Parents in North Staffordshire are being urged to check their children’s phones for 15 apps which police say are open to cyber bullies and paedophiles.
The list – which has been shared on social media by schools in North Staffordshire – includes ‘dangerous’ dating apps and chat tools.
Included in the list is ‘MeetMe’, a dating app which allows people to connect with others depending on where they live, as well as ‘LiveMe’ which is a live-streaming app which uses GPS signals to share videos. This means users can find a person’s exact location.
The list also includes some of the most popular chat apps which police say could be ‘potentially dangerous’. It includes WhatsApp, TikTok and Snapchat all of which can be used to send messages and videos – as well as photographs – to anyone online.
- MEETME: a dating social media app that allows users to connect with people based on geographic proximity. App users are encouraged to meet in person.
- WHATSAPP: Popular messaging app that allows users to send texts, photos, voicemails,and make calls and video chats.
- BUMBLE: Similar to “Tinder.” The dating app requires women to make the first contact. Kids have been known to create fake Bumble accounts that falsify their age
- LIVE.ME: A live-streaming video app that uses geolocation to share videos so users can find out a broadcaster’s exact location. Users can earn “cins” as a way to “pay” minors for photos.
- ASK.FM: known for cyber bullying. The app encourages users to allow anonymous people to ask them questions
- GRINDR: A dating app geared towards the LGBT community. The app gives users options to chat, share photos, and meet up based on a phone’s GPS.
- TIKTOK: A new mobile device app popular with kids. It’s used for creating and sharing short videos. With very limited privacy controls, users are vulnerable to cyber bullying and explicit content
- SNAPCHAT: One of the most popular apps in recent years. While the app promises users can take a photo/video and it will disappear, new features, including “stories”, allows users to view content for up to 24 hours. Snapchat also allows users to see your location.
- HOLLA: A self-proclaimed “addicting” video chat app that allows users to meet people all over the world in just seconds. Reviewers say they have been confronted with racial slurs, explicit content and more.
- CALCULATOR%: Only one of several secret apps used to hide photos, videos, files and browser history.
- SKOUT: A location-based dating app and website. While users under 17 old are unable to share private photos, kids can easily create an account with an older age.
- BADBOO: A dating and social networking app where users can chat, share photos and videos and connect based on location. While the app is intended for adults only, teens are known to create profiles.
- KIK:Allows anyone to contact and direct message to your child. Kids can bypass traditional messaging features. KIK gives users unlimited access to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
- WHISPER:An anonymous social network that promotes sharing secrets with strangers. It also reveals a user’s location so people can meet up.
- HOT OR NOT: Encourages users to rate your profile, check out people in their area and chat with strangers. The goal of the app is to hook up.
The following links are useful to find guidance and advice on keeping young people safe from physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect.
Information on trespassing on railways
Advice on solvent abuse and legal highs
Advice about the effects of alcohol
Child Sexual Exploitation
Mental health support
Dealing with self-harm
Support and advice about eating disorders
Support for victims of crime
Help and support is also available from…
Childline (0800 1111)
NSPCC (0808 8005000)
Parent Info (from CEOP)