Study after study reveals how social media apps can influence bad behavior and habits, which begs the question for parents: are there apps that are not good for teens? The answer is yes. In fact, some of them are the most popular social media apps! Knowing what they are is one of the key steps to keeping your children safe while using their mobile devices. Here are 7 apps not fit for the social media generation.
What Social Media Apps Are Not Fit For Teens?
WARNING: Some of these apps have dangerous side effects on teens. If you notice any changes in behavior and social interaction, please talk to your kids right away. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from school or even the police.
How It Works: On Facebook, users can share various types of content such as photos, articles, and videos. They can like or comment on them. They can also use Facebook Messenger for instant chat.
With more than 1.6 billion users around the world, Facebook is the largest social media website. Its biggest demographic is between 25 and 34, who are income earners and certainly not teens. Only 18% make up the 18 to 24 age group. But the 2016 UBS Evidence Lab survey said teens are some of the most avid Facebook users. In that year alone, more than 64% of the teen respondents shared they used Facebook daily, a sharp increase from only 59% in 2014.
Facebook is used by many sex offenders to groom teens. Some are there to solicit prostitution and sell drugs. Terrorists use the social media website to recruit. Facebook Live is becoming a dangerous tool for cyberbullying and promoting violence such as suicide.
How It Works: With Instagram, sharing images and short video clips is easy. Users can add filters or use photo editing apps to manipulate images. Instagram can also be shared on other types of social media platforms.
Instagram is one of the well-known social media websites for teens. It garnered bigger success when Facebook acquired it. But do you know a new UK study suggested it’s the worst among social media apps? This is because it can potentially destroy a person’s self-esteem or body image. Users, especially young ones, are forced to compare themselves unrealistically with others.
Take Note, Parents: Instagram is one of the social media apps used in the #bluewhale challenge. It’s a scary game that usually results in violence, harm, and suicide. Instagram already provides a disclaimer every time one searches the hashtag.
How It Works: It is a text-based social media app that doesn’t require any form of registration. Instead, it follows an anonymous style of communicating. It labels people as strangers.
— No bullying (@Nobullying14) October 29, 2016
Remember IRC? Omegle works similarly. At first, because it’s text based, it sounds harmless. This, though, can mean your young ones can meet sex offenders without knowing. The app also stores IP addresses. Users can also save and share chat logs. If your child inadvertently shared private information, it can be passed on from one person to another.
How It Works: Tinder allows users to look for matches or dating partners. Making it more convenient for such setup is the fact the app locates members who are close to the users if they’re new to the area.
— Sedgrid Lewis (@Spyparent) June 5, 2017
Tinder is a dating social media app that earned notoriety for being a place to find hookups, one-night stands, and casual relationships. Teen Vogue implies the app is more like finding dates in bars. The problem is, while bars cater only to adults, Tinder allows registration of users as young as 13.
How It Works: It does function like a calculator, but you can create a pass code to access and store files privately.
A lot of these social media apps on the list are paved with good intentions. Calculator% is one of them. The app works by hiding private files behind a calculator icon. In other words, when others check your phone, all they see is the calculator app. Enter the pass code, and you now have access to hidden files. This is advisable if you love storing confidential info on the phone (think BYOD in your office). But teens using it? You should be wary about what they’re trying to conceal from you.
How It Works: Snapchat is like Instagram where users can share photos and videos complete with filters and texts to subscribers. But these files self-destruct depending on the chosen time limit.
— MERGE (@mergeworld) May 26, 2017
Snapchat is one of the top three social media apps for teens. It’s fun, exciting, cute, and almost everyone is there! The app, however, is linked to a lot of cases of cyberbullying and exposure to explicit content. Moreover, just because the shared content disappears doesn’t mean it’s gone forever. Other users can take a snapshot of what the teen sent.
How It Works: Roblox is like Minecraft, Second Life, and SIMS all rolled into one. With it, teens can build and explore virtual worlds.
The game is dynamic, creative, and easy to manipulate, which easily appeals to children. But a UK dad learned something sinister about it: it’s not exempt from pedophiles.
How can you help your kids become more responsible in using social media apps? Teach them the dos and don’ts:
What is social media? It’s not only a website or an app but also a community. Social media apps can help teens feel they belong or teach them how to interact with the rest of the world. But they can also be dangerous. Until your teens achieve a level of maturity, keen sense of awareness of their surroundings, and respect for their privacy, discourage them from using these apps.
Do you know other social media apps that should belong on the list above? Let us know the name of the app and the reason why it deserves a spot.