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Does your kid have access to a Smart phone? Then it’s about the time you know about few apps that are famous with kids and young adults. Most of these applications are designed to keep your children’s online chat as private as possible. Some permit them to take a picture and share it while keeping it secure from the curious eyes of parents. What’s frightening is the fact that these applications allow them to share pictures, and chat not only with friends but with outsiders as well.

Here are some of the renowned applications that children and teenagers use to keep their online chat as private as possible:

WhatsApp

WhatsApp Messenger is an open source mobile messaging application that permits exchange of texts without having to pay for SMS. There is no specific age restriction.

What are the possible issues? Unlimited photo and video sharing, texting include the skill to share location to anyone on the friend list surge the threat of Sexting (the technique of sending or receiving of photos, texts, or videos of a sexual nature). Whatsapp doesn’t use SSL encryption – that might permit hackers to view private data via unsecure WiFi networks.

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Instagram

Instagram is an image sharing application. That permits users to take a picture from their photo library or click one, apply filters to it and upload it.

The frightening part: Use of Hash tags for the images permits anyone (including unknown person) with access to Instagram to see the image and the private data related with it. This ups the risk for Sexting. And additional issue is the fact that it permits searching for images without the danger of these being reflected in the browser history.

Kik Messenger

This application doesn’t stop itself to just texting, Kik users can share videos, images, sketches, etc. Currently the developers introduced Kik Cards and features built in HTML5 that permits users to send YouTube videos, share and find images, Reddit pictures, GIFs, etc.

What are the issues? While the age limit is 17+, the application is quite famous among school kids aged 12-16. The application gives access to data to anyone with a ‘Kik username’. Increases the chance risk of exposing personal data to strangers as one has to just type a name to see details. Online stalking by strangers and sexting are huge issues.

Snapchat

Permit users to send a video or an ugly selfie (a modified picture that is supposed to be funny) to their friends or anyone they like to send it to. The app then destroys the image after the user has received after a period of 10 -15 seconds.

What are problems? Receiver can take a screenshot of the picture. It increases the chance of cyberbullying and/or sexting.

Liveprofile

LiveProfile permit users to send unlimited photos, texts, and videos to anyone on their accepted friend list.

Concerns? Their Facebook page has a wide range of individuals from all over the world giving away their user IDs. The application offers an option to team up or interact as a group – a facility that might be misused by cyber bullies to gang-up against one individual. Online stalking by strangers and sexting are other dangers related with the use of these applications.

The list as given above is not comprehensive, everyday or month a new social application is created and the latest one to do so ‘Pheed’. The app guarantees to be the new craze for kids all over the world.

What you can do?

•    Become familiar with your kid’s Smartphone technology. Learn how diverse facilities work on these phones.
•    The mobile tracking software available. You can use a device to track your child’s SMS, MMS, phone calls, etc. online. Stealth Genie permits you to track all the activities on WhatsApp.
•    Join your child on his/her Instagram account. This can also be accessed from PC. Searching under your child’s name will reveal “public” data being posted by or about your child.
•    To stop download of this app by children less than 17 years of age, make sure that your Smartphone has a download restriction based on their content rating. For instance in an iPhone you can restrict by Settings > General > Restrictions > Allowed Content > Apps.
•    Snapchat has privacy settings that can be adjusted to receive and send messages to friends only. You can also teach your child regarding the same.
•    Give a basic phone to your children.
•    Most importantly, start communicating frankly but nicely with your children. Educate them about the dangers of misusing the smart phone.
•    McAfee Antivirus is reputed software that can protect device from these threats. The best part is that if user faces difficulty in using the software, he or she can contact McAfee Tech Support toll free number for assistance. The technicians are always available to fix the issues of customers by taking the remote access.

Education is crucial. As a parent, you may not be able to stop your kid from downloading the applications, but it is important to be able to know the implications and the ways to deal with such problems. Keep yourself updated and aware and communicate with your child.

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