The internet can be a scary place for parents.
Sixty per cent of mums and dads say they’re concerned their child is exposed to risks online, including contacting strangers, accessing inappropriate content and being the victim of bullying. That’s according to a survey by Australia’s eSafety commissioner.
While we don’t want to make anyone more alarmed than they already are, there are a number of apps cyber safety experts warn that parents should be wary of.
If your child or teen has any of these apps on their phone or tablet, you might want to consider deleting them, or monitoring their use.
Omegle is an app that’s designed to allow strangers to chat or video-chat with each other anonymously. If that doesn’t already sound like an invitation for predators, the app’s website explicitly says as much.
“Omegle (oh·meg·ull) is a great way to meet new friends,” the website explains. “When you use Omegle, we pick someone else at random and let you talk one-on-one. To help you stay safe, chats are anonymous unless you tell someone who you are (not suggested!), and you can stop a chat at any time. Predators have been known to use Omegle, so please be careful.”
Advice for what you should and shouldn’t tell your child if they’re being bullied. Post continues.
Yubo (formerly Yellow)
A US police department issued a warning about this app on Facebook in August last year.
The app was then known as Yellow – it’s rebranded, presumably to get away from its reputation as “Tinder for kids”.
Yubo is aimed at 13 to 17-year-olds and is meant to allow Snapchat users to meet “friends” in their area, but could equally be used to arrange sexual hook-ups or for predators to pose as teens and lure children to meet in person, the Lexena Police Department warned.
Like Tinder, the app allows teens and kids to swipe left and right depending on whether they want to connect with strangers or not.
“What makes the Yellow app so concerning is that it embodies one of the most dangerous aspects of social media: It allows teens the ability to easily meet people (strangers) outside their parent’s sphere of knowledge or control.”
“If that did not sound dangerous enough, Yellow is matching you with another person geographically near them, facilitating face-to-face meetings.”
Sarahah wasn’t made for cyber-bullying, but experts agree it may as well have been. The app allows kids – and adults – to write anonymous messages to others and has been described as “a breeding ground for hate”.