Not so long ago a 10-year-old with a cell phone was as common as a cop that hates donuts. Nowadays, though, seeing a 10-year-old with a smartphone is not something very uncommon anymore, and while a lot of people agree that it’s not something very normal either, it’s still a hard reality– kids and technology meet way too early. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with a kid having a phone so he could stay in touch with his parents, but modern phones can do so much more than just make and receive calls, and kids are just… kids. If your kid owns a smartphone, here’s a list of apps that shouldn’t be on his phone.
Snapchat is a photo-centered chat app designed to offer a fake sense of privacy by having the photos sent through the app self-destruct 10 seconds after they’ve been opened. Now, it doesn’t really take a rocket scientist to figure it out that a kid will eventually think about using the app to send indecent photos, thinking that it’s totally safe to do so, since they’ll automatically disappear after 10 seconds. The catch, though, is that there’s nothing preventing the recipient of the photos from simply taking a screenshot with the incriminating pictures, and the next thing you know your neighborhood is full of fliers with the supposedly-deleted photo – not exactly the thing you’d want your kid to become famous for now, is it?
At a first glance there’s nothing wrong with Vines. We’re talking about six-second video here – what can be the harm in them? Well, nothing; except the fact that they’re causing so much hysteria that everyone is trying to create “the perfect Vine” and become famous. Since fame and popularity are areas of major interest for kids and teens, they’ll be willing to do stupid and possibly dangerous things just for the sake of attracting attention and becoming Internet celebrities. Are 6 seconds of celebrity worth six weeks with a cast? You would definitely say a no to that, but are you sure your kid thinks the same way as he attempts to break the Vine record for the most badass jump from a second-story window?
One of the first rules you teach your kids is that it’s not ok to talk to strangers, and that’s exactly what Chatroulette allows them to do. The app is a chat platform that connects each user with another random user of the platform. What’s even scarier is the fact that it also has video and audio capabilities, so not only will your kid textwith some weirdo, but they will also see and hear him. Oh, and there’s nudity. Lots and lots of nudity. And not even the good kind of nudity.
4. Yik Yak
While the idea behind Yik Yak is quite an interesting approach to meeting new people, the app is definitely unsuitable for youngsters. Yik Yak basically allows the user to post messages on a public board accessible to other users in the vicinity. What’s wrong with this is that it share the user’s location – something a kid shouldn’t do, especially over the Internet. The only instance when it’s ok to share your location over the Internet is when ordering pizza, and Yik Yak doesn’t offer such feature.
Kids love secrets, but what they love even more is sharing them with someone. Whisper is set to be the place to do so anonymously. Kids will be tempted to launch rumors and gossip under the shield of anonymity, but the whole thing can easily take a wrong turn and transform into bullying, or worse. If you can’t convince your kid that sharing secrets across a public space is bad, maybe you should hint that someone might do the same with them and tell the world how they didn’t manage to learn how to use the toilet until they were three years old. We’re totally kidding, don’t do that, but keep an eye for the Whisper app.
This is the guest post by Jason Phillips and Train Games 365!