Kid Safe Internet
The Internet can be a scary place, especially for your children. There are many apps out there which provide learning tools, but there are a few out there to beware of as well.
Whether “Momo” (a creepy face telling kids to do bad things) was real or not, it is a good reminder to be aware of what your child/teen is doing on the Internet. With so many apps and websites out there, it is hard to keep up with all of them. But one thing to remember is if they are signing into a certain web interface, make sure their password is strong and all their personal information is protected.
Here are some apps/websites your children are using to keep an eye on:
Instagram is a fun photo and video sharing app. You must be 13 years old to set up an account. Many kids are setting up fake accounts to either use the app before they are 13 or to hide content from their parents. With the private messaging also available within this app, it is easy to chat and delete the conversation when finished.
Snapchat is a very popular, multimedia messaging app. You can send a photo, text, or video and it will disappear after the recipient reads it. This could be used in a bullying situation because the message goes away quickly. This app also allows you to see other users’ location if that is enabled. You must be 13 to use this app as well.
YouTube is a video sharing website. It is filled with videos about almost everything. There are a lot of good videos on there, but also many videos that you wouldn’t want your child/teen to view. Along with the videos, there could be spam and vulgar language in the comments. Depending on the age of your child/teen, you may want to monitor this closely.
Calculator% is not what you think it is. This is a calculator video vault app used to hide photos, files, and browser history. Kids hope that since it appears to look like an innocent calculator, nobody will suspect it holds personal photos. By typing in a simple code, the calculator opens to the hidden files. There are various vault apps besides this calculator. An easy way to find out if your teen has one of these apps if to go to the App Store and search for “Vault Apps.” If your child has downloaded a vault app, it will say “Open” instead of “Get” on the app.
Don’t think your kid is too young or too well behaved to secretly open apps or chat with strangers online. Be proactive and educated yourself on all the apps and websites your child/teen is using. Always have them show you what they are doing online.
-Holly Stormo, The Marketeer