There are over 5 million apps available for download onto your phone, covering a variety of different functions. While the majority of these apps are quite harmless, some of them have a sinister side. Some popular teen apps are being used by teens for several dangerous activities and allow teens to hide these activities from their parents and other responsible adults in their lives.
Why Parents Should Worry More About Popular Teen Apps
Parents often may not even know what apps are being used by their teens, and if they do, they often do not understand what each app is being used for. Popular apps that are thought to be harmless may include features that allow teens to engage in harmful activities.
Further, popular teen apps allow teens to share personal information and their locations with strangers. They may expose teens to cyber-bullying, explicit content, avenues for purchasing drugs, information about illicit drug use and may even encourage teens to develop relationships with complete strangers.
Dangerous Apps for Teens
Some of the most dangerous apps that teens use may expose personal information, convince teens to develop relationships with strangers or expose teens to drug use and access to drugs.
Snapchat allows teens to send messages or pictures that can only be viewed for up to ten seconds before they are permanently deleted from the app and unable to be accessed again. Snapchat can be used for sexting, bullying and arranging meetings with strangers.
Because the messages or pictures sent by Snapchat are only briefly viewable, it allows teens to engage in many different types of potentially dangerous communications without this information being able to be reviewed by a parent.
Instagram accounts can be both public and private and can allow your teen to connect with complete strangers and send private messages and photos. Instagram allows messages and photos that are deleted after 24 hours and may allow your teen to send and receive explicit images, be exposed to cyber-bullying and communicate with strangers about anything.
Ask.fm allows your teen to create a profile and provide personal information to anyone else who has the app. On this app, users can ask and answer personal questions, and cyber-bullying is a common problem. Ask.fm also allows teens to organize drug sales and talk about drug use without parents being aware.
Kik is a messaging app that allows your teen to communicate with others who have the app. This app is not secure, and child exploitation has become a problem on this app.
Police investigations have revealed that Kik is used by pedophiles to groom children, and explicit content is frequently sent and received using this app. Kik has also been associated with suicides and allows teens to meet drug dealers and be exposed to information about drug use.
TikTok is a video-sharing app that allows teens to share videos with anyone else using the app. Teens are also able to view videos created by anyone else with a public profile. TikTok also allows teens to make videos with background music that may contain crude language or sexual content. This app may provide a way for teens to share information about drug or alcohol use over video.
Tellonym is an app that allows users to make a profile with personal information and post questions. Other users can then post answers anonymously to the initial question. This app has lead to cyber-bullying and harassment. Further, Tellonym allows users to promote drug and alcohol use to minors anonymously.
WhatsApp is a messaging app that allows your teen to message other people. Teens will often choose to use this messaging app because the messages, photos and videos that are sent and received through the app can be saved off of their phones, allowing them to save this information in ways that it will not be found if parents examine their phones.
Drug Code Words Used in Teen Apps
When teens message or text each other using cellphones or apps, they may use abbreviations or teenage code words that are designed not to be understood by parents. This allows teens to discuss drug use or self-harming behaviors without parents noticing these discussions, even when they review their teen’s messages. Some common messaging code words used by teens include:
- DOC – Drug of Choice
- 420 – Getting High / Marijuana Reference
- KMS – Kill Myself
- 1174 – Meet at a Party Spot
- PAL – Parents are Listening
- KYS – Kill Yourself
If your teen is using an app that is known to have safety issues for teenagers, be sure that you educate yourself about the details of that particular app. Some apps may have parental safety features that allow parents to protect their teen’s privacy or restrict and monitor their activity.
Other apps may provide a way for your teen to communicate with others without you ever knowing. These apps have several safety issues, and you should consider having your teen delete these apps and advise that they do not use them in the future.
If your teen may be using apps to further a drug addiction or is trying to be evasive about using illegal drugs, then you should strongly consider seeking professional help. Next Generation Village has a strong record of helping teens with drug addictions to overcome their addictions. Reach out to one of our understanding team members to learn how your teen can start on their path to recovery today.