An update for Parents and Carers – please be aware.
Children will often “add” unknown people to social media accounts. It is becoming increasingly familiar to hear that young children are having social media accounts. There are age restrictions on most Apps and sites for a reason.
Youtube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Skype and Twitter are all 13 years.
Whats App is 16 years. To create accounts children have to create a birthdate that allows them to be old enough. By doing this they are putting themselves at risk.
APPS TO BE AWARE OF
Meow Chat (age limit 13yrs)
Meow Chat is a social network that allows you to have chats with strangers in a public chat room, with the option to then move into a private conversation, or to chat with other people based on their location.
67% of the children and young people asked by the NSPCC thought Meow Chat was risky. The top concern was talking to strangers.
The fact the GPS uses the location to match up people for conversations places children and young people at additional risk.
Chatroulette (has no age limit)
Chatroulette is a website which lets you talk to another person anywhere in the world. When you go onto the site, Chatroulette connects you to someone at random. You can talk to people via video or text. You have the opportunity to move onto the next person.
100% of the children and young people asked by the NSPCC think Chatroulette can be risky. The top concern was:
- Explicit and inappropriate images
- Talking to strangers.
There are reports that people can be seen masturbating, using it for sexual activity or “hanging man” which are all inappropriate images for children and young people. The hanging man is literally you see a person from the torso down apparently dangling making it look like they are hanging.
Whats App (minimum age 16)
Whatsapp is an instant messaging app, which lets you send messages, images and videos to friends. You can have one to one and group conversations. WhatsApp lets users send text messages, audio messages, videos, and photos to one or many people with no message limits or fees.
15% of the children and young people asked by the NSPCC think WhatsApp can be risky. The top concerns were:
- lack of privacy
- talking to strangers
- needs internet
It’s for users 16 and over. Lots of younger teens seem to be using the app, but this age minimum has been set by WhatsApp. It can be pushy. After you sign up, it automatically connects you to all the people in your address book who also are using WhatsApp. It also encourages you to add friends who haven’t signed up yet.
Tumbler (age limit 13yrs)
Tumblr is a social networking site that lets you share text, photos, quotes, links, audio clips, slideshows and videos. And you can customise your page and share other people’s posts. You can also send private messages.
It’s a cross between a blog and Twitter: It’s a streaming scrapbook of text, photos, and/or videos and audio clips. Users create and follow short blogs, or “tumblogs,” that can be seen by anyone online (if made public). Many teens have tumblogs for personal use: sharing photos, videos, musings, and things they find funny with their friends. However,
46% of the children and young people asked by NSPCC think Tumblr can be risky. The top concerns were:
- sexual content
- inappropriate content
Inappropriate material is easy to find. This online hangout is hip and creative but sometimes raunchy. Pornographic images and videos and depictions of violence, self-harm, drug use, and offensive language are easily searchable.
Privacy can be guarded but only through an awkward workaround. The first profile a member creates is public and viewable by anyone on the Internet. Members who desire full privacy have to create a second profile, which they’re able to password-protect.
Posts are often copied and shared. Reblogging on Tumblr is similar to re-tweeting: A post is reblogged from one tumblog to another. Many children like — and, in fact, want — their posts reblogged. But do you really want your children’s words and photos on someone else’s page?
Omegle minimum age 13yrs
Omegle is a social networking site that randomly connects you to another person who is on the site. It lets you talk to them in a one-to-one audio or video conversation. You can both appear as anonymous, unless you decide to share your personal information.
Being anonymous can be very attractive to children, and Omegle provides a no-fuss opportunity to make connections. Its “interest boxes” also let users filter potential chat partners by shared interests.
89% of the children and young people in the NSPCC survey asked think Omegle can be risky. The top 3 concerns were:
- inappropriate content
- risky or dangerous behaviour
- talking to strangers.
Users get paired up with strangers. That’s the whole premise of the app. And there’s no registration required.
This is not an app for children and teens. Omegle is filled with people searching for sexual chat. Some prefer to do so live. Others offer links to porn sites.
Language is a big issue. Since the chats are anonymous, they’re often much more explicit than those with an identifiable user might be.
Please take time to check what your child is doing on line. Keep them safe.