Parents, there are apps your child could be using that you should know about.
The apps could allow kids to send messages secretly or put them at risk of being contacted by unscrupulous individuals looking to take advantage of them. Police in Pennsylvania said many of the apps in question are part of active criminal investigations.
Social Media Apps
Though these apps are commonly know and have huge popularity, local cyber security expert Brandon Champion says that friending or requesting to follow your child may not be enough. Some kids maintain two profiles, one for parents and one for friends.
Kik is a messaging app that offers privacy and anonymity.
Whisper allows for anonymous sharing of photos and videos.
Tellonym allows users to send and receive anonymous messages
Ask.FM lets users create profiles, sending a receiving anonymous questions
Omegle promotes talking to strangers
These apps aren't what they appear, often hiding what's truly inside
Private Calculator for $1.99, this app allows users to hide files, photos, take secret photos
HIP (Hide it Pro) allows users to hide photos, videos, music, and other apps.
Vaulty allows users to hide photos and videos. If someone tries to access the app using the wrong password, a picture is taken and stored.
What you can do:
"There's apps that you can put on your child's phone or your internet hardware to monitor activity," Champion said.
Apps to consider:
Bark- allows parents to receive alerts offers tips and recommendations
KidBridge- allows parents to see child's contact list, deleted messages, review web history, and call logs
WebWatcher- offers parents the option to social media, camera gallery, deleted messages, and screen shots
Hardware for your router:
Circle with Disney allows for parents to set limits on individual sites and platforms, block certain apps and sites, and track history
KoalaSafe allows parents to set time limits, track usage, and limit apps.
HomeHalo allow parents to take charge on what their child does and does not see
Parents be aware- "..there's no silver bullet, there's always ways around apps," Champion said. He encourages parents to think like their kids- what would they do to get around monitoring apps or devices? Google answers to find the perfect solution for your family.