GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Now that kids are on summer break, they’ll likely be spending more time on their phones and tablets.
As helpful and fun as apps are, they can become harmful if used incorrectly.
So it’s time for a pop quiz for parents. Do you recognize any of these names? Mappen, Holla, ASKfm, Whisper, and Hot or Not.
These are trending apps that every parent should know about this summer.
Dino Baskovic, a Grand Valley State University professor of communications and technology, discussed the potential risks of each.
1. Mappen is an app that lets users share and see locations of their friends.
“You may not want your kids to reveal their location all the time to their friends because there’s the danger or risk of abuse from friends of friends, and bad actors,” Baskovic said.
2. Holla is a random video chat app that allows users to meet people from around the world.
“You would think it’s harmless fun, but the reality is there is the potential for abuse where people are trying to connect with Holla users,” he said.
3. ASKfm lets users to ask anonymous questions.
“It opens up potential for awkward questions that may be damaging may bring on cyberbullying,” Baskovic said.
4. Whisper is an app where users can post and chat anonymously.
“The downside for parents and for law enforcement officials, it makes it that much more difficult to safely monitor minors' conversations in a healthy way,” Baskovic said.
5. And finally Hot or Not allows users to have their picture rated by strangers and connect.
“The problem here is it's being used secretly as an online dating and meet me privately feature that has some unintended consequences,” he said.
But parents can help by staying informed and having open conversations with their kids.
“Parents should know the risks and should talk with their kids on how these apps work and how they should not work,” Baskovic said.
Since these tech trends rapidly change, Baskovic recommends parents research what’s out there a few times a year and keep open conversations going with their kids.
Other apps you might not know to watch out for include: Omegle, Yubo, Kik, Wishbone and Sarahah.
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