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The DIGITAL EMPOWERMENT PROJECT is super excited to partner with nationally recognized digital safety speaker Josh Ochs. Josh does amazing work and is passionate about helping our youth stay safe online and encouraging them to, BE LIGHT, BRIGHT & POLITE! Josh hosts THE PARENT UNIVERSITY which is an information packed video and podcast center for both parents and students. His information is timely and up-to-date. If you join the subscription based university you will receive additional benefits including access to digital copies of several books that Josh has authored.
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THE DEP APP GUIDE
It can be incredibly challenging for a parent to stay abreast of the popular websites and apps that teens are using. Hopefully this list will provide at least some basic guidance. Be sure to check out Josh Och’s App Guide for Parents.
A companion app to 9Gagg.com, an image/social board that consists mostly of very inappropriate content.
♦ After School
Advertised as “Funny Anonymous School News For Confessions & Compliments” in the AppleStore, this anonymous app by Ambient is much like YikYak and Whisper. This app allows sexual and graphic images. Learn more about AfterSchool in this Safe Smart Social video.
This mobile app is a video-based chat and is advertised as almost feeling like being in the same room as your friend.
AntiChat offers the ability to anonymously chat with other users around the world, encouraging students to chat with strangers. In this video from Smart Social, learn everything you need to know as a parent about the the AntiChat app.
ASKfm is a social network where members interact by inviting others to ask anonymous questions. ASKfm has a Safety Center to “empower users with the information, guidance and tools they need to navigate safely and enjoy the service.” Watch this Safe Smart Social video to learn more.
A chatting app for couples. Users can share pictures, calendars, chat privately and doodle on photos.
Popular dating app that is trending to be popular with teens.
♦ Best Secret Folder
An app that is used if you don’t want anyone to know that you downloaded a privacy app. The icon is disguised as “My Utilities,” so no one will ever guess there are private photos tucked away in your phone. There is an “Intruder stopper” option plays fake videos upon opening.
A private messaging app that takes from your existing social media profiles and adds them to your “bubble.” The content is posted for all of your friends to see. Direct messaging is one of the main features of this app.
Similar to Tinder, Bumble is a mobile dating app. However, on the Bumble app women must be the first to make contact. Tweens and teens have been known to lie about their age and create fake accounts on apps like Bumble.
♦ Burn Note
A texting app that erases messages after a set period. Messages are stored until first viewed and then deleted.
♦ Disney LOL
An app designed especially for kids that mimics most social media apps, but consists entirely Disney-related content.
♦ Disney Mix
An app designed by Disney for safe messaging with your friends. There are strict community guidelines and the app has 24-hour support moderation.
♦ DOWN – Dating
Formerly named Bang With Friends it has been criticized for not delivering what it promises for adults 18 and older. The premise of the website is to setup discrete sexual encounters with Facebook friends. Those friends only know about somebody’s interest when they reciprocate through the app.
♦ Down to Lunch
An app used for inviting a group of friends to a particular place or event. There have been rumors about the app being connected to sex trafficking, but the makers assure they are not true. The comments by some teenagers who use it mention that scheduled fights, rumors and sexual encounters are often found on the app.
♦ Facebook Messenger
Facebook Messenger allows for photo and video exchange as well as phone calls. Facebook Messenger has a “secret messenger” mode where messages and photos can disappear.
An anonymous app for high schoolers to post confessions. Users are validated that they’re in high school through their Facebook accounts.
App that lets users chat without an internet or phone connection. FireChat uses a hidden iOS feature known as Multipeer Connectivity Framework (MCF) to relay messages instead of sending messages using a mobile signal. The free app creates its own network where each mobile device on it becomes a ‘node.’
Goal-based location sharing. Kids can share their exact location to a public audience at any time.
An app used to hide photos. It lets you put the app icon in “Stealth Mode,” so it doesn’t appear on your phone. It will also catch a photo of any intruder with your phone’s front-facing camera after three failed password attempts.
