After investigators revealed that 13-year-old Nicole Lovell communicated with her alleged killer using the messaging app Kik, many parents are wondering what other types of potentially dangerous apps their teenagers may be using.
Tinder is a mobile dating app that connects users based on physical location. TeenSafe blacklisted Tinder because “we believe no teenager should have access to dating apps, period.”
Like Tinder, Blendr is a mobile dating app that is designed to connect people within close proximity.
Is an app meant for adults who are looking for a casual relationship or a more serious one. Down made TeenSafe’s “blacklist” because it says the app “encourages teens to think of each other in terms of their physical attributes, which can lead to low self-esteem and depression in vulnerable teens with body image issues.”
Omegle is a video chatting app that connects users with strangers. TeenSafe says teens using Omegle “can be exposed to predators, nudity, and other inappropriate material via Omegle.”
YikYak is a social media app that lets users post anonymous messages that can be seen by anybody within a set radius.
“While this may seem harmless, it can quickly turn when someone shares a message that’s mean or belittling in an attempt to bully other users,” TeenSafe says. “It’s especially problematic because bullying can be done anonymously without any way of stopping it.”
Ask.fm is a “question and answer” style social network. Many times users will receive negative messages without knowing who the messages came from. TeenSafe says the app is “an extremely dangerous app that has already been linked to nine cases of suicide in the U.S. and U.K.”
Whisper is a smartphone app that allows users to share secrets anonymously.
TeenSafe says the app is on their “blacklist” because, “Any app that allows users to post anonymously is going to be rampant with cyberbullying and Whisper is no exception.”
Snapchat is a social media app in which users can send pictures that will disappear after a few seconds.
The app is on TeenSafe’s list of “use with caution” apps.
“It’s best not to allow your teen to use Snapchat unless you can be absolutely sure they’ll use it responsibly and won’t send anything inappropriate,” the parental app states.
Kik is a free instant messenger app for smartphones.
TeenSafe discourages the use of Kik because, “online predators can and have used Kik to search a particular age range to find victims in their area.”
While Nicole Lovell’s mother says she “had tried to stay on top of” her daughter’s Internet activity, she was “not aware of the extent” of what Nicole was doing on social media.