Parents, keep an eye out for these dangerous apps that are popular with kids.

It’s hard for even paranoid parents to keep track of all the popular apps that kids use. It seems like there’s a new, trendy app every day. 

With just a few taps of the finger is a whole online world of games, pictures, videos, and people - accessible to anyone with a phone, tablet or laptop. 

Some apps are helpful, fun and even educational. But there are also lots of apps out there that are concerning, annoying or downright not safe for kids to use.

To help, we’ve compiled a list of some popular apps kids are using today that parents should look out for.

Dangerous Apps Parents Should Know About

1. PrankDial

PrankDial is an app that makes prank calls to contacts of the users choosing from a disguised phone number. The prankster selects a call prompt and the contact to call, and PrankDial makes the call and records the conversation to return to and laugh at again and again. 

2. imo

imo provides a platform for users of the app on any device to video chat, make voice calls, send messages, and create group chats with friends and other users. imo accounts are linked to a phone number, much like many other messaging apps. This app isn't necessarily dangerous, but parents may want to keep an eye on any messaging apps their kids are using.

3. Nextdoor

Nextdoor is a private social network for people in the same neighborhood. It is designed to help neighbors communicate and keep up to date about neighborhood happenings and issues, such as yard sales, lost pets, and need for babysitters. Being a private network, it is open only to users in the same neighborhood, which can be either good or bad, depending on how well you know and trust your neighbors.

4. GroupMe

GroupMe is an app used to create group chats. Accounts are linked to email or phone number and can be accessed on a phone, tablet, or computer. As with any large group chat, kids need to be careful about who is in the group and responsible with what they say.

5. Skout

Meeting people is entirely different in this increasingly tech-dependent world. With Skout, users can meet people nearby or around the world and chat with them, and even share locations, if they so choose. For obvious reasons, parents should be wary of apps like Skout.

6. Live.me

Broadcasting is very popular and continuing to grow. Live.me is one of the largest live broadcasting apps, where users can watch their favorite streams and interact with other viewers, or even start a stream themselves. Parents should know what online communities kids are taking part in & lay down ground rules before allowing live streaming.

7. Red Onion

With Red Onion, a tor-powered internet server, users can browse the web anonymously, bypass school and public internet filters, and access the dark net, which is a network of anonymous sites accessible only by tor servers. Rightly so, Red Onion is only available to users 17 and up and is not safe for kids at all. 

8. Holla

Holla is a video chat app that connects users at random to chat with other users across the globe. Users are connected at random, and have the option to swipe to find a new person to chat. This is not a safe app for kids to be using without supervision from parents.

9. Boo!

Much like Snapchat, Boo! lets users chat and instantly send videos with filters, animations, and drawings. Users choose their Boo! friends, and only chat with those people. Parents will want to keep an eye out if their kids are using this app, as it's not safe for children. 

10. Alive with Me

Alive with me is a relatively new anonymous chat app. It requires users to have their phone’s battery charged to 95% or higher. Users, who must be 17 or older, choose a username and can join anonymous group chats.

Alive with me is intended to be a positive chatting environment, but any app that connects users anonymously is concerning for parents.

11. Musical.ly

Musical.ly can be a lot of fun for kids. It gives them an opportunity and a platform to be creative and make their own music videos. But even with the right privacy settings, this app can be inappropriate for kids. 

Parents may want to keep a close eye on their kid’s use because videos on the app are sexually suggestive and that’s only part of the problem. There is other worrisome content on Musical.ly, including videos that are about self-harm and eating disorders

12. Kik

Kik is a free messaging app that uses the internet and anonymous usernames to send and receive messages. Parents should definitely be wary of this app, and any other app that features anonymous chatting.

Child exploitation is an ongoing issue for Kik. The platform has been called out many times for exposing kids to inappropriate content and potentially dangerous situations

13. FriendO

FriendO is a quiz game that tests how well friends know each other. Users answer questions and send them to their friends to see if they can guess their answer correctly. Some of the questions are perfectly appropriate and ask about TV show and sports preferences. 

 However, there are also some NSFW question categories labeled as “Mature” that anyone can unlock, since there is no age verification. The mature categories include “Dirty,” “My Love Life,” and “Dating.” This app is only suitable for mature teens who can be trusted to use the app appropriately.

14. Lipsi

Lipsi is a location-based anonymous messaging app. Users, who must be 17+, can search who they want to message and do it anonymously. You can also choose to reveal your identity, or not. This app also lets users delete messages for both parties, so there's no reliable way for parents to check if their kids are using Lipsi safely.

Anonymous messaging apps are always something to be worried about, but any time location becomes a variable, it becomes an even greater safety concern for parents.

15. Whisper

Whisper is an online community where users can anonymously share their thoughts with pictures and videos. Users can reply to posts publicly or direct message other people. You can search for posts in Groups (like schools), Popular, Nearby, and Latest with no way to filter content. There's no way to know exactly what kids will read or see on Whisper.

The app encourages teens to share their personal information online, which can make them vulnerable to predators. Whisper posts are not always as anonymous as they are supposed to be. It can be easy for people to figure out who wrote a Whisper when they are in Groups for specific schools and posting locally.

16. Yubo

Yubo, which was formerly “Yellow”, has been called “Tinder for Teens.” It is a social networking and friend-finding app for kids 13-17 years old. Yubo is a troubling app for more than a few reasons.

There is no way to verify your age or identity, it is location-based, and puts your kid in contact with strangers. The app’s messaging feature cannot be moderated and has made headlines for being a vehicle for sexting. This is an app that parents should look out for. 

17. Live.ly

Live.ly is a livestreaming and social networking platform. Livestreaming can put your child at risk because anyone can watch their video and comment on it. 

When you open a new livestream, there’s no guarantee about what you’re going to see. There’s a good chance it won’t be appropriate. Even though the app says that users need to be 13 years old, this app is not a good one for kids or teens to be using.


Search our App Advisor for more information.

 

About Kate Carr

Kate Carr is a recent grad from the University of Vermont with a degree in Psychology. She's interested in social marketing and is the Editorial Content Associate for Zift. 

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