Apps for Smartphones and Devices Parents Need to Know


COLORADO SPRINGS — As our families transition into another school year, our teens are more connected than ever on more devices. That’s why security experts say parents should familiarize themselves with smartphone apps and what exactly they are for.

Did you know that there is an app that looks like a calculator, but you open it and it’s a secret messaging app?

From those hidden messaging apps to video streaming, gaming, photo sharing, and dating, there are apps available for download that can do it all.

While the apps themselves can in many cases be harmless, the information shared in these spaces and the way people use it to interact with our loved ones can create safety issues that experts say our families should talk about.

“I have a daughter who just went to college this week, so it’s one of those things where as she was going through the college application process and stuff, you have to pay attention to what you post on social media. said Colorado Springs parent Daniel Luu.

He now has a teenager in middle school and a teenager in high school. Both have smartphones with apps he has had to express his concerns about how they are being used.

“The bottom line is that if you don’t communicate with your children, someone else will. Right? Because we don’t live in a bubble,” Luu said.

Recently, law enforcement across the country issued alerts for parents to familiarize themselves with more than a dozen smartphone apps where teens can interact with strangers, share photos and videos, make cyberbullying experience and give up their exact locations. Luul says that as a parent, this warning is helpful.

“When your kids talk about these things, it’s not just someone who’s local, it can be anywhere in the world,” Luu said. “You just don’t know who they’re talking to. I think it is very helpful for the parent to be knowledgeable about this and research it. »

I took this list of apps to school safety expert Susan Payne who says she’s seen cases where teenagers get into trouble with these apps.

“Sometimes they have gone so far as to ask someone to exchange photos, maybe sexually explicit photos, that all of a sudden they demand financial payment so as not to contact their friends and they will make really crazy things like capturing their followers on instagram and saying I know who your followers are and I’m going to send this to them. We really have to be concerned about the impact this is having on our kids,” said Payne, who founded the Safe2Tell program.

Luu says that with these kinds of dangers in the end, he had to take responsibility for protecting his children.

“It’s one of those things where I’ll say I’m going to check your phone. Don’t make me do it. I have the ability to do it. I want to trust you on that,” Luu said.

We know these aren’t easy conversations, so here are some steps you can take right now to help teens stay safe on their devices:

Here’s a look at the alert issued by law enforcement with descriptions of the apps they think parents should know about:

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