I thought parents had their hands full managing their teen’s use of Snapchat, an app that allows users to send messages, videos or photos that disappear after viewing. But it turns out that there are many new and risky apps that parents need to know about.
Knowing the social media trends will help parents keep up with their kids while trying to manage their social media use. And while it’s important to try to stay abreast of the latest social media, it may not be realistic for parents to be on top of all that is available.
In addition to knowing what’s out there, the best way to manage a child’s tech use remains good, old-fashioned parenting. Parents need to impart to their children that the smartphones they use are owned by the parents and lent to the children for appropriate use. Parents need to establish a system of transparency where they can access the phones and all their content at any time. This on-demand access instills trust. Parents need to know what their children are doing in order to monitor safety, not because they are nosy or intrusive.
Here are nine of the latest social media apps to watch for:
According to its description, the Locker app “allows you to take anything on your phone, and store it inside the PIN- and fingerprint-protected app! You never again have to worry about letting someone use your phone and seeing your private information or apps!” This app is one reason not to allow your teen to buy indiscriminately from the app store. Set up the phone so that parental approval is required in order to download any app. Contrary to what people think, teens can’t get around this parental control without knowing the password, so make sure they don’t know what it is.
The Calculator app looks like a calculator but is not. Instead, it allows for hidden photo storage. I hear more and more stories about nude pictures being sent between teens, and this app makes it easy.
The Yubo app allows teens to meet online similar to adult apps like Tinder or Bumble. If you have a lonely, bored and impulsive teen, this app is really dangerous.
With the app Hot or Not, people rate other people’s profiles online with the hopes of finding a match and hooking up. Not something that is good for any teen.
The BIGO LIVE app allows teens to share live video that others watch and comment on. People send “beans” to each other that cost money to improve a person’s ranking in the hopes of becoming famous. The more beans, the more someone is worth. This app focuses on status, and that is never a positive thing for teens who are already overly focused on popularity and becoming famous.
The HOLLA: Live Random Video Chat app is focused on connecting strangers by setting matches up between strangers as part of signing up. You swipe right or left depending on preference, and location is used to pair geographically. Scary, given that predators can use it to find highly vulnerable teens.
Lipsi and Tellonym are apps that allow people to give users anonymous feedback that can be linked to someone’s Instagram page so that the comments will appear in their feed. This app sets teens up to be hurt and potentially humiliated.
The Socratic Math & Homework Help app lets the user take a picture of the homework problem, and the app spits out the answer. The biggest concern here is cheating.
Take a deep breath, and do your best to monitor whether your teens are using these apps. Remember, knowledge is power.
Dr. Kate Roberts is a licensed child and school psychologist and family therapist on the North Shore. Ask a question or make a comment at email@example.com.