With many children having access to Smartphones and tablets, it is important that you are vigilant and discuss your child’s internet usage with them regularly.
Below is a list of Apps and games that we have received concerns and warnings for:
Please read the guidance below (taken from a Telegraph article and with content form the Police) about the recent map update on Snapchat. Remember that Snapchat should not be used by children under the age of 13; older children should use with caution.
Police forces have raised child safety concerns about a new Snapchat feature that reveals users' locations amid fears it could be used for stalking. Parents have been warned to turn off 'Snap Maps' on their children's phones after Snapchat, which is wildly popular among teenagers, introduced the location-sharing mode this week. The feature displays a map of nearby friends, showing their latest location gathered using a smartphone's GPS sensor. Users of the app can also search for locations such as individual schools, with the app displaying public photos and videos sent by students. A spokesperson for the National Society for the Protection of Children said: "It’s worrying that Snapchat is allowing under 18s to broadcast their location on the app where it can potentially be accessed by everyone in their contact lists. "With public accounts, this will include those who are not known to the user." The UK Safer Internet Centre said: "It is important to be careful about who you share your location with, as it can allow people to build up a picture of where you live, go to school and spend your time. "Given how specific this new feature is on Snapchat - giving your location to a precise pinpoint on a map - we would encourage users not to share their location, especially with people they don’t know in person."
Parents can turn the feature off on children's phones by setting the app to 'ghost mode'.
Music.ly - The Terms and Conditions don’t clearly specify an age restriction but we have been advised that this app is appropriate for children aged 16+.
Users or ‘Musers’ can create an account by using an email or their existing Facebook or Twitter account.
To create videos users can record themselves miming to along to music or record their own songs. The app allows them to speed up or slow down the video. Once their happy with the video it can be posted to their followers and shared on other networks like Facebook Messenger, Vine or WhatsApp.
Like other social networks, users can follow others, comment and like videos on the app. There is a search bar where videos can be searched by any user off the app. This means that your child can be posting videos of themselves online which can be viewed by anyone.
Live.me - The app allows its users to post live broadcasts and receive “tips” from other users for completing specific tasks during live broadcasts. These “tips” are in the form “gold coins” and can be exchanged for money. Users then have the ability to either delete the recording of the live broadcast or post it on their profile. The app also does not have any restrictions on the age an individual needs to be to create an account. This means that your child can be posting videos of themselves online which can be viewed by anyone.
Yellow - The app is called “Yellow” and police call it “Tinder for Teens.” It connects people to other people in their area without actually meeting them. But authorities say it could possibly connect your teenager with a predator.
Here’s how it works: Teens can sign up by simply typing in their age, birthday and gender. Teens have to be at least 13. It will ask for a verification phone number, and then within seconds, teens will be connected with other teens within a 60-mile radius.
However, there is no way to verify age and authorities are concerned predators could create profiles using a fake age to interact with kids.
An app called Dumbsmash which is a video messaging app where people can upload themselves singing over famous songs and then choose to share via whatsapp, facebook, instagram or via a text message. It is not intended for children under 18 and you must be 18 or 13 years or older with parents permission to use it. There is also a questions and answers site about the app which talks about Dumbsmash 2. Dumbsmash 2 has nothing to do with the Dumbsmash app as it is a malware app that hides itself on phones and then pushes users to porn sites. As soon as it is set up, the icon deletes itself and runs it in the background without the users knowledge.
Blue Whale online game - We have been made aware of an Online game called ‘Blue Whale’. We would like to inform parents that this game is not suitable for children. This game includes dangerous tasks that need to be completed.
If you are concerned about your child's use of Apps and online games and would like advice or support, please contact Mrs A Patel who can arrange E Safety training for parents.