“Keeping Arkansas kids safe is a top priority,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Being informed, opening every app on your child’s phone and knowing who they are talking to are some of the best ways we can protect our kids from predators and online bullying.”
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is alerting parents to 16 smartphone apps that may make children vulnerable to dangers online.
“I was just hanging out with some friends the other day and everyone was just on tik tok, making tik toks and that is super fun I’ve made some with my friends before and that is fun,” said Hannah Wyler.
An expert team analyzed some of those and says one poses as a calculator but actually steals personal information, such as browsing history and location.
“Kids, you know, are just not acutely aware of where their information is going. They’re trusting and I love that they’re that way but in this day and age you really just have to be on top of it and make sure that they know what to do and not to do and to keep their information to themselves,” said Hannah’s mom, Tonya Wyler.
Rutledge says the best way to protect our kids from the dangers online is to monitor their usage, always know who they’re talking to and opening all their apps.
“We just really try to stay on top of it the best we can. Really monitor their iPhone usage, the sites that they’re visiting. We use a firewall at home trying to make sure they’re staying as safe as possible,” said Tonya Wyler.
AG Alert: Being informed, opening every app on your child’s phone & knowing who they are talking to are the best ways we can protect our kids from predators & online bullying. I want to alert parents to 16 smartphone apps that may make children vulnerable to dangers online.
— Leslie Rutledge (@AGRutledge) September 15, 2019
Here is the list of apps:
- Bumble – Bumble is a popular dating app that requires women to make the first contact. It is common for minors to use this app and falsify their age.
- Calculator% – Calculator% is one of several "vault" style apps that appears to be a harmless app, but is used to hide photos, videos, files and even browser history.
- Chatous – Chatous is a messaging app that allows users to chat and share images. This app makes it easy for predators to engage in age-inappropriate conversations with potential victims.
- Discord – Discord is a voice and text chat tool that allows gamers to communicate in real-time. Users can chat, add friends one-on-one or in larger groups. This app discusses content geared towards adults, but allows users as young as 13.
- Grindr – Grindr is a dating app for LGBT adults, not children. The app gives users options to chat, share photos and meet with people based on a smartphone's GPS location.
- House Party – House Party is a group video chat app that allows users to communicate via live video chats and texts. There is no screening and the video is live. Users can also communicate with people they don't know.
- Live.Me – Live.Me allows users to livestream videos using geo-location to share the videos so other users can find the broadcaster’s exact location. Users can earn "coins" to "pay" minors for photos.
- Monkey – Monkey is an app that allows users as young as 12 to chat with people all over the world during a brief introductory call, then users are given the chance to add each other on Snapchat.
- TikTok – TikTok is a popular app among kids that is used to create and share short videos with limited privacy controls. Users are vulnerable to explicit content and cyberbullying.
- Tinder – Tinder is a dating app that allows users to "swipe right" to like someone and "swipe left" to pass. Users can falsify their age, share photos, messages, and meet.
- Tumblr – Tumblr is a blogging app and website that allows users as young as 13 to create an account. There are very few privacy settings and pornography is easy to find. Most posts are public and can't be made private. This app was removed from the Apple App Store in '18.
- Snapchat – Snapchat is a photo & video sharing app that promises users their photo or video will disappear even though it doesn't. Snapchat stories allow users to view content for up to 24 hours and share their location.
- WhatsApp – WhatsApp is a popular messaging app allowing users to text, send photos, make calls and leave voicemails worldwide.
- Whisper – Whisper is a social network that allows users to share secrets anonymously and it reveals the users’ location so strangers can meet.
- Yubo – Yubo is a social media app that allows users as young as 13 to create a profile, share their location, view other users’ profiles in their area and view livestreams. Substance use, profanity, racial slurs and scantily clad people are common.
- YouTube – YouTube is a video-sharing app that may not be age-appropriate for kids. Inappropriate content can be found using innocent search terms, but with parental controls, this can be avoided.
Visit the Arkansas Attorney General's Office website or call at 800-482-8982 for more information on smartphone, apps and internet safety.