6 creepy apps that all parents need to know about

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Us parents of tweens are often being badgered for the latest apps. And while we might think we’re internet savvy, how do you know which ones are legit and which are portals to internet evils? Keep an eye out for these six creepy apps.

Hot or Not

This one is old skool, we remember it doing the rounds in the early days of the internet. You upload a photo for strangers (330 million users at the last count!) to rate how attractive they think you are. What’s changed for 2018 is that it now allows you to see the ‘hottest’ people near your current location, has matchmaking and messaging functions for real life hook-ups.

Yubo

Yubo has been dubbed ‘Tinder for Teens’ as it allows teens to flirt with each other, ‘swipe’ right on people you want to be friends with, and create live video rooms with up to four friends and an unlimited number of watchers. There is a safer area designed for 13-17-year-olds but there is no moderation meaning inappropriate content often surfaces.

Kik

Kik is a messaging app designed specifically for teens. The idea is to offer more anonymity than regular texting as it doesn’t use phone numbers, rather usernames instead. But Kik has become such a popular sexting platform that the word is now virtually synonymous with sexting. GoBubble might be a better chat option as it’s linked to schools, and try Zipit or Send This Instead developed to help kids respond to sexting.

Ask.fm

Sounds harmless enough – ask a question (anonymously or not) and get anonymous answers. But there are online petitions calling for the site to be shut down or at least the safety regulations increased as Ask.fm has been linked to cyberbullying and teen suicide. We’ll stick with Wikipedia.

Calculator+

No, nothing to do with crunching numbers. This is the speakeasy of apps – looks innocent enough from the outside but it’s actually a secret photo album. It even functions as a calculator but when you type in a passcode, the calculator opens up hidden files and albums designed to store images and videos likely to be inappropriate (or why wouldn’t you store them in your photo album?) Calculator+ isn’t the only app designed for this, others to look out for include Secret Calculator, Secret Photo & Video Calculator and Smart Hide Calculator.

Wishbone

This app is tween/teen catnip as it allows you to compare two images for followers to rate and comment on. Just have a think about how problematic that could get! There are many cases of inappropriate images surfacing plus reports of it being used in cases of cyberbullying as well as online grooming. There’s also messaging between users who follow each other, which does leave kids vulnerable to unsolicited conversations if they aren’t vigilant about who they allow as a follower.

 

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