Threat Level – Very High
Ask or Ask.fm started as a web based program that allowed people to anonymously set up an account with email as the only verification. Once you setup an account, you are then assigned your own page specifically for you. At this point, you can set up a profile screen with profile pic and bio, but most kids do not.
I became aware of this app by kids posting on Instagram to “ask me anything” and other posts saying “see my ask me link in bio”. I went to their bio page, I saw the link there. All I had to do is click on the link they have posted on their Instagram bio page of their profile and it took me directly their private ask me page.
When you create an account on ask.fm, it creates a page for you and only you. People can come to your page and ask a question without logging in or becoming a member themselves. Kids think this is funny and innocent. I agree some questions I see posted to children’s ask accounts are innocent and childish. Such as Who is your BFF? Who is your favorite band? What is your favorite song? Questions like that are innocent, but you must make sure your kids are being asked those kind of questions. Make sure there are not coming from an adult or someone that you don’t want asking your children questions. Especially leading or grooming questions.
Up until a month ago, this was all web based and you needed to go to the website to access the asking questions pages. Now you can Download the Ask app. This app is free and when you access your account after installing on your device you can view questions people ask you and respond to them from inside the app.
I gave this a very high threat level, so people would realize that the innocent side is fine, but it only takes a few questions by predators to lure your children away. Don’t let this happen. Monitor your children’s ask accounts regularly.
Threat Level – Very High
Blink is an app created by Meh Labs that allows self destructing photos and text messages.
You knew it was coming, and recently released by Meh Labs, is the app Blink. With the popularity of photo sharing apps that delete pictures after you send them like snapchat, I-delete and Facebook Poke, comes the next line of self destructing apps
Blink is a social texting and social photo sharing app that connects you with others with a username and not a phone number. All accounts use data to send text messaging, so as usual with this style of text messaging remember it will not show up as a normal text under messaging.
Another feature of Blink is it will notify you if a screen shot is made of a photo you send that is taken before it deletes itself. Blink also allows for group messaging like some other popular messaging apps (Kik)
If you read the description it says app should be for 12 plus, then gives you the disclaimer that it could possibly contain mild tobacco, alcohol, and drug use references along with mature, sexual content and profanity or crude humor. Doesn’t sound appropriate for a 12 year old to me. This disclaimer is in my opinion, due to the use of these kind of apps popular for sexting.
I don’t know of a reason to delete photos and messaging that would have a legit purpose for your child. I want to know what my children are talking or texting about with others. Be sure to monitor this closely and ask why they feel the need to have a texting app that deletes its messaging.
Welcome to the world of kik + Snapchat!
Threat Level – High
Skype was first released in 2003 by the same people that developed the file sharing software for Kazaa. Over the past 10 years, Skype has grown to be one of the most popular voice over Internet services. With over 600 million users and was bought by Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5 billion. Along with Skype Internet site, both Android and appeal
The service allows users to communicate with peers by voice using a microphone, video by using a webcam, and instant messaging over the Internet. Phone calls may be placed to recipients on the traditional telephone networks. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free of charge, while calls to landline telephones and mobile phones are charged via a debit-based user account system. Skype has also become popular for its additional features, including file transfer, and I stand messaging. Think of Skype as the original FaceTime. Skype should be recognized as one of the fore fathers of video conferencing.
Skype is also available on mobile devices for android and IOS. These apps are free to download and charge for calls to traditional phone services, but offer free Skype to Skype and instant messaging.
Skype has over 650 million registered users, and as of 2011 owned by Microsoft.
On January 9, 2013, Microsoft revealed that it intends to retire Windows Live Messenger in favor of its Skype service, although Messenger will continue in mainland China. Microsoft began the transition for all users on April 8, 2013.
I gave this a high threat level, due to the video chatting but if located on your child’s device you must find out who they are skyping with and monitor closely.
Blue, blue app, s, big s
Social Safety Patrol is now on Twitter. For any twitter users, you can view updates on Social Media Safety, Tips, Pics and links. @thesocialsafety is the username! I have it open to public also.