Cinch

20131013-060953.jpg

Cinch

Threat Level – Low

Cinch is an app developed by the company known for the App Called Klout. Cinch is advertised as an advice app. An app that tells you what you need to know from people that are in the know.

You download the app free of charge and is available on android and Apple devices. Once the app is downloaded there is only one way to access Cinch. That is logging in with a Facebook account. Once you are logged in, Cinch creates your account with username and profile picture it takes from Facebook. After this small intro, you are ready to start asking for advice.

Cinch will market that the advice comes from people that know about the topic you are representing. For example, my first question was one about wifi routers. I sent out a test question that I knew the answer to and with in 30 minutes, I had an answer from two different cinch advisors. The answer was a great one from both. I could tell that the persons who answered knew their topics. A few hours later I received an email asking me to rate their answers they had given me. This is where their rank comes in. From a business side, I am unclear if they just use volunteers that want to support the cause of the app and help answer questions, or if at some point after so many questions are asked do they start getting paid.

You can also browse through pages of other answered questions, and the interface and setup is very easy to complete. As I looked through the questions asked by others, I could see the profile picture and username of the person who asked, along with the name of the person who asked. I did not see any inappropriate questions or answers that were in the log, but have to remember the potential is still there for your kids to be asking for advice from people they don’t know.

At this point, there is no other forms of Social connectivity other than asking a question and receiving an answer. You can also view your question and answer log for past sessions you have asked for advice on.

Due to only being a question and answer site, I have a low threat level, but remember if you see this app on your child’s device to be sure to open and see what kind of advice they are asking.

App description: orange, c, white c, Klout, orange background with white c, the letter c, white letter c

Apple IOS monitoring downloads

20130926-102319.jpg

A great feature of all Apple products is the operating system IOS. IOS has some neat settings that you can utilize to monitor what your children are downloading to their I-devices whether it be an ITouch, iPhone, iPad or iPad mini.

For this to work, you will need to be
on the same iTunes account (which I encourage for email receipts). You can turn on automatic download to all your devices or just certain ones. What the feature is meant for is to keep you from downloading the same app on multiple devices. For example, download the app Dropbox to your IPhone then It automatically downloads to your IPad, iPad mini or any other I device you have. Very convenient to keep you from having to download individually to every device.

Even more important it is a great way to know what your kids are downloading when you are not around. Yes I realize this automatically puts candy crush or any other kids game they download onto your device also, but all you have to do is delete it. I like knowing that when my kid is at a slumber party or in her room on her I device that I know what she is downloading immediately instead of having to wait on an emailed receipt.

To turn this feature on it only takes a few steps. From your device, follow listed steps.

1. Go to settings
2. Scroll down to iTunes & App Store (select)
3. Once you are inside the ITunes & App Store, scroll down under the automatic downloads and slide the ‘apps’ to show green. This turns the auto download of apps feature on. Now any app that is downloaded will be auto downloaded to this device.

You can also turn on ‘updates’ which will automatically keep your apps updated with you having to manually do it.

Once you have the auto updating Apps turned on, any app downloaded under your iTunes account, regardless of what device, it will download to your device also.

You will be able to monitor and stop your children from downloading dangerous apps, since a lot of times they are just curious from what they have heard from friends or school. They will also think your magic when you know within 30 seconds what they are downloading, and you are no where near.

Tiny Chat

20130923-201829.jpg

Tiny Chat

Threat Level – High

Tiny Chat is a video conferencing app that advertises as a place to meet people just like you. Connect and make new friends.

Tiny Chat is available on all mobile markets and also via the internet at tinychat.com. Once you create your account with a few input boxes of name, age email address and a username you are ready to video chat. Once that is generated, you can begin your search for different chat rooms to enter. These chat rooms are not just text rooms but video rooms also.

At First glance of the chat rooms I saw categories such as Popular, comedy, entertainment, gaming, hanging out, and teen. As I looked a little closer, I found more less generalized rooms like ‘locals nearby’ and ‘NSFW’ (abbreviation for not safe for work, usually explicit). After looking at more channels I started seeing more video chat rooms that were made by individuals such as lonely freaks, playboy mansion, low key babes and Barbie girls. Some of the photos that are used to advertise these rooms are explicit themselves, I would hate to think what is inside the live video feeds.

Each of these channels will show you how many people are broadcasting video inside them and also how many are watching. Also there will be a brief description about what the channel was created for and what to expect inside the channel. It seems there are a lot of 18 and older warnings on the preview page of open chat rooms. I am concerned about some of these categories after I saw the lonely teenager section moderator picture which did not appear to be a teenager at all.

I have this app a high threat level for children due to the adult oriented content of what appears to be inside these chat rooms. I don’t want my kids video chatting with people they don’t know especially about topics they should not be exposed to. If you find this app on your child’s device , bd sure to find out who they are chatting with.

App description : blue, white, eye, chat bubble, smiling eye, smile, eye, face

Tinder

20130909-013025.jpg

App Review – Tinder
Threat Level – Very High

Tinder describes its app as a way to meet new people around you. With the Growth of ‘Bang with friends’ and ‘Down’, These Anonymous hookup apps are starting to get more downloads and attention, so get ready parents.

Tinder is a hookup app that allows you to enable gps on your smartphone to see others around you that you would like to meet. The interface of this app is terrifying enough when you think of kids using it. The app actually utilizes a map overlay of apple maps or google maps depending on your preference or phone, to pin point your location versus their location, to give you an exact location of where you and your person of interest are.

