. We have got to be educated on this thing called social media and smartphones. The ignorance MUST stop! I have watched families, marriages, children, mothers, fathers, young adults, older adults, churched, and unchurched alike, being completely wrecked by this. Their lives forever altered with negative consequences that are far outreaching just them and their immediate families. I have looked in the faces of people I know and love, who have been wounded and hurt by the consequences of ignorance in this area. Knowledge is power. Get informed so that you can get involved helping not just your child, but yourself as well, set boundaries in this area. Our enemy prowls around like a lion seeking whom he may devour... don't let him in to devour your child, your family, or your home though a piece of technology that you can hold in your hand. It's YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!!! If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or sibling of a young person, or you have a young person that you care about in your life, it's your responsibility. If you own a smartphone yourself, it's your responsibility. Wake up. Stand up. Get informed. Get involved. Stay informed. Stay involved. And above all, lets love our children enough to hold them accountable and set boundaries for them, especially in this incredibly dangerous world that is social media and smartphones. It's time.