♦ Google Duo
Duo is a very easy to use 1-to-1 video chatting app. It can be used over cellular data as well as Wi-Fi. Google Duo allow Google users to connect with iPhone Facetime users.
For iOS and Android, this app is a group texting app that can also be used through your native SMS.
This app saves the profiles of other users if you are in the same vicinity. Happn has a mature rating. Features include sending secret likes as well as “charms.”
A dating app targeted at millennials with the concept that it can match users with someone based on what each user hates. Instead of swiping on people, you swipe on topics.
For both iOS and Android, this app contains categories of interests you can pick from. Based on what you like, post and the response from the community you will move up or down the leaderboard.
♦ Hide It Pro
An Android and iOS app disguised as a fully functional audio manager. It’s a secret vault that protects all your secret content. The program will disappear from the recent apps list, too, leaving all tracks covered.
A free dating app available on Apple and Android. The app seems to be riddled with spambots. One of the promotional elements involves meeting the people you discover and contains location information.
Users can post photos and have their followers comment. Recently Instagram has been in the news regarding its growing popularity for trading or selling drugs online.
♦ Jott Messenger
Jott Messenger is an app that allows students to send individual and group messages without a data plan or a WiFi connection. The names of other kids using Jott Messenger are known to be shared with not just strangers, but adult strangers.
A simple Android and iOS app with basic password protection for photos and videos. Capable of sending ‘self-destructing’ photos to others.
An instant message app that also allows photo sharing. It is loaded with sex and porn spammers. Kik also announced Kin, a digital currency for use on its platform; based on the ethereum blockchain, the value of Kin is expected to rise as more people use the service. Gaggle has seen many incidents via Kik with inappropriate photos.
An Android and iOS app that is used to hide photos, PDFs, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and text files. The app’s icon is disguised as a calculator. There is a “panic gesture” that closes app immediately when placing a hand over the screen.
This video calling app makes video chatting easy. Without any member signup, you can start a chat room and send the link via text or email.
Live.me is a live streaming video app that allows users to watch or broadcast live-stream videos. Watch “Live.me App Parent Guide” on Smart Social.
This app features auto-video editing. Just add your visual media from your device and Magisto automatically generates a polished video with graphics and background music. You can then share your video with links to many social media sites.
A live video streaming app that allows users to share real-time video with viewers on the app and Twitter. The app has opened doors to kids to be vulnerable to cyberbullying, exposure to inappropriate content, sexual predators, and the list goes on.
A social media app that stands for the privacy of its users. It claims there is no tracking of the information posted and the user owns all content posted. MeWe promises a place where there is no censorship. The content is similar.
This app is a mobile sex finder. Available on Android and iOS, this sexually explicit app is for adults only. Signing up for a membership is easy and the age verification is very minimal.
The Mojiit app is a social network where users create and share animated avatars using augmented reality. Learn more by watching this video from Smart Social.
MyLOL is a teen dating app designed for students 13-19 years old. Built-in features of MyLOL encourage users to send private messages to random strangers.
An anonymous app that connects users to school groups. Due to the anonymity of the app, the content is often inappropriate for children.
An instant message service that promises chats with random strangers. Also has a website that can be used instead of downloading the app.
A popular video chat among teens that is similar to Skype. It is a free download and lets you chat and video call others using a webcam. You can have group video chats. Users can have group chats.
♦ Peek Video
A rebranded version of the Keek app, this app allows short, personal video uploads. We’ve seen some inappropriate content via email notifications.
A new app created by Twitter that allows users to broadcast live video and audio online. There have been reports of harassment and bullying. It has become a concern of the parents of many of the children and teenagers. The fear is that they are opening themselves up to all situations of abuse. Another concern is the location sharing feature. If users neglect to turn off the location sharing feature, viewers can locate the Periscope user.
♦ Photo Locker
A hidden photo app that lets you securely hide photos and videos of others. It has stealth mode that hides the app from the Android app drawer.
Anonymous photo exchanging with a significant amount of sexual content.
♦ Plenty Of Fish “POF”
A cross-platform dating application with easy messaging. Often used for casual sex.
