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Good, Bad and Ugly Apps

By Dr Neelam Parmar

GREEN ZONE

Here are the few apps I consider to be safe for Teens and Tweens:

The internet can be a dangerous place for teens. However, these apps are the "lesser of three evils" as they can be used to help a student (14+ years of age) shine online to impress colleges and future employers. When used wisely with our social media formula, these apps will help your students adjust their Google results to create a portfolio of positive online accomplishments. If your students want to have a profile on these networks/apps, please consider having a dialog with them and knowing that these networks are the place to start on social media. At the bottom of this page we list bad apps (red zone) that I suggest you not allow your kids to access/have/use.

Facebook

Age: 13+

Facebook aims to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Kids tend to share personal information on their Facebook profile.This information is often visible for college admissions officers, and future employers when they search for them.

Facebook Messenger

Age: 13+

Facebook messenger (owned by Facebook) allows you to chat with anyone on Facebook. To initiate a conversation with users you need to add them to your Facebook friend list. We suggest parents to add their students on Facebook and monitor who they are adding as friends.

Instagram

Age: 13+

Instagram is a free photo sharing application that allows users to take photos, apply a filter, and share it on the service or other social networking services. This app is great for showcasing one’s accomplishments and adventures. However, kids need to be careful with what pictures they do post.

LinkedIn

Age: 14+

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. It is an important tool for teens that want to improve their Google results when applying to college. It is the best place to start an online image to impress colleges and future employers.

Pinterest

Age: 13+

Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that helps users find and save ideas. It’s a great source of inspiration for students. They can use Pinterest to find studying tips, DIY’s and more. Kids can have fun on Pinterest, as soon as they pin pictures that are Light, Bright and Polite.

Twitter

Age: 13+

Twitter is an online social network, which allows you to send messages up to 140 characters in length. This is a great app for students to share their thoughts and feelings. However, kids must also be aware that anyone can view what is posted if their account is public.

You Tube

Age: 13+

YouTube is a free platform for watching and uploading videos, and is owned by Google. Positive videos can turn a student’s Google results into a three dimensional version of their college resume. YouTube also has a multitude of educational videos you can learn from.

GREY ZONE

These apps can be good (and bad) for your Teens and Tweens.

I recommend you have a dialogue with your kids about Sexting and inappropriate content if your kids have these apps. Although some people are very scared of Snapchat and Vine, I'm not against them (since there are way worse apps that your kids could be using). I suggest every parent put in the time each month to have a dialogue with their kids about the apps they are using. This is the best way to keep your kids safe (not by restricting the kids, but by talking with them).

Periscope

Age: 13+

Periscope is a location based app. It allows users to watch and broadcast real time videos. It’s easy to find your kids on Periscope if you know their Twitter usernames. Some teens get in trouble using the Periscope app.

SMS Text Messaging

Age: No age limits

SMS text messaging is one of the primary apps that each phone has. All accounts are connected to phone numbers. SMS messenger is relatively safe for students – trackable and least difficult for parents to monitor.

Snapchat

Age: 13+

Snapchat is a messaging service that allows people to send photos and short videos to each other that disappear seconds after opening them. A major concern with Snapchat is how teen Snapchat users use the app, since parents are not on it and content disappears.

Vine

Age: 17+

Vine is owned by Twitter and is a video sharing app. Kids often post videos of their everyday life and blunders. Kids want popularity, so they try to collect more views and revines from friends and strangers.

WhatsApp Messenger

Age: 16+

WhatsApp is a mobile messenger that is similar to short message services. Users can share location and contacts with other users. WhatsApp helps kids bypass text messaging and communicate with their friends using the app.

RED ZONE

ANONYMOUS APPS – Here are the apps we consider to NOT be safe for Teens and Tweens.

These are the apps we do not recommend for Teens or Tweens. These apps usually have inappropriate and un-moderated content. Also, they lend themselves to cyberbullying. Often, these apps are anonymous and will encourage students to behave in a way we have never seen before. When students use an app in anonymous mode (without it being tied to their real identity) they tend to behave badly. They are also more prone to bullying and predators in this zone.

