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18 – 4 Age Requirement (Suggestion) This is the age requirement as stated in the terms of use agreement (when applicable) or the age suggested by the Apple App Store or Google Play. In some cases, the Apple App Store or Google Play will show that an app is ok for ages 12+ when, in fact, the terms of use agreement for that app is 13+. It is important to note that no matter what Apple or Google suggests as the age requirement, most social media apps and sites are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission of the US under COPPA (Child Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998) which does NOT allow businesses to collect and store information on children under the age of 13 without written permission from their parents. Because of this, most social media apps and sites choose to only allow people over the age of 13 to use their service. Either way, it’s important for you, the parent, to make the final call based on your beliefs and values.

low-risk-40Medium Risk These apps present a medium risk for most minors. Risks can be managed if the suggested SAFE SETTINGS are followed.

medium-risk-40High Risk High risk apps are better suited for adults and some mature minors.  Risks can be better managed if the suggested SAFE SETTINGS are followed. (Not all High Risk apps have SAFE SETTINGS suggestions).

high-risk-40Very High Risk These apps present a very high risk and should be avoided by all minors.

cameraCamera These apps can access the camera and/or the camera roll in the phone. Apps that access the camera or allow the user to store photos are usually at the heart of a crisis when thing go wrong. All apps accessing the phone’s camera are NOT toxic but when they are mixed with other features or shared on particular networks, they definitely may be toxic for children. Search phone settings for a list of apps that access the camera or the camera roll. The list will make it easy to spot all apps on your child’s device that access the camera or camera roll.

xAdult These apps are a gateway to adult content and/or pornography. While some apps that display this content offer filters and locks, most can be surpassed by simply clicking “yes” when asked if the user wants to view such content. X rated apps are toxic for children and should not be installed on any of their devices.

gpsGPS These apps can access the location services (GPS) in the phone and can be used to broadcast the location of the user at any given time. You can turn the location services off for most apps but they can easily be turned back on by the user.

anonymousAnonymous These apps can allow users to post anything from a photo to a video to a comment anonymously without fear of retribution. Many anonymous apps are completely untraceable even for the FBI. Anonymous apps are often used to bully other students and groom children. Predators have been known to look for posts by depressed teens and offer comfort and eventually convince the child to communicate via another app or email. Anonymous apps have been linked to several suicides as a result of bullying.

bullyBully These apps are PERFECT for bullying. Most of these apps have been cited as the cause for bullying other students and, in some cases, these apps have been responsible for teen suicides. Many of these apps allow users to post photos, videos or comments anonymously but within a tight geographical region, again making it perfect for bullying at the school level.

livestreamLive Streaming These apps allow users to broadcast video live as things are happening. Live streaming apps have no way to prevent inappropriate content from appearing since everything is live. To date actual murders and suicides have been distributed via live streaming apps. Live pornography also occurs on live streaming apps. In addition, live streaming apps allow broadcasters to see how many people follow and like their live video. Often this can cause the live broadcaster to do stupid things just to get more likes.

decoyDecoy These apps are designed to throw parents off when inspecting their child’s device. The most popular decoy apps appear as calculators and actually function as calculators. However, when a specific code is entered, the “calculator” opens a vault where photos, texts and other things can be hidden. Some decoy apps even feature two sets of passwords so that when one password is entered it will display a “clean” set of private files and when the other password is entered, another set of files can be accessed.

chatChat These apps can allow users to have private or group chats within the app. Some apps with a chat feature automatically erase messages after they are received. Other apps with chat allow users to communicate anonymously and users can change their name at will. There are thousands of apps that allow users to chat within the app.

datingDating These apps are designed for dating and hooking up. While most dating apps are obvious, there are some that target minors and do not appear to be dating apps on the surface. The risk with minors using any dating app is the possibility of predators disguised as peers using such apps to attract their victims.

randomRandom These apps allow users to randomly chat or meet other users. Random apps are extremely dangerous for minors and should always be avoided by minors.

in-app-purchasePurchases These apps can allow users to transfer points or money to each other. Some social media apps that allow money transfers attract online strippers who will perform custom acts for other users for a fee. Other apps allow users to purchase “coins” from the App Store and pay those “coins” to other users for performing specific acts or challenges. Sending coins to another makes that user more popular on a particular network.

wwwwww These apps also allow users to login via any web enabled device in addition to the app itself. We provide a link to apps website in the description section of apps that have corresponding websites for users to login.

datingDating These apps are designed for dating and hooking up. While most dating apps are obvious, there are some that target minors and do not appear to be dating apps on the surface. The risk with minors using any dating app is the possibility of predators disguised as peers using such apps to attract their victims.