With the widespread use of smartphones among preteens and teens, schools are finding a number of mobile apps that are a distraction in the classroom and are being used for cyberbullying, sexting and accessing pornography, all of which are prohibited in schools.
We strongly recommend that all parents be proactive in monitoring smartphone and tablet use. With that in mind, parents should be aware of these popular apps:
Allows users to ask questions from other Ask.fm users with the option of anonymity; often used for cyberbullying
“Flirting” app designed to match people through GPS location; users can send messages, videos and photos; no authentication requirements
Text-only messaging app that erases messages after a set period of time; claims users can safely send private or sensitive information
This app was rebranded after it was removed from the App Store; intended to match Facebook friends for, among other things, casual sexual encounters
While Facebook does restrict pornographic material, links from posts may use Facebook’s in-app browser, which bypasses restricted browsers and can lead users to pornographic websites
Adult content can frequently appear on this photo and video sharing app
Messaging app that works without a data plan of WiFi network; users can send texts using iPads or iPods on a closed network within a 100-foot area
Allows users to upload video status updates and share video content through major social media networks; no privacy settings
Instant messaging app that acts as a free texting application; no parental controls; common avenue for sexting
Omegle & ChatRoulette
Chat services that allow anonymous users to randomly chat with strangers using instant messaging, video (webcam), or microphone
Shots of Me
“Selfie only” photo-sharing app; direct messaging feature for private photo-sharing between users; ability to show user’s location
Another flirting app designed for users to meet and chat with new people; users are assigned to age groups, but ages are not verified; no private messaging, but users may post photos of themselves
Photo and video messaging app in which users take photos, record videos, add text and drawings and send them to recipients with a set time limit for how long recipients may view the “Snaps” (1 to 10 seconds); content is deleted from recipient’s device after set time frame, but not Snapchat servers
Online dating app; allows users 12+ to view profiles and connect with users within a geographical area
Microblogging service that allows users to create content and post media on a chort-form blog; high amount of pornographic material
Another network with worldwide popularity, Twitter is also liable to contain adult and other inappropriate content that is easily accessed
Twitter video app that allows users to create and share 6-second videos; age limit set at 17+ after pornographic and suggestive clips began appearing; “kid-friendly” version of app exists where young children can view videos that have been vetted by developers.
Allows users to send text, audio, video, and photo messages with no limits or fees; 16+ age rating; automatically connects users to all people in their address book who use the app
Users submit anonymous questions or confessions as text over a photo or graphic; other users are allowed to comment and send private messages; carries a 17+ rating
Allows users to post anonymous comments to other users in a 10 mile radius; used for threats and cyberbullying; app was intended for “college age and above”
Jailbreaking and Rooting
“Jailbreaking” an iPhone or “Rooting” an Android phone are terms for hacking one’s own device to lift restrictions on allowable applications. Jailbroken phones can download third-party apps not sold on he App Store or Google Play. Instructions for jailbreaking and rooting are widely available online. Cydia (icon pictured) functions like the App Store for jailbroken phones. Users can find and install open source software packages and purchase modifications for jailbroken phones, such as apps that allow users to hide icons for questionable apps.
1174’ – Party meeting place
182 – I hate you
420 – Marijuana
53X – Sex
8 – Oral sex
9 – Parent watching
99 – Parent gone
ADR – Address
ATTYO – Anything that turns you on
Broken – Hungover from alcohol
CD9 – Parents around/Code 9
CID – Acid (the drug)
CU46 – See you for sex
DOC – Drug of choice
F2F – Face-to-face
GNOC – Get naked on camera
GYPO – Get your pants off
IPN – I’m posting naked
IWSN – I want sex now
KFY – Kiss for you
KOTL – Kiss on the lips
KPC- Keeping parents clueless
LH6 – Let’s have sex
LMIRL – Let’s meet in real life
MOS – Mom over shoulder
NIFOC – Naked in front of computer
NSFW – Not suitable for work
PIR – Parent in room
POS – Parent over shoulder
PRON – Porn
RU/18 – Are you over 18?
SUGARPIC – Suggestive or erotic photo
TDTM – Talk dirty to me
THOT – That hoe over there
TWD – Texting while driving
WTTP – Want to trade pictures?
WYCM – Will you call me?
WYRN – What’s your real name?
Julie Belnap says
Parents should also be aware that GOOGLE has apps that “hide” information. Some of them are known as “spyhelp”, “best kept secret folder”, “vaulty”, etc. But some of these apps are also DISGUISED as “school helps” ; one is called “Calculator Percentage” for instance to give the impression that it is an appropriate app that assists with math. These are apps that HIDE pictures. They are apps that require a password to open it but once you put in the password it opens up pictures. This information was from KSL (The Browser) afternoon tech radio broadcast.
Lynn Shaw says
Regarding apps that like what Julie Belnap talked about, one such app is called “Audio Manager”. It works as an audio manager, but it is used to hide and encrypt pictures, videos, applications, music, messages, and more. It can be used for positive and negative. I use it to help keep pictures of my family secure on my phone.
I figure it is an app that parents might want to be aware of too.