♦ Private Photo (Calculator%)
The app appears to be a simple calculator, but by punching in a code will unlock a private photo album. It allows private photos and videos to be hidden behind a calculator icon, called “Calculator%”.
♦ Private Photo Vault
An iOS app with only one purpose: to hide. It allows you import photos into albums and hide them behind a PIN lock. There is an option to set up a decoy password that launches a different set of pictures.
A location-based messaging app made specifically for Pokemon Go players. The developers have launched the web version, and a mobile version is coming soon.
This messaging app features video chatting. Depending on your status, people will message you with anonymous video clips.
An app featuring free voice calling and group chats. You can store the recordings on the app permanently or they will expire after 48 hours.
Sarahah lets people sign up to receive anonymized, candid messages. The app bills itself as a way to “receive honest feedback” from friends and employees, but collects more than just feedback messages. When launched for the first time, it uploads all phone numbers and email addresses in your address book.
The SayAt.Me app is an anonymous website and app, on the Google Play Store, that allows users to gather feedback from others. Users create a unique feedback URL to share on other social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others. Students can write anonymous feedback about that user on their unique URL.
This app, available for iOS, connects your friend’s camera rolls. You can see every picture or video taken using their phones.
An app made for meeting people to flirt. The app is for 13+ but with no real age verification, anyone could sign up.
In this app, you create slideshows using your photos on any device. You can add music, share with friends or make the slideshow public for the world to see.
♦ Smack High
An app geared towards high school students that allow kids to share instant school specific news and happenings by talking “smack” about others. On March 25, 2016, Giuseppe Stuto, Co-Founder & CEO of Smack High, contacted us and said, “Since December (2015), our new mobile app does not support anonymous smack talk and is now a group messenger application. Our app today has several moderators who do not condone any form of offensive, mean chatter, and we actually ban users who do so.”
♦ Smart Hide Calculator
An Android app which not only hides files, but also hides itself. It appears to be a calculator. Entering a code will unlock the photo album.
♦ Smule Sing!
An app gaining a lot of notoriety through celebrity appearances, Smule is totally music-based. It’s most popular feature is the karaoke recorder. The main attraction is the friend-to-friend split-screen singing sessions.
♦ Snap (Snapchat)
An app that allows users to send photo and videos that the app promises disappear within seconds.
This app uses filters very similar to Snapchat. The app claims to have more variety and allows friends to share directly through existing messaging apps.
An app for chatting with friends using an email address. It has numerous features that let you interact with your friends list. One advertised feature is “self-destruct,” which allows you to make a message disappear after a short period of time.
From the creators of MyLOL, Spotafriend is an app strictly for teens that markets itself as the hottest teen swiping app for meeting new friends. Learn more on Smart Social.
♦ Spy Calc
An iOS app with only one purpose; to hide. An app disguised to be a calculator. Entering a code will unlock the photo album.
This chat app is for users of the popular gaming program called Steam. Users can chat online or through their mobile devices. The games through the program cost money, but a store and chat are free to signup.
♦ Streetchat – Local Message Board
In April 2014, a new App called “Gaggle – Local Message Board” appeared on iTunes, and subsequently the Google Play Store, which is not affiliated with our company. It has since been renamed “Streetchat – Local Message Board.” Watch this video to learn more.
A private video chat app featuring live video editing and special effects. Only those you add can see your video. You can also save your videos to your camera roll. This app is exclusive to iOS.
Free video chatting. All you need to enter a chat room is the name of the room. There are no sign-ups or log-ins to remember.
A video calling app with stickers, filters and other features, all with an emphasis on group messaging. Tango promotes finding people all over the world.
TBH stands for “to be honest”, and the tbh app is a social networking platform where users anonymously answer questions/polls about their classmates. In October 2017, Facebook acquired TBH. Watch “TBH App Guide for Parents” from Smart Social.
A voting-/photo-based location-sharing dating website often used for casual sex.
App used to message your phone contacts anonymously.
