Dangers You Haven’t Considered

Get Techie: Know Your Apps

We live in a world that is becoming increasingly more connected through advances in technology that change the way we communicate with one another. On one hand this provides us with a lot of resources to connect to each other, like with our friends and classmates. It also means that there is a lot of research to do before deciding if this technology changes fall into the safe or trusted list for you and your family. Whether the technology is being used for education or socializing, you need a system for reviewing and researching it before you allow your child to use them.

At SM@RTConnections we advocate for parents getting involved in monitoring all forms of technology used to communicate between the outside world and your child, including devices like tablets, game consoles, smartphones and laptop computers. Looking at this site, you already know that you need to monitor all modes of communication for your child from the phone, to the iPad, to the home computer. As rapidly as technology is changing you need to stay informed with the latest technology trends that your child (and their friends) are using to communicate with each other and the outside world.

One of the most common and rapidly changing technology trends used by our kids today is the use of smartphone apps. There are so many methods for communicating you will always need to look for what the latest preferred method is. That’s why we will list some apps here that you should be aware of, but be sure to check back for updates.

SM@RTConnections reminds you to secure the app store your child is using and before agreeing to let your child download an application ask these questions:

1. What do they want to use the application for?
2. Can you communicate with other people through the application?
3. Do you have to disclose personal information to register for the app?
4. Can pictures be sent or received through the application?
5. Is there an age restriction for using the application? (most social media applications require the user to be 13 years of age or older.)
6. Does the application have hidden features, such as a hidden storage area?
7. Have you read the terms of service and privacy information about the application?

 

Here are some applications (Apps) we think deserve to have some extra attention brought to them:

Down  – Originally known as the “Bang with Friends” app, Down is the “secret” way to get down with friends and more via Facebook. It helps you discover which friends or friends of friends are interested in you so as to get a date. Your choices are “private” until you are chosen. Learn more by reading the app review here.
GoogleVoice – Is a telecommunications service by Google. GoogleVoice is available to all Gmail subscribers in the U.S. and through the service’s Android and iOS apps. Google Voice currently provides free PC-to-phone calling within the United States and Canada, and PC-to-PC voice and video calling worldwide between users of the Google+ Hangouts browser plugin (available for Windows, Intel-based Mac OS X, and Linux).
Hot or Not – Is the original sneak friendly app. It displays pictures of singles in the users vicinity that they can rate on a hot or not scale. If a user clicks hot on someones picture, and the person think the same of the user, the app will notify both people that they have made a match. In which case, it’ll be up to both users to turn it into an actual love connection. Read more about Hot or Not here.
KiK Messenger – Is an instant messaging app that is available on most iOS, Android, and Windows operating systems. Kik requires users to register a username and allows them to share photos, sketches, mobile webpages, and other content.
See Links:
What Parents Need to Know About KIK Messenger App;
Parents Beware: Instagram & Kik Messenger Are A Dangerous Combination & What Social Dangers to Check For;
What is Kik? And is it okay for kids?

Melt – Is a free iPhone app to swap photos, chat and make friends with people all around the world. Beware of the iPhone “Melt” app.

Snapchat – Commonly known as the “sexting app” is a photo messaging app that allows users to take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a controlled list of recipients. These sent photographs and videos are known as “Snaps”. Users set a time limit for how long recipients can view their Snaps ( the range is from 1 to 10 seconds)before they “disappear” from the recipient’s device and deleted from Snapchat’s servers. Thanks to ConnectSafely.org you can learn more about Snapchat by downloading the parent guide here.