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Keeping track of how preteens and teens use smartphones is a difficult task, but the pitfalls of the digital

age leave us
no choice. The ease at which kids can be subjected to adult content, cyberbullying, illicit sharing of explicit photos, and
direct communication with predators is alarming. We encourage principals to use these tips (and others) in monthly
newsletters to parents or other communications. Consider sharing one tip at a time or focus on a particular subject.

Problematic Apps Parent Responsibilities

Whisper allows users to create anonymous accounts Parents should review options for limiting screen
and share private information on subject matters time on their child’s phone. Search “Screen time
of their choice. They can then like content and be helps” on the Web for tips on how to implement
hooked up for instant messaging with a perfect these important restrictions on your child’s device.
stranger. Most content is adult in nature.
Kids should NOT have unilateral access to download
Tinder allows users to find (with preferences) indi- and delete apps. Restrictions can be implemented on
viduals in their same geographic area for romantic most phones. We encourage parents to remove an
dates. Predators can create fake accounts to trick app when they load a new one to ensure that screen
kids into communicating with them. demands are limited.

Lipsi is a social media app with anti-social repercus- Recent studies show that parents have an even larger
sions. It allows users to create anonymous content issues with digital addiction. The decrease in parental
and cyberbully others. It is very difficult for law en- interpersonal interactions with children is hindering
forcement and school officials to track down abusers. childhood development in a very negative way. Don’t
be on your phone when your kids are around. When
Instagram is very popular among adults as well as you are in the car, have them take out their earbuds
kids. Young people are often subjected adult content and ask them questions to help them learn how to
simply as a result of following humorous accounts. have appropriate interpersonal communications.
Some users create separate accounts to avoid being
monitored. Parents should know how to switch be- Young people often use slang and acronyms to mask
tween accounts and monitor the direct messaging their communications. WTTP - Want to Trade Pics?
feature on the app, as more kids are using that func- KPC - Keeping Parents Clueless, are just a few of
tion over their primary texting apps. these terms. Research and ask your child about any
term you’re unfamiliar with.
Media apps like Houseparty and TikTok have func-
tions and sharing features that allow for video mes- Recent surveys show that for many teenagers, shar-
saging, and predators are becoming more adept at ing nude photos is considered less intimate than
using these platforms to reach out to children. Addi- holding hands. More and more kids are sharing nude
tionally, there are no filters to screen explicit content. photos as part of their interactions with potential
romantic interests, even before meeting! Help your
Messaging apps like Kik and WhatsApp are popular child understand the implications of sharing such
texting apps that kids use to get around parent mon- content. Nude photos of minor children is considered
itoring. All they require is an Internet connection (no child pornography and kids can be criminally charged
email or phone required to set up). Parents should with possession or distribution if it is found on their
monitor those communications or not allow their devices or if they shared it. These are serious conse-
child to have the apps on their device. quences they may not fully grasp.