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What apps should parents look out for on their kids' phones?

What apps should parents look out for on their kids' phones? Photo: Sarasota County Sheriff's Office -- Twitter .

August 07, 2019 04:48 PM

(WHEC) -- With this new digital age, parents have a lot more to worry about when it comes to their kids' online presence. 

With several reports of online predators and human trafficking, authorities are reminding parents to watch out for potentially dangerous apps that their kids may be exposed to. 

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According to our Buffalo affiliate, WGRZ, a police department in Oklahoma released the names of 15 apps that parents should know about. 

Read below for the list of the 15 apps and their descriptions: 

  • MeetMe: A dating social media app that connects people based on location. Users are encouraged to meet in person.
  • WhatsApp: A messaging app that allows texts, video calls, photo sharing and voicemails with users worldwide.
  • Bumble: Similar to Tinder, but requires women to make the first contact. Law enforcement says kids and teens can create fake accounts and falsify their age.
  • Live.Me: A live-streaming app that uses geolocation to share videos. The sheriff's office said users can earn "coins" to "pay" minors for photos.
  •  Ask.FM: The sheriff's office said this app lets users ask anonymous questions and is known for cyberbullying.
  • Grindr: A dating app geared toward the LGBTQ community based on user location.
  • TikTok: A new app popular with kids lets users create and share short videos. Law enforcement said the app has "very limited privacy controls" and users can be exposed to cyberbullying and explicit content.
  • Snapchat: One of the most popular social media apps in the world, Snapchat lets users take and share photos and videos. The app also lets people see your location.
  • Holla: This self-proclaimed "addicting" video chat app lets users meet people in seconds. Law enforcement said users have seen racial slurs and explicit content.
  • Calculator+: Police say this is one of several apps that are used to hide photos, videos, files and browser history.
  • Skout: A location-based dating app that is supposed to prohibit people under 17 from sharing private photos. However, police say kids can easily create an account with a different age.
  • Badoo: A dating and social media app where users can chat and share photos and videos based on location. Police say the app is supposed to be for adults only, but they've seen teens create accounts.
  • Kik: Police say kids can bypass traditional text messaging features using this app. Kik "gives users unlimited access to anyone, anywhere, anytime," the sheriff's office said.
  • Whisper: An anonymous social network that lets users share secrets with strangers. Police say it also shows users' location so people can meet up.
  • Hot or Not: The app lets users rate profiles, check out people in their area and chat with strangers. Police say the goal of the app is to hook up.

Back in May, Apple and Google removed three apps that the FTC says allowed children as young as 12 years old to gain access. 

According to the FTC, Meet24, FastMeet and Meet4U appeared to violate the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. 

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