SALISBURY, Md. – A list of 15 potentially dangerous apps is circulating online. While it seems like new apps come out daily, experts are using this list to educate parents.
“Parents should educate themselves on what social media platforms are out there, with the ever evolving internet,” says Amanda Chaffee, a therapist with Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services (WYFCS).
Experts say the list “15 Apps Parents Should Know About” is shedding light on the platforms that adults might not even know exist.
“Understanding that there is Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter. Those are all the big ones but there’s new ones like Tik Tok and VSCO,” says Chaffee.
Most of the apps involve talking to people or sharing videos and pictures. It’s a concept that officials say puts kids in a vulnerable position.
“Some of the younger members of our community could be preyed upon by those either out there willing to do them harm or take advantage of them sexually,” says Lt. Tim Robinson with the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office.
But officials tell 47 ABC there’s an easy way to make sure your kids stay safe. “The biggest thing parents can do is, number one, talk to their children. Talk to their kids about these apps and the dangers of what happens if you share too much information,” says Lt. Robinson.
Officials say parents should also be able to easily access their child’s phone and accounts. “The second thing that parents can do is periodically check their child’s phone. Look at their phone. See what kind of apps are on their phone,” says Lt. Robinson.
Experts say this creates a boundary while also opening the door for communication. “Just because you’re looking at your child’s app doesn’t mean that you’re going through all their comments, their likes, their photos. But if you had a concern, you have the ability to do that,” says Chaffee.
Above all else, experts recommend that parents do the research in order to stay on top of trending social media apps. “While there’s a lot of pros, there’s a lot of cons and making sure that children are safe and educated as well as the parents,” says Chaffee.
Experts also tell 47 ABC it’s important to know that some kids are even creating multiple accounts on the same app, often using a fake name for the one where they might post inappropriate content. Overall officials say the easiest things to do as a parent is to stay educated, talk to your kids and monitor the apps they use.