Technology Tuesday: App Alerts

App Alert with 7 dangerous apps…and a few more NOT to let your kids grow on.

Kristin Peaks has written a fantastic article called 7 Dangerous Apps That Parents Need To Know About warning you of some of the newest and most concerning apps for kids…actually, correction—apps that are appealing to kids and concerning to parents.  As counselors, we’re not often black and white on issues.  But we are on a few when it comes to technology.

Read this article and watch out for these apps!  Check your child’s phone for them today.  If they have any installed, have a conversation about why they chose to download them and why they believe it is important to have them on their phone.  And we really mean a conversation…ask them questions and use the conversation as a learning opportunity for both of you.  If your child is an older teenager, make a decision together about whether that particular app has any value for your child’s emotional or social growth.  If he or she is a younger teenager or pre-teen, we can already tell you…there is none.  It is never helpful for a child to have an opportunity to rate someone else.  Whispers aren’t needed when conversations are encouraging and edifying.  And there is never a time that you want your child to be “down” to hook up with anyone. 

Just a few added thoughts on apps we’ve recently learned about from kids:

Snapchat has now added a component called Snapchat Stories.  These are photos or videos that are available to all of your “friends” in snapchat for 24 hours.  If you allow your child to have a snapchat, become their friend so that you can see what they’re posting by way of stories.  Even though kids don’t believe it, snapchats and snapchat stories can be saved and screenshotted.  See our earlier blogpost on snapbox, for example.  And read more about snapchat stories at http://webtrends.about.com/od/Snapchat/fl/What-is-a-Snapchat-Story.htm

Tinder is another concerning app to us as counselors who work with teens.  It was originally created to be a dating app—a dating app for ADULTS.  But now it’s on the rise with teens.  We’ve heard about it from several in our offices.  An article from the UK says that more than 7 percent of Tinder users are between the ages of 13 to 17.  Those are 13 to 17 year-olds are having their photos liked—or not—and then given information about “eligible matches” nearby. 

 

Concern #1 is outlined on this website, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2605438/The-rise-teens-Tinder-How-13-17-year-olds-use-hook-app-35-44-year-old-parents.html.  “But rather than high school students hoping to find romantic dates on the app, Scott Driscoll of Internet Safety Concepts believes they use Tinder, where people simply look at your picture to see if they like or don't like you, to boost their self esteem.”

We know the opposite is true.  And maybe even moreso.  Every like might boost their self-esteem, but it’s the not likes…or the friends who have more likes that damage his or her self-esteem exponentially.

Concern #2 is relatively obvious.  Your child—your under 18 year-old child is being “matched” with online profiles of who knows who NEAR them.  Enough said.

Parents, we can’t encourage you enough.  Before your child downloads an app, have them run that app by you for approval.  Link their itunes account to yours.  If they already have their own, check their phones.  And regularly.  Tinder and Snapchat Stories have just caught on in the last few months according to the kids we see in our offices.  More will catch on in the next few months.  They need you to be aware.  And we want to help.  Join us every Technology Tuesday for articles like these and more.