As we prepare for the new school year, the Abbotsford Police Department would like to make sure parents are "in the know" about apps children may be using...and how those social media platforms may put youth at risk.
The “15 apps Parents Should Know About” campaign was recently launched by Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, following the arrest of 25 individuals who traveled to their area to have sex with someone they believed was a 14-year-old child.
All of those arrested used one or more of the 15 apps to solicit a child for sex. This campaign was launched to bring awareness to parents whose underage children may have unrestricted access to social media.
Here's the full list of apps and their descriptions:
1) MEETME: A dating social media app that allows users to connect with people based on geographic proximity. App users are encouraged to meet in person.
2) WHATSAPP: Popular messaging app that allows users to send texts, photos, voicemails, and make calls and video chats.
3) BUMBLE: Similar to "Tinder." The dating app requires women to make the first contact. Kids have been known to create fake Bumble accounts that falsify their age.
4) LIVE.ME: A live-streaming video app that uses geolocation to share videos so users can find out a broadcaster's exact location. Users can earn "cins" as a way to "pay" minors for photos.
5) ASK.FM: Known for cyberbullying. The app encourages users to allow anonymous people to ask them questions.
6) GRINDR: A dating app geared towards the LGBT community. The app gives users options to chat, share photos, and meet up based on a phone's GPS.
7) TIKTOK: A new mobile device app popular with kids. It's used for creating and sharing short videos. With very limited privacy controls, users are vulnerable to cyber bullying and explicit content
8) SNAPCHAT: One of the most popular apps in recent years. While the app promises users can take a photo/video and it will disappear, new features, including "stories", allows users to view content for up to 24 hours. Snapchat also allows users to see your location.
9) HOLLA: A self-proclaimed "addicting" video chat app that allows users to meet people all over the world in just seconds. Reviewers say they have been confronted with racial slurs, explicit content and more.
10) CALCULATOR%: Only one of several secret apps used to hide photos, videos, files and browser history.
11) SKOUT: A location-based dating app and website. While users under 17 old are unable to share private photos, kids can easily create an account with an older age.
12) BADBOO: A dating and social networking app where users can chat, share photos and videos and connect based on location. While the app is intended for adults only, teens are known to create profiles.
13) KIK: Allows anyone to contact and direct message to your child. Kids can bypass traditional messaging features. KIK gives users unlimited access to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
14) WHISPER: An anonymous social network that promotes sharing secrets with strangers. It also reveals a user's location so people can meet up.
15) HOT OR NOT: Encourages users to rate your profile, check out people in their area and chat with strangers. The goal of the app is to hook up.