After School App

Age: 17+

AfterSchool App is an anonymous app that creates a separate chat group for every school. It has been removed twice from the AppStore because of threats and arrests. Messages often include bullying, pornography, and alcohol or drug references.

Ask.fm

Age: 13+

Ask.fm is a social networking website where people can ask questions, with the option of anonymity. Kids often reveal too much personal information on this site, and cyberbullying is very prevalent.

BurnBook

Age: 18+

BurnBook is an anonymous app for posting text, photos and audio rumor messages about others. The app compiles messages by school, so the app requires access to your location. It encourages students to screenshot the rumors and save them to their phone, which causes bullying issues.

Calculator% Private Photo App

Age: 4+

The "Private Photo (Calculator%)" app is designed to help students hide photos and videos behind an innocent looking calculator app. This application looks like a calculator but entering a passcode opens a private area.

Kik Messenger

Age: 17+

Kik allows anyone on the app to contact your child and directly message them. It has been known to allow adults to communicate with preteens, and is very difficult to discern who is a predator and who is real. Some adults have been known to use this app to pretend like they are tweens and teens. Kik allows students to bypass text messaging features of their phone. Users can connect with anyone on the network and aren’t limited to their phone’s contact list.

Ogle

Age: 17+

Ogle is an anonymous app that automatically searches your location for nearby schools when downloaded. View and interact with school feeds, engage on any campuses content, and share or ask anything anonymously. Since there is little formal registration, bullies and predators can easily masquerade as students and friends.

Omegle

Age: 18+

Omegle is an anonymous text and video chat room that connects strangers to talk with each other. The app allows you to share personal information, and also contains inappropriate and un-moderated content.

OoVoo

Age: 13+

ooVoo is one the world’s largest video and messaging apps. Parents should be aware that ooVoo is used by predators to contact underage kids. The app can allow users to video chat with up to twelve people at one time.

Secret

Age: 17+

Secret is an app that allows people to share messages anonymously within their circle of friends, friends of friends, and publicly. Students often hide behind the anonymity when posting, and forget that anonymous does not mean untraceable.

Slingshot App

Age: 13+

Slingshot is a comparison app, marketed to boys, that allows users to vote or create polls. Slingshot users can create any type of poll, including polls that are not appropriate for teens. This app is popular with students, and the comment section is used to bully other students.

Street Chat

Age: 14+

StreetChat is a live photo-sharing board designed for middle school, high school and college students. Kids feel more freedom to send mean posts because they do not have to confirm their identity within the app. This leads to students often posting about real people.

Tumblr

Age: 13+

Tumblr is one of the world’s most popular blogging platforms. Users tend not to use their real names, so it can be hard to find blogs without knowing a specific username. All accounts are public and content goes unmonitored.

Whats Goodly

Age: 17+

WhatsGoodly is an anonymous, location-based, social polling application designed for college students. It has a 17+ age restriction, but younger students can still see polls and vote. There are a lot of questions about dating, relationships, alcohol, and smoking on the app.

Whisper

Age: 17+

Whisper is an anonymous social network that allows people to express themselves. Whisper reveals a user’s location, which makes it easy for people to arrange to meet up. This also makes it easier for predators to locate and connect with users.

Wishbone

Age: 13+

Wishbone is a comparison app, marketed to girls, that allows users to vote or create polls. Wishbone users can create any type of poll, including polls that are not appropriate for teens. This app is popular with students, and the comment section is used to bully other students.

Yik Yak

Age: 18+

Yik Yak acts like a local bulletin board for your area by showing the most recent posts from other users around you. The app is popular with high school students, and it is often used to harm the self esteem of fellow students.

You Now

Age: 13+

YouNow is a popular broadcasting platform where kids watch and stream real-time videos. Users decide whether broadcasters should continue their live videos with thumbs up and thumbs down voting. Anyone can record the videos posted, take screenshots and bully others with the recordings.

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