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The reality of teen apps

The development of mobile apps has greatly changed the way we talk, see and deal with anyone we interact with. From the original hand written letters to recorded voice messages or sending emails to just poking someone in Facebook, clearly, applications (apps) have and are continuously evolving. The evolution of how we interact goes hand in hand with how we use the apps.

Teenagers will always find ways to make things exciting and interesting and sometimes their use of apps to manage their digital lifestyle can often be misleading.    Remember, apps were originally created with the best intentions in mind, and so it is up to its users to properly choose and appropriately use them.  Listed are apps every teenager should take caution of and every parent should know about.

1

ASK.fm

It claims to be a safe environment where you can express yourself freely. Ask.fm is a site where anyone could ask the user personal and mundane questions anonymously or not. It’s up to the user on how honestly or wittily they can answer every question. The danger is that if words are posted without the proper tone, it can cause many rifts. Just toggle off offensive and defamatory questions for your own peace of mind. Always remember that you don’t really owe others an explanation.

2

Grindr/Tinder

Grindr and Tinder are dating sites for gays and heterosexuals respectively. Every user gets a chance to find love by selecting other users based on their greatly photo-shopped profiles. If you like what you see, just swipe right or if you don’t, quickly swipe left to pass. If you’re lucky and the one you swiped right also likes you, then it’s a match (made in Tindr). These sites offer quick hook-ups.

3

Facebook

Facebook is a social network site that allows people from around the world to connect. They may be former classmates, colleagues, distant relatives and friends. The sad part is that pedophiles and those with perverted interests lurk in the site as well. They are well hidden because they pose as normal people.  But in reality, they stalk, download or take a screen shot of your child’s photo. Be wary with invites coming from strangers. It’s best not to confirm if you have no idea who they are.

4

Whisper

Whisper is an online community where every user can share their real thoughts and exchange stories. Think of it as your virtual AA (Alcoholic Anonymous) or GA (Gamblers Anonymous) meeting where people gather to be heard and be supported. But most often than not, this is the avenue where they express their steamy desires and confessions to solicit intimate encounters. Don’t fall trap to it by just taking everything you read with a grain of salt.

5

ooVoo

This is a free app that allows users to call, text and video chat of up to 12 people. The danger is that anyone can search, see and contact other users, not unless they restrict public access. While it would be great to do group meetings and study sessions with the help of the app, others use it for prostitution and other illicit acts.The best way to avoid unwanted callers is to restrict your settings.

6

Snapchat

Snapchat is considered as the sexting capital of apps without the responsibility as the image or video conveniently self-destructs after a small period of time. But seriously, this has been created to share photos and videos between friends. Just be careful what you post because others could take screenshots of your naughty photos and share them for the world to see.

The (cyber) world is a big and dangerous place; but that shouldn’t hinder any parent to allow their children to explore it. The apps and the inherent curiosity and mischievousness of humans will always be there but as long as every parent has set proper guidelines, limitations and self-awareness imbibed to their children from 1 to 92, there’s a high probability that every user will be just fine.