7 social media apps that could put kids in danger

Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2018 @ 9:48 AM

Hidden phone apps that allow teens to talk anonymously online could put them at risk, police say.
Summer Sykes 11 (CC BY 2.0)
Hidden phone apps that allow teens to talk anonymously online could put them at risk, police say.(Summer Sykes 11 (CC BY 2.0))

Parents probably think monitoring their children’s social media is fairly simple, but social media apps are making it increasingly hard to know what minors are actually doing online.

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Approximately 95 percent of all American teens ages 12-17 are online, and 80 percent of those online teens are users of social media sites, according to online child safety website PureSight. Safety officials and police are warning parents that some tricky social media apps could put kids in danger.

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Here are 7 apps that parents need to look out for:

1. Sarahah 

Sarahah has become one of the most popular apps for the Apple iPhone. The anonymous-commentary app launched last year, and it allows users to submit honest, anonymous comments about their peers. The posts are often vulgar, negative and harassing in nature — a perfect set-up for cyberbullying.

2. Calculator% 

This is a secret app used to hide photos, videos, files and browser history. It’s an easy way for minors to hide sexually explicit content.

3. Yubo

Yubo, formerly named Yellow, is a social networking site where users can make new online friends. The app, like Tinder, will show users if other people are close in location to them.

4. Vora

Vora is a fasting app that some teens who suffer from eating disorders are misusing. One recent fad diet is “water fasting,” a diet where dieters consumed nothing but water. “Water fasters logged their fasts using new-on-the-market app Vora, sharing their results on Instagram,” according to a report from Vice.

5. Omegle 

Omegle is a free online chat forum where users socialize with strangers. The app picks someone at random to have a one-on-one video chat. A recent study released by the Pew Research Center showed that 47 percent of teens regularly use video messaging apps like Omegle. The app has been linked to cases of older men luring in younger girls for sex.

6. LIVE.ME

Live.Me is a Chinese social media platform that allows minors to create and view live videos that use geolocations to share content. Viewers can find the users’ exact locations with the geolocation tag. Users also earn “coins” as a way to “pay” users for photos. The app has been linked to cases of sexual grooming and cyberbullying.

7. Blendr 

This app allows kids to exchange messages, photo and videos — and then rate the “hotness” of other users. It’s all linked to GPS locations, and there is no age restriction so minors could be interacting with adults through the app.

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