Smart Phone Apps Oklahoma Parents Of Teens Should Monitor

Monday, February 10th 2014, 10:11 am
By: News On 6

Tweens and teens are leaving Facebook in droves because that's where their parents hang out. And some of the apps they are gravitating to are a bit scary, to say the least.

We've learned those apps are a gateway for pedophiles and pornography websites preying on kids' posts. Monday morning, we will show you some of the apps that need the delete button to keep our tech-savvy teens safe in the digital age.

Seven-year-old Billy Vega is starting his day with a game on his iPad. His mom, Carey Sue Vega is nearby making breakfast.

Vega not only has rules of when and where Billy can play on his tech devices, but what apps are allowed on them.

"Our parents wanted to know who we were playing with and about their family's house," said Vega. "In a sense, parents are letting their kids ‘play' on apps and know nothing about them."

That's why she researched apps she was seeing time and time again on teens' and tweens' phones and tablets. She found about four apps in particular.

Read Vega's blog

"Many of these apps were created with ill intent…in the hands of kids," Vega said.

Vega said Snap-chat may be the scariest. Pictures are supposed to disappear seconds after the message is sent. However, not only does it remain on the server, but porn sites have taken the pictures to power their own sites. Kids don't know that.

"The kids they're interacting with aren't really kids. They're pedophiles posing as cute young boys or girls," Vega said.

That's the reason mom of two, Christy Grable, was quick to set rules with technology privileges.

"Know their passwords, you have the right to. Check their stuff whenever you want to," Grable said.

It's standard procedure that her 13-year-old daughter turns in her phone every night before bed. Grable scrolls through texts, checks websites her daughter visited that day and scans activity on her apps.

"And, teens, it could follow you forever. And you can get in serious trouble for it," Grable said.

Vega's list continues with Kik, Whisper and, apps that have all been linked to cyberbullying, pornography, pedophiles, sexting and suicide. She said these apps have no place on your child's phone.

"Users can be anonymous and ask users anything. I mean anything," said Vega. "It gets really ugly. You add this tech where people can hide behind and be mean and evil. It's hard on kids."

As a mom who knows other users hide behind fake accounts as a way to text, and often, to prey on children, Grable wants to protect their innocence every way she can.

"Social media is important to them, and it needs to be important to us," she said.

Here's another tip. Watch for how other users interact with your children on common social media apps like Twitter and Facebook.

It's a sad fact, but online bullying has been linked to teen suicide in some cases.