MamaBear’s List of Apps Parents Should Ban

MamaBear’s List of Apps Parents Should Ban | MamaBear App

Social media apps that offer anonymous profiles are becoming popular with preteens and teens. It may seem like online anonymity would offer protection and increased safety for users, but it does quite the opposite.

Apps that allow users to interact anonymously create a dangerous online arena where aggressive users can bully and harass without repercussion and casual users can accidentally connect with dangerous strangers.

The following apps have received negative publicity for their inability to moderate cyber-bullying, and many parents are calling for them to revisit their harassment policies and systems. But it seems that the companies are not reacting to the potential dangers quick enough. tested Secret’s anti-bullying system, and it failed. The site was unable to identify and remove the inappropriate content they posted, even after other users added more negative and harassing comments.

Since Secret and other similar platforms don’t include systems that can appropriately protect your child from dangerous users and harassment, MamaBear recommends not allowing the following social media apps be installed on your child’s phone.

MamaBear’s List of Apps Parents Should Ban

Yik Yak: This app shows a feed of updates that people in the surrounding geographic area have posted. Users can comment on posts or upvote them to raise them to the top of the list. Although the app is for users 17 and over, younger kids regularly create accounts. They use the platform like a gossip bulletin board and write mean things that may get upvoted to the top of the list and be difficult to take down. Users post questions and answers on other users’ questions. The site offers options to share posts on Facebook. Users often hide behind the site’s anonymity and post harassing text and photo responses to questions, or post mean questions that call out people by name.

Tinder: It shows a stream of photos of users that are located with a certain mile radius. Users say yes or no to each photo, indicating if they would like to engage with the person. If both users say yes, the app allows them to connect. Younger users should not create accounts as Tinder is intended for an audience 17 and over and is often used by adults as a “hook-up” app.

Whisper: The app allows users to anonymously share text and photos. It shows which users are nearby and allows private communicate which creates safety issues for young users who many unintentionally connect with dangerous or older users. Whisper is intended for users 12 and over, and iTunes rates it for the same age group due to “Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor, Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content and Nudity, Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References, and Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes.”

Related: The Dangers of Messaging Apps

Secret: Users can post “secrets” which are shared with friends and comment on other users’ secrets. If a friend “likes” a secret, it is then shared with their list of friends. Users can’t see who shares secrets or posts comments. Many users have complained the site does not stop anonymous users from sending harassing and bullying comments.

These apps are not set up to protect young users, and they do not have the proper systems to flag inappropriate use or moderate comments. They enable bullying and have created a dangerous social space that your kids should avoid.

Talk to your kids about acceptable social apps and actions, and ban these apps. Then protect them by connecting with their social media accounts through MamaBear Family Safety app – currently monitoring Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. The free app, available for both Andriods and iPhones, makes it easy to review how you child is interacting on social media.

7 Smart Things You Must Know About Online Safety For Kids

The number of teens on Facebook has fallen by about 3 million in the last two years. Which social media sites are now trendy among our youth that you should know about? Here are seven smart things for parents to know about teen behavior on social media. | MamaBear App

The number of teens on Facebook has fallen by about 3 million in the last two years.  Which social media sites are now trendy among our youth that you should know about?  Here are seven smart things for parents to know about teen behavior on social media and online safety for kids.

1. The Risks of No Parental Supervision

It is estimated that about 80% of teens have the ability to hide their online activity from their parents worried about the natural consequence of access being taken away with unacceptable activity.  However, parenting experts argue that instead of punishment, a much more open and collaborative attitude will help share the risks and provide more opportunities to teach the basic safety skills of accessing the Internet.

2. Get Up to Date on the Trendy Sites

The number of incidents regarding cyberbullying and sexual harassment is on the increase. The likely reason is that photo sharing on Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and others has become so easy and popular.  The so-called ‘quick delete’ on Snapchat is not as secure as many people think. The Internet trolls and bullies have never had it so good.  For example, the site ( 80 million users), allows a teen to have a public profile page. It is not uncommon to find abusive questions there like “when are you going to commit suicide?”, for example! Aside from these, check your child’s devices for kik, whatsapp and any other app that doesn’t look familiar.  As always, open the dialogue and find out who they’re chatting with and why, which apps they use the most and then keep a close eye.

3. Vlogging is Cool

Some teens love blogging about their lives on video and this trend is known as ‘vlogging’. Obviously,YouTube and also Google Hangouts are the places to be. Ask to see any videos your children have  made and check to see that there is no personal information shared or inappropriate  content that could be reputation damaging or an invasion of privacy.  The good news is that there are lots of video tutorials from legitimate sources to help kids learn the right way to vlog.  Parents should not forget this fact.

Related: YouTube Parental Controls and What Every Parent Needs to Know

4. Cyberbullying Risks

Talk to your kids about the serious risks of cyberbullying and monitor it. It has been estimated by the Anti Bullying Alliance that about 30% of parents are not talking to their children about the risks of cyberbullying.  In addition to talking, use tools like MamaBear or be aware of the need to know risky content by filtering with keyword search and notifications. Many parents require their children to share their social media username and passwords.  We support and encourage this sharing of information.

5. Sexting

With the increase in the number of selfies and instant porn sites, the rise in sexting among teens is scary. Again, parents need to talk about the risks of leaving a ‘digital tattoo’.  The consequences can ruin your child’s reputation for years to come and subsequently affect getting into preferred colleges and potentially job acceptance.

Related: Taking Responsibility for Kids and Sexting

6. Texting is Trendy

Many parents worry that their teens are becoming digital zombies when they see them texting like crazy.  About a third of kids send less than 20 texts a day but roughly 20% are sending more than 200 texts daily!  There is good news though from the US Pew Research Center whose research shows that the texting teen is just as active socially in real life. Parents can insist that mealtimes are phone free in order to catch up and bond as a family. They can also keep an eye to make sure that their teens are not relying entirely on virtual friendships. If their best friend is no longer present, that could be a red flag.

7. It is not All Bad News

More good news comes from other research which indicates that teens are not necessarily less literate because of their frenetic digital participation. There are unlimited opportunities for kids to express themselves either in a video such as Becoming YouTube or in self publishing content. Some teens have claimed that they have become more socially adept and less timid because of social media.

Although our children face more risks with increased exposure and parents have more responsibility to teach and monitor safety, it’s a great part of their worlds today.  Acceptance with boundaries and accountability is our take.

Need help connecting with your kids and ensuring they are safe on social media sites? Try the MamaBear App for free and see how easy it is to connect with your family with just a few simple steps.

Download the free app for Android here.

Download the free app for iPhone here.