Terrifying!

I think the 1. Description field on the App Store explains that this app is not meant for anything but hooking up. 1. States “Tinder shows you someone nearby IT thinks you should know and let’s you anonymously like or pass on them”. Don’t you love the idea of Tinder showing your kids who it thinks THEY should meet? I’m sure they double check sexual offender registry or violent crime violators. Ok is that asking to much, well surely they at least verify age….NOT! This is the Internet parents where 40 year olds pose as 14 year olds. Don’t let apps determine who your kids should meet! Tinder! Bang with Friends! Down! All 3 hookup apps that no kid should use!

Back to more features on Tinder. After you see who is around you, you are able to see their picture….or should I say the picture of who they want to be. You can then select Pass or Like them. If you choose the like feature, it will notify them of who likes you and who would like to chat. You are then connected to a private chat room where you can use the in app messaging service to chat back and forth with the STRANGER! What every responsible parent wants? Their kids chatting with strangers? Not mine, and hopefully not yours after you read this!

Another feature that makes Tinder stand out from the other similar apps is the ability to hookup friends of yours with others. Almost as hooking up a blind date. Incoming friends bad decisions as if kids needed help making those!

Tinder uses Facebook login also, so be prepared that your child will start off with all of their Facebook friends to use Tinder with. I am sure they know every single one of those people, along with every friend of a friend? Right?

I ranked Tinder a very high threat level and am placing it under the danger danger apps section on the most dangerous apps for kids. That over 17 warning is just a click away and can be bypassed by anyone with a finger at any age! Watch your children’s devices for this app so you can remove it quickly! We don’t need any app suggesting strangers to meet, or give them the feeling of being anonymous!

Red, white, flame, red flame, fire, red fire, fireball

Circle

20130906-104510.jpg

App Review – Circle
Threat Level – Moderate

Circle is a social networking app designed by Hawthorne Labs that advertises as “The Future of Social Media”. They also advertise their app as the most Popular local network. Circle has many of the familiar social media style interfaces. When you download circle it will give you the opportunity to sign in with your Facebook information, or create your own. After you choose which way you want to log in, your circle begins. Immediately your profile is setup with the usual information. Profile picture of you, employment, school and other general interest sections.

Circle is advertised to be a social network for the people around you. So you ask, what does that mean? Let me explain. The app asks permission to use your gps to find the area you live in. After it locks in your home city, and confirms the area you are currently at, the interface turns into a location specific home screen. It will show you full pictures of landscapes that have been tagged to your area (for example Knoxville TN my area, i had full pictures of the gay street bridge, and the worlds fair site). You will also see local weather, and free or paid local events that are going on around you. Similar to other profiles on social media, you are able to select a profile picture that will be displayed inside a small circle. You will be able to view other friends pictures in similar circles.

One thing I quickly noticed was when I downloaded this app, I did not allow it access to login via Facebook, but it still used my friends list to show me Facebook friends that are already using the circle app, or ways to invite them into circle. I also started seeing updates (similar to Facebook updates) of people i did not know. it showed the persons name, job and who they are mutual friends with through their Facebook account to make it appear they were all on the circle app when truthfully it was just pulling their info from Facebook. In my opinion, it seems Circle is trying to market off Facebook’s information right from the startup. Circles growth will come from people looking for a more local social networking site for people near you . I also noticed the app was searching for other circle users that were close by that I have never heard of. This seems a little dangerous considering we never want our children being introduced to people that are around them they don’t know without the parents full permission. Circle also has a private messaging feature inside the app to message your circle of friends regardless if friended or not.

Circle has been rated under the information section of the app as a 12 plus age bracket. It states that app contains infrequent mild profanity or crude humor, mild alcohol tobacco or drug use references and mild sexual content or nudity. I realize that those are generically written warning labels, but 12 years old? Seriously? I wouldn’t want my 12 year old introduced to any of those! Circle is a free app and available on all the mobile markets. Close moderation and paying attention to strangers your child may friend on this app is extremely important. This app encourages meeting others around them to form new friendships and circles. Explain to your children the importance of knowing who they accept to be friends with and never a stranger.

White app, blue, circle, blue circle, white with blue circle

Whisper

20130420-150746.jpg

Whisper

Threat Level – Very High

Whisper is a social media app available on mobile devices that is calling itself a private social networking app, that lets you connect to others with your interests.

This app flags as a 17 plus app, but just takes few touches to bypass right by that warning. Once the app is downloaded, you can start viewing posts from other strangers, without registering a name, picture or email address.

This does not look like Facebook or any other social media site, but if I had to pick another app to compare the look to, I would go with Pinterest.

Users can select a picture, or a default image for the background selection. Once you have your background, you then can make a 200 character post on anonymity. When I was viewing the posts, I would see a lot of sexual explicit topics and homosexuality.

Once a post is made, users can comment and like the posts. You also have the ability to discuss someone else’s post with a comment or give them a like.

Another feature inside the app, is how it uses gps on your device to show you others that are utilizing this app closest to you, everyone I have checked that feature with have been within 5-10 miles.

This app also allows you to share things you find to other popular media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.

I am not sure why a child would ever need this app on their device. I don’t feel like posting things to strangers about any topic is safe. Throw in the GPS to see people close to you and that equal lbs very high threat level. Keep this one deleted.

Purple, purple app, earth, purple world, world, purple world, person hands