Authorities are warning parents about 15 apps that could be on your child’s phone or tablet and the dangers that come with them.
The Sarasota County, Florida Sheriff’s Office recently busted 25 people in an operation to protect children from online predators and human trafficking. Police say each suspect engaged in conversations on social media and mobile apps. Police say one of the suspects rode a three-wheel bicycle to a home while in possession of cocaine and another brought with him two firearms and several narcotics.
“Unfortunately, the internet allows for easy and anonymous access to children by strangers who are hiding behind a computer screen,” said Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight.
The apps include:
MEETME, a dating social media app that allows users to connect with people based on geographic proximity. The app’s users are encouraged to meet in person.
WHATSAPP, a messaging app that allows users to send texts, photos, voicemails, and make calls and video chats.
BUMBLE, a dating app. Kids have been known to use Bumble to create fake accounts and falsify their age.
LIVE.ME, a live-streaming video app that uses geolocation to share videos so users can find out a broadcaster’s exact location. Users can earn coins as a way to pay minors for photos.
ASK.FM is known for cyber bullying. The app encourages users to allow anonymous people to ask them questions.
GRINDR, a dating app geared towards gay, bi and transgender people. The app gives users options to chat, share photos and meet up based on a smartphone’s GPS.
TIKTOK, a new app popular with kids for making and sharing short videos. With limited privacy controls, users are vulnerable to cyber bullying and explicit content.
SNAPCHAT, one of the most popular apps in recent years. New features include allowing users to view content for 24 hours. Snapchat also allows users to see your location.
HOLLA, a self-proclaimed addicting video chat app that allows people all over the world to meet each other in seconds. Reviewers say they have been confronted with racial slurs, explicit content and more.
CALCULATOR%, a secret app used to hide photos, videos, files and browser history
SKOUT, a location based dating app and website. While users under 17 are unable to share private photos, kids can easily create an account with an older age.
BADBOO, a dating and social networking app where users can chat, share photos and videos and connect based on location. While the app is intended for adults only, teens are known to make profiles.
KIK allows anyone to contact and direct message your child. Kids can bypass traditional text messaging features. KIK gives users unlimited access to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
WHISPHER is an anonymous social network that promotes sharing secrets with strangers. It also reveals a user’s location so people can meet up.
HOT OR NOT encourages users to rate your profile, check out people in their area and chat with strangers. The goal of the app is to hook up.