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Child predators are getting creative and using social media apps to lure children. Know the apps children are using, and learn what they do.
21 mobile apps that predators may use to lure children.
10 apps that help monitor your child’s internet safety.
Protect your child from online predators.
In September 2019, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office arrested more than 23 men in an online child predator sting. The sting was a four-day operation to go after human traffickers and predators who target children online.
Today, child predators no longer have to see your child on the street and entice them with candy. Criminals are becoming creative and turning to technology to lure your children with promises of money, electronics, and meetups.
The Sarasota Sheriff’s Office identified 21 mobile apps that child predators have used to lure children. According to the Sarasota Sheriff’s office, some of these apps have “minimal privacy controls,” and users can be exposed to cyberbullying and explicit content.
And, although some apps claim to be rated for ages 12 and up, they may contain “mild sexual content and nudity.” Additionally, some of these apps are also used to send racial slurs, sexual solicitations and explicit content to other users.
Children and teens often falsify their age to access the apps and then establish dating profiles, hide explicit content and password protect private messages. Child predators and sexual offenders have been known to engage under-age users online and invite them to in-person meetings, social gatherings, and chat rooms. Here is a list of apps to be aware of.
Ask.FM: An anonymous questions app known for cyberbullying that allows users to interact privately.
Badoo: A dating and social media app intended for adults only allows users to chat and share photos and videos based on location.
Best Secret Folder: A mobile app that hides password-protected explicit content, photos, and videos then provides decoy videos and alarm settings.
Bumble: A dating app that requires women to make the first contact.
Calculator+: A decoy app that hides photos, videos, files and browser history.
Grindr: A dating app targeted to the LGBTQ community based on user location.
HILY: A dating app that allows users to browse photos, engage in chats, send private videos and more.
Holla: A video chat app that encourages users to meet people locally.
Hot or Not: A mobile app that allows users to rate profiles and chat with other users.
Kik: An instant messaging app that allows users to bypass traditional text messaging features.
Live.Me: A live streaming app that sexual predators use to earn “coins” to “pay” for photos of children online.
MeetMe: A dating social media app that connects people based on location and encourages users to meet in person.
Mocospace: A social networking site and dating app that offers users to connect with teens via text messages or voice calls.
Monkey: A live video chat app that connects users to strangers worldwide, offers group chat rooms and private message options.
Plenty of Fish: A dating app and website that encourages chatting and browsing profiles of strangers.
Skout: A location-based dating app that allows users to share private photos.
Snapchat: A social networking location-based app that allows users to take and share photos and videos that quickly disappear after being seen.
TikTok: A mobile app that allows users to create and share short videos.
WhatsApp: A messaging app that allows texts, video calls, photo sharing and voicemails with users worldwide.
Whisper: A social networking app that exposes users’ locations and allows users to remain anonymous to share secrets with strangers.
Zoosk: A location-based dating app and website that utilizes a ‘carousel’ feature that matches users with random strangers.
When it comes to internet safety, 10 free or low-cost mobile security software apps are available for parents to download to help monitor a child’s virtual activity.
Bark: A mobile app that analyzes online activities to help detect cyberbullying and notifies parents of compromising actions.
FamiSafe: A mobile app that aids with cyberbullying prevention, location tracking, app blocking, web filtering, and screen time control.
KidLogger: A mobile app that helps parents monitor their child’s online activity and restrict internet usage.
MamaBear Family Safety: A mobile app that offers a 24/7 family newsfeed, a map displaying a child’s social media activity and customizable, safe place arrival and departure notifications.
Mobicip: A mobile app that allows parents to block online shopping, gambling, dating, adult sex sites, and violence.
mSpy: A mobile app that allows parents to monitor your child’s app and social networking sites, calls, text messages and everything that is typed on your child’s keyboard.
Qustodio: Free parental control computer software that gives parents a comprehensive dashboard that monitors web and search engine use, tracks Facebook and Twitter logins, and sets time controls.
Spyrix Keylogger: Computer software designed to remotely monitors your child’s online activities, keystrokes, passwords, and screenshots while they are logged on to a computer.
Web Watcher: Computer and mobile software that allows parents to remotely monitor a child’s computer and mobile device activity in real-time.
For more information about cybersecurity awareness and internet safety, visit the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
Latoya Stiggers, Writer
The Voice of Black Cincinnati
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