Technology as we know it is a fascinating thing. Around 150 years ago, telephones were just coming out, then we slowly transitioned into bag phones and now we are able to facetime or send a message within seconds. The younger generations cannot imagine life without a cell phone and now children as young as 5 have their own phones. As technology has progressed so have the dangers that go along with it.
There are many apps that kids are downloading to chat with or meet up with complete strangers. In grade school we were taught never to talk to or go with strangers, but apps such as Pure, Down, or Tinder are just a few apps where teens are chatting and meeting up with strangers. These apps are designed to send pictures of local singles and if you “like” them you can start chatting with them.
With increased issues with sexting, I wanted to test these apps to see what they were like so I had a teen show me what they were all about. It went very quickly; they first received a picture of a single that “liked them”, they “liked them” back, they started chatting. Hi, how are you? Good, how about yourself? Can you send me a picture?” When the teen refused to send a picture, the individual told them they were immature and blocked them. But in many cases, teens will send the picture without even knowing for sure if the person is who they say they are. Now a complete stranger has a picture of your son or daughter and from that picture they can track where they are located. The dangers of these apps are extremely high. Many teens are sending pictures to complete strangers, meeting up with strangers, and basing their self-confidence on how many “likes” they receive.