A website that allows kids to post anything from anywhere, customize everything, and find and follow anything they want. Our Student Safety Representatives frequently see extremely inappropriate content related to sex/pornography and drugs.
A social media app made specifically for the party atmosphere. Upload videos of what you and your friends are doing at the time, post them and see how many replies you receive. All promotional material seems to promote the party lifestyle.
A video streaming app that tries to make connecting with an audience as simple as possible. It is incredibly easy to start streaming and chatting live with your followers. You can signup using your Facebook or Twitter account.
This Android app can hide photos in a password-protected folder as well edit photos
A cross-platform chat application with chat and photo sharing.
♦ Video Kik
Send videos of any length on Kik Messenger. It is flooded with sex spammers and has become super easy for kids to access all kinds of porn.
Mobile-based messaging. Easy voice/image/location sharing.
WeChat is a dangerous, free texting, video, and calling app developed in China. Read “WeChat App: What Parents Need to Know”.
Owned by Facebook and similar to Kik, WhatsApp also includes 1:1 video calling. One of the most widely used messaging platforms in the world.
Intended for users age 17 and older, Whisper is an anonymous social “confessional” app that allows users to post whatever’s on their mind. Users type a confession, add a background image, and share it with a user community. Popular with low self-esteem teens.
Xanga is a website that hosts weblogs, photoblogs, and social networking profiles.
Described as “Tinder for teens,” Yellow allows young users to make new friends based on swiping. Yellow app users create a profile by syncing their Snapchat accounts, picking an age and gender, uploading a few photos and then they begin connecting.
♦ You Now
A live video streaming app, where kids as young as 7 years of age are videoing themselves to win points. Children are being viewed and followed by adults.
SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES
Probably a collection of the worst of the Internet in one place. Users are mostly anonymous.
♦ 8chan (8ch.net)
On 8chan, you can create an imageboard for free with no experience or programming knowledge needed, which can result in extremely inappropriate content.
An image/social board that consists mostly of very inappropriate content.
A registration-free video chatting site. Also a mobile app.
A classified advertising website launched in 2004 notorious for allowing ads that sell children for sex (sex trafficking). On April 6, 2018, Backpage.com and its affiliated websites were seized by the federal government.
A free web-based chat room. Enter any username of your choice and start chatting. There is no signup or age verification. The usernames are often sexually graphic.
This website allows people to anonymously video chat online with anyone and without any security blocks or filters. Frequently people are unclothed in the chats.
Internet horror stories passed around on forums and other sites to disturb and frighten readers. Includes stories from Slender Man, a fictional character that inspired two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls to stab and nearly kill a friend.
Basically, Tumblr meets Pinterest. This site caters to artists who want to reach out to a broader audience. It has a “Not Safe For Work” (NSFW) mode and does not ask for age at sign up.
An online social networking website for kids between the ages of 5–16 years. Founded with the intention of creating a safe social networking site for kids.
This site is a virtual world where users control their avatars to navigate and chat with other users. There are over 50 million accounts and the site continues to grow.
A social networking service where Internet users can keep a blog, journal or diary.
A social networking site that lets users tailor their searches for potential social contacts by age and geography. The app is rated for ages 17+.
Top “Revenge-porn” website.
Dating website used for sex.
A dating site that contains very inappropriate sexual content.
Strictly mobile-based social networking. Similar to Facebook.
This site is almost identical to Myspace. It shares many of the same features and is very easy to create an account.
A social network that teenagers use for meeting new people that allows members to browse the profiles of other members, play games, and share tags and virtual gifts. Recently in the news for “sextortion.”
A video chat site similar to Appear.in. What sets it apart are the hundreds of current chat rooms available. No registration is needed to access all the features, including live chat and cam to cam video chatting.
Group video chat room. Most of the rooms have adult content and are moderated anonymously.
Volafile is a live file sharing and chat website that needs no registration or membership. It is completely anonymous so the content is often inappropriate.
Zobe is an anonymous chat room that doesn’t require registration to use.