DENVER -- A shocking number of apps used by millions on a daily basis can be abused for much darker purposes. The goal of many advocacy groups is to educate parents and families on risks.
Apps like Facebook Messenger, Omegle, KIK, Snapchat, WhatsApp and others are frequently talked about and used by millions.
What many parents aren't aware of are the risks for children who may want nothing from those apps but to use them for their intended purposes -- networking with friends.
Protect Young Eyes is a blog with the goal of defending children from online danger. The site has compiled a list of profiles on how many popular networking apps and websites can be abused. The site also offers valuable tips.
The following five tips can be crucial to helping parents navigate the often muddy waters of digital parenting.
1.) There is no privacy when posting to the internet. Regardless of what profile settings a child uses, if it goes onto the internet, it is viewable by multiple people. Even the most secure platforms are vulnerable to hacking.
2.) Any social networking apps that allow person-to-person communication can have very dark sides. Parents are encouraged to be involved in knowing what apps their children use, and understanding how their children use them.
3.) Knowing what apps are frequently abused can help parents avoid trouble altogether by preventing kids from becoming users of those apps.
4.) 14 percent of kids have been sexually solicited online, according to the University of New Hampshire. Although viewed by some as extreme, parents can install software to help monitor what their kids are doing on their mobile devices.
5.) Technology after dark gets, well, dark. Advocates say darkness online rules the night, and nothing good is likely to happen online after 10 p.m. for children. One tip by advocates is to mandate a mandatory turn-in or turn-off time for electronics.
Parents should also know the top five apps to keep an eye out for.
- Omegle, a social networking and messaging app.
- Whisper, a social networking and messaging app.
- KIK, an instant messaging app that allows kids to share pictures, along with social networking.
- Calculator+ and other similar apps. These are applications that allow kids to hide photos in a secret vault under the guise of a mundane calculator.
Those, in addition to an emerging app in popularity called Musical.ly, which allows predators to view videos of young children online, round out some of the emerging apps that allow abuse.
Learn more about the Musical.ly app, and why parents need to be educated about it.