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5 Apps Teenagers Use the Most in 2018 & their Hidden Dangers
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By Fiona Roberts - November 4th, 2018
Do you feel like your teenager is spending too much time online? As they probably don’t tell you much, we have internal data and survey results on what apps are the most popular in 2018. And what is the most important - what are their hidden dangers for our children.


95% of teenagers in the US have access to a smartphone, and 45% say they are online 'almost constantly'. 


Facebook used to be the biggest social network, but if you ask teenagers it is not hot any more. Can you guess which platform they are using the most now?

These are 5 of the most popular apps and websites among teenagers, that are not Facebook. Also, SCROLL ALL THE WAY DOWN TO SEE WHAT YOU CAN DO AS A PARENT.

5. KIK
Simple to use messaging app that can be used for one-on-one or group chatting.

With emojis, GIFs, messaging bots, quizzes and games, unlimited texting and intuitive interface it is no secret why teens love it. Not just texting, you can even search the Web and look for other content inside the app.

What parents need to know?

- “Stranger-danger” 

It is possible to anonimously chat in Kik with made-up usernames. There are even rumours online that the app allegedly has been used in high-profile crimes, including the murder of a 13-year-old girl and a child-pornography case.

- Covert marketing

One of the features of Kik are “promoted chats”, where brands are talking directly to the users. Teenagers should be aware of it and not make unintended purchases in the app.


There are even rumours online that the app allegedly has been used in high- profile crimes, including the murder of a 13-year-old girl and a child pornography case.

4. WhatsApp
WhatsApp is a platform for text, image, video, and audio messaging as well as voice and video calls. It allows one-to-one and group messaging. There are no messaging limits or fees.

What parents need to know?

- It can be pushy

The app pushes users to import all of their mobile contacts so the circle of “messaging friends” can get very wide in no time. As it also allows you to add other people in groups, your children can be added to group chats of people they don’t even know directly. 

- Cyberbullying

The recent story below is one of the most violent abuses of the (otherwise pretty harmless) WhatsApp:


“Here's how it goes. Your kid adds a mysterious phone number to their WhatsApp contacts. 

The number then sends them violent images, and orders them to follow grotesque orders, often involving posting images and videos of self-harm or suicide. 

Usually the person claims to know personal information about the player, and threatens them if they don't follow orders. 

Recently one of such cases lead to death of 13-years old girl in Argentina.”

3. Snapchat
Snapchat is a messaging app which is mostly used by teens. It offers messaging that lets users put a time limit on the pictures and videos they send before they disappear. 

Most teens use the app to share goofy or embarrassing photos without the risk of them going public. 

What parents need to know?

- Encourages sending inappropriate content

The pictures sent in the app disappear in a few seconds, which gives a fake sense of anonymity and encourages sending embarrassing content for fun. Needless to say that even when the content can not be reached by users anymore, it stays in the servers. And receivers can easily just take a printscreen and keep your pictures.

- Sexting

Snapchat’s disappearing pictures are also a commonly used tool for sending appealing intimate or even nude photos of themselves. Even if some teenagers would never send their intimate pictures to others on other platforms, they might like playing with it in Snapchat as the photos disappear in a few seconds. 

- Sending money

It is not only a media sharing tool, as it is also possible to send money through Snapchat. That opens it to potential abuses, especially when it comes to young and naive users.

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      "Results of recent studies on teenagers connected more time
       
on social media with greater unhappiness."

2. Instagram
Instagram is the fastest growing social media nowadays that is mostly used for posting photos and publishing daily Stories (a line of videos and pictures that is only available for 24 hours). 

It lets users make, edit, and share photos and 15-second videos, either publicly or within a private network of followers. It also lets you apply fun filters and effects to your photos, making them look more artistic.

What parents need to know?

- Teens like to collect likes

Online “likes” are sadly an important measure of success among teens. Many youngsters are crossing all kinds of lines to create a content that is “likeable”. And it can negatively affect their self-esteem if they are only posting to validate their popularity.

- Public photos are the default

Photos and videos shared on Instagram are public unless privacy settings are adjusted.


1. YouTube
"In 2018, YouTube became the most popular social app among American 13- to 18- year-old teens."
The video sharing platform is now more popular than ever. With influencers and vloggers posting video content that teens adore, they are spending hours every day watching (and posting) the videos.

What parents need to know?

- Youtube vlogers and influencers as role models

Ask your teen whose videos they are watching the most on Youtube. Then take 20 minutes and check some of their content. Sadly, the most exagerated, fake and disturbing videos sometimes get the most virality on Youtube. 


- Posting personal content

Videos on Youtube are by default public. Once they are out the content stays out. 

Posting videos that teens will be embarrassed about later on or even posting embarrassing videos of others ("cyberbullying") are some of the cons of the popular video platform.

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"Highly inappropriate video of teenage Youtube star vlogger Logan Paul laughing and having disturbing comments on the suicide victims had quickly gone viral among teens in 2018."

- Posting personal content

Videos on Youtube are by default public. Once they are out the content stays out. 

Posting videos that teens will be embarrassed about later on or even posting embarrassing videos of others ("cyberbullying") are some of the cons of the popular video platform.


WHAT PARENTS CAN DO?
1. KNOW WHAT YOU TEEN IS DOING

Ask your child about what apps and platforms he or she is using and in what way. Openess and knowing is the most important step to protect your children when/if needed.

2. KNOW WHO THEIR CONTACTS ARE

Warn your children about unsafety of messaging and sharing content online with people they don't know. If possible, have an overview of the contact you child is keeping in their phone and apps.

 IF NEEDED, DO A BACKGROUND CHECK ON SUSPICIOUS CONTACTS (all you need  is their phone number or email). 
Learn more >>  HERE  <<.

3. HAVE A REGULAR OVERVIEW AND STEP-IN WHEN NEEDED

Stay on track with regular activities and new people your child meets online. Talk with them regularly and ask them about it.

If you think they might not be telling you everything, there are simple tools you can use to get overview of your child's mobile activities and contacts

We recommend using PublicSeek as it is effective and 100% safe.


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Start Now By Looking Up Your Kid's Phone Number
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