As parents, we’ve told our kids off countless times to put down their phone and do something productive. Teenagers busy on their phone, oblivious to the world around them are a ubiquitous image; we see it everywhere. But what are our children doing on their phone exactly?
Using apps such as Instagram and Facebook to stay connected with their friends or meet new people; posting pictures of themselves or details about their daily lives; kids can get up to many thing when they’re online. Thanks to the technology boom, it seems as if there are different apps for everything. And parents may not always know about what apps their kids are using.
According to a survey, 70% of teens routinely hide their online behavior from their parents and most parents are largely unaware of what their ward is up to on cyberspace. Cyberbullying has emerged as a rising threat to kids everywhere. Using popular social apps, cyberbullies, often kids themselves, bully a kid online. And most victims of cyberbullying don’t inform anyone about it.
These apps are some of the most commonly used for cyberbullying.
Ask.fm is a popular social app that follows a question-and-answer format. A person can post a question, even anonymously, on someone else’s wall and they can answer it. While a fun experience for teens, it has often been used as a platform to bully others. Since it has an anonymous feature, users can hide behind their screens while hurling hurtful comments at someone. In fact, the app has even been linked to cyberbullying-related suicides, such as the tragic death of a 12-year-old girl in Florida.
Kik is a messenger app that lets users text each other at a high speed. It has a “face-to-face feel” to it which further lends to its popularity. Teens can use it to send texts, pictures, sketches, and more. While the app is rated 17+, there is no age verification so it can be easily downloaded by anyone.
Google Play App Store review ratings have revealed that the messenger is commonly used for sexting with strangers. Also, the 12-year-old from Florida who committed suicide also reportedly used Kik; receiving messages such as “Why aren’t you dead?” and “Go kill yourself.” It’s no wonder then that Kik is on parents’ “worst apps” list.
The popular app Snapchat saw a meteoric rise in popularity, thanks in part to its self-deleting picture messages. And unsurprisingly, pedophiles, predators, and bullies alike have used the app to exploit children. While it purports itself to be an app where sent photos disappear after 24 hours, that’s not exactly so; screenshots can be preserved. Snapchat has been reported to harbor sex trafficking, prostitution, child-porn, and ‘sextortion’ among other things.
Another hugely popular social app is the photo-sharing site Instagram. Teens who share their selfies or pictures online can often get ‘trolled’ or receive hurtful bullying comments from peers, friends, and strangers. In fact, Instagram once topped the list of the app that harbored the most amount of cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying can virtually happen on any platform and every child is susceptible to it. It is the parents’ job to keep a check because kids will often not report being bullied by someone. Fortunately, with the advent of cell phone tracking software and app trackers, it’s easier for parents to keep their kids safe.
For more details on how you can install tracking software on your kid’s phone, contact us today.