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In this age of social media you cannot inform yourself enough on the apps and dangers that are present. We will continue to update this site with current information, events & new apps that come out. Please check back frequently.

Hiding Apps Popular Among Teens

Disguised as pro-privacy apps, there are many apps out there that, once downloaded and encrypted with a code, can hide photos, videos, messages, emails and apps themselves, from mom and dad. Many will be advertised as "if you let someone use your phone..." you will still have your privacy. These apps are coming out all the time, so it's impossible to show you each one. Most popular are the apps that look like calculators (and act like one until the user types in the right code). They blend right in with school apps (Edmodo, GoogleChrome, the phone's own calculator). Others are disguised as audio manager apps, or video manager apps, and could blend in with other "settings" functions on the phone. If your child has one of these apps, most assuredly, they...

Flinch is a new app that lets strangers challenge each other to staring contests

Flinch is a new iPhone app that brings the awkward childhood game, staring contests, to mobile devices. It launched last July and an updated version was released a few weeks ago. Reminisicent of Chatroulette, a once-popular video chat app, Flinch uses video conferencing to randomly pair up users. It accomplishes this via an iteration of ooVoo's intelligent video platform. The first to smile, laugh or "flinch," loses. The app uses facial recognition software to tell who breaks their serious face first. Already, the app is having some issues with inappropriate or dangerous content. People have streamed alarming things. There have also been reviews citing verbal abuse and indecent exposure by users of the app on Twitter. Toni Bridsong, a Family Safety Evangelist at Intel Security, wrote about her Flinch reservations in an April 7 blog post. Bridsong...

Is your teen using apps to keep secrets?

if you think "my teen would never sext," you might be mistaken. And if you think the only teens who sext are the ones engaging in high-risk behaviors, like drinking, using drugs or skipping school, keep reading. Studies suggest that sexting is more common than many parents might realize or want to admit. More than half the undergraduate students who took part in an anonymous online survey said they sent sexually suggestive texts when they were teenagers, according to the study by Drexel University, which was published last year by the Journal of Sexuality Research and Social Policy. Nearly 30% said they included photos in their sexts, and an astonishing 61% did not know that sending nude photos via text could be considered child pornography. Another study, this one by the University of Texas Medical Branch at...

Who Spewed That Abuse? Anonymous Yik Yak App Isn’t Telling

During a brief recess in an honors course at Eastern Michigan University last fall, a teaching assistant approached the class’s three female professors. “I think you need to see this,” she said, tapping the icon of a furry yak on her iPhone. The app opened, and the assistant began scrolling through the feed. While the professors had been lecturing about post-apocalyptic culture, some of the 230 or so freshmen in the auditorium had been having a separate conversation about them on a social media site called Yik Yak. There were dozens of posts, most demeaning, many using crude, sexually explicit language and imagery. After class, one of the professors, Margaret Crouch, sent off a flurry of emails — with screenshots of some of the worst messages attached — to various university officials, urging them...

The Key to Digital Teen Safety: Parental Engagement

Last week, I spoke with Tim Woda, the co-founder of uknowKids.com, looking for his advice on how to keep children safe growing up in the digital age. We also spoke about parent engagement, getting parents to understand that it's okay to monitor their children's online conversations with friends. Our parents did it. We can as well. Woda: There is a misconception amongst parents -- they confuse being aware with being engaged. Ten years ago, being aware was often enough to keep our kids safe online. Today, that's not enough. I hear things from parents like, "I wouldn't want to monitor my child's Facebook account because that's a violation of their privacy." When you take a step back, you have to ask yourself, is that really a private environment? You're posting on the Web...

Underage Teens Are Using Hookup App Tinder; Should Parents Be Worried?

Earlier this week, a concerned blogger raised the alarm about a troubling statistic: It seems a surprising number of users on the popular dating app Tinder are under the age of 18. "While there are plenty of twenty-, thirty- and forty-somethings on the app, there has been a reported rise of teenagers using the app," wrote Samantha Escobar for lifestyle blog YourTango.com. "In fact, 7 percent of users are between 13 and 17, and that's ... uncomfortable, to say the least." Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen disclosed this stat in February during a conversation with The Guardian about the app's changing demographics. "Early on, over 90 percent of our user base was aged between 18 and 24," Mateen said. "Today, that number is about 51 percent. 13-17 year-olds are now over 7 percent, 25-32 year-olds...

Stories of 7 Teen Suicides Because of Ask.fm Bullying

Bullying does not just take place in school or at any physical place. Unfortunately, there is what is known as cyber bullying. Although this happens with just the computer monitor or a device in front, it is as cruel as any other type of bullying. Some may say that this is not even serious, but cyber bullying can damage a person emotionally and mentally for a long time. What is even worse is that, this can result to suicide. Learn the stories of ask.fm bullying related suicides. Take for instance the unfortunate events with Ask.fm Bullying related suicides where seven young people ended their life because of social media bullying. Ask.fm Suicide Stories #1 A 14-year old girl was found hanged in her bedroom after receiving hate messages on her ask.fm page where they...

Parents May Be Liable for What Their Kids Post on Facebook, Court Rules

Parents can be held liable for what their kids post on Facebook FB -4.63%, a Georgia appellate court ruled in a decision that lawyers said marked a legal precedent on the issue of parental responsibility over their children’s online activity. The Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that the parents of a seventh-grade student may be negligent for failing to get their son to delete a fake Facebook profile that allegedly defamed a female classmate. The trouble started in 2011 when, with the help of another student, the boy constructed a Facebook profile pretending to be the girl. He used a “Fat Face” app to make her look obese and posted profane and sexually explicit comments on the page depicting her as racist and promiscuous, according to court documents. When the girl found out about it,...

Police investigating nude photos of Cornelius and Huntersville students shared online

Police said Wednesday they’ve identified the male student who created and shared an online Dropbox file containing about 75 photographs of nude female students in the Huntersville-Cornelius area. The girls took the pictures of themselves but never intended for them to be available online, Detective Kenny Lynch of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Police Department said at a news conference at the Government Center. “All were self-made and shared with someone they trusted,” Lynch said. Lynch declined to identify the male student who created the file, his age and the school he attends but said “it’s not necessarily” a CMS school. Dropbox is an online file sharing site. Lynch said police are consulting with the district attorney’s office on what if any charges could be filed. A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department report identifies the case as “pornography/obscene material.” The girls are...

A Teenager’s View on Social Media – Written by an actual teen

I read technology articles quite often and see plenty of authors attempt to dissect or describe the teenage audience, especially in regards to social media. However, I have yet to see a teenager contribute their voice to this discussion. This is where I would like to provide my own humble opinion. For transparency, I am a 19-year-old male attending The University of Texas at Austin. I am extremely interested in social media’s role in our society as well as how it is currently evolving. Thus, the views I provide here are my own, but do stem from observation of not only my own habits but my peers’ habits as well. This article will not use any studies, data, sources, etc. This is because you can easily get that from any other technology news website...