Teens and preteens around North Texas are back in the classroom and they are learning about some of the newest technology from their friends. How is a parent to keep up with the latest apps when there is so much danger just a click away on smartphones?
The website educateempowerkids.org made a list of the apps it considers the most dangerous of 2017.
Among the apps cited by the website are the popular apps Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. They also list apps Music.ly, Omegle and House Party. The apps themselves are harmless, but predators use them to meet teenagers.
NBC 5 checked in with the Dallas Child Advocacy Center for resources for parents.
“Some of the things predators look for are pictures or post of kids who are lonely, who are having conflict with parents, who are putting pictures that are sexy. Those three red flags are what predators look for,” Kristen Howell said.
As tempting as it may seem, it is not recommended that you implement a social media blackout. An all or nothing approach isn’t always the answer.
“If a child breaks the first rule that they are not allowed to be on social media at all and then something scary happens; say a friend sends them a message that makes them uncomfortable or it is inappropriate, they will be reluctant to tell a parent because they’ve already crossed the first line,” Howell said.
“They are going to try to deal with it themselves and that is when the danger gets real,” she continued.
DCAC suggested talking openly with children about technology and actually let them help you understand all the new apps and what they are used for.
“The truth is parents are really afraid of technology. We hear a lot of scary things and we don’t know how to operate it as fluently as our kids, so it can be pretty intimidating,” Howell said. “We’ve found that parents are even more afraid of the tech talk then they are the sex talk.”
You can make manageable rules; specific for your family.
“For us at our house, you have to know the person IRL [which means] in real life and that’s the only way you can have a private message with somebody,” Howell said.
See the Full List: The Most Dangerous Apps of 2017