Kids are at risk every single day of coming in contact with a sexual predator. In fact, one in five U.S. teenagers who log onto the internet on a regular basis has admitted to receiving unwanted sexual solicitation. The solicitations vary from requests to engage in sexual activities, sexual messages or requests for sexually-explicit photos and information.
The shocking part is that 75 percent of kids are willing to share personal information online about themselves and their family, but only a small percentage who encounter a sexual solicitation ever tell anyone.
So how are online predators able to connect to kids so easily still? Apps may be the culprit. It no longer takes just a dangerous public place to be targeted by sexual predators or even bullied by someone. Right in the comfort of their home, kids can become a victim. Check out these less than desirable apps that can often open a digital backdoor for online predators. If you find any of them, it may be a good call to delete them immediately …
Whisper – This app makes way for secret conversations with local people. It basically allows kids to communicate with strangers in their surrounding area. They may feel drawn to express their feelings and tell their secrets to a stranger, rather than to friends or parents. Whisper can give sexual predators in the geographical area easy access to kids nearby.
YikYak – The users of this app are anonymous. It is different from many social media apps in that it doesn’t require a profile or account in order to communicate with people. It is also unlike many other apps in that comments posted can be seen and read by as many as 500 people up to 5 mile radius. YikYak can essentially be used as a virtual chat room in schools where students post comments without being traced. This can lead to cyberbullying through malicious comments that can be seen by an entire student body within seconds of posting.
Kik – This free app sends text messages and pictures without being traced in the history of the digital device. This makes it easy for kids to talk to strangers without a parent’s knowledge. The messages are not traceable through the wireless carrier either. Kik allows kids to send and receive messages with zero accountability. Similar apps include Viber, WhatsApp and TextNow.
Snapchat – Snapchat is one of the most popular apps around. With its roots based in fun photo filters, it sends images or videos that are only available for viewing for a specific amount of time. Although many kids believe they can send inappropriate messages or pictures using Snapchat because the images automatically disappear, there is always a risk of messages or images being captured anytime by anyone.
Vine – Users are able to watch and post 6-second videos so what makes it dangerous? Porn can easily pop up in the feed and can be found even easier when searched. This exposes children to sexually explicit videos. In addition, sexual predators can use Vine to search for kids in their area, then attempt to contact them.
ChatRoulette and Omegle – While these apps allow video chat with strangers, the sites do try to warn users of the dangers of fake webcam software that allows child predators to pose as kids themselves. Unfortunately, there are ways to get away with it anyway. Predators can convince kids they are a peer or even a celebrity. They can then work on the exchange of inappropriate pictures and videos, along with private information and location.
Tinder – Tinder is known to many as a hook-up app. It’s a dating app that allows users to upload pictures and scroll through pictures of others users. When someone likes a picture they can flag it. If reciprocal photos are flagged then contact can be made. Similar apps include Down, Skout, Pure and Blendr.
Poof – Even if you check digital devices on a regular basis to see what apps are there, kids can still hide apps if they have Poof. It makes unapproved apps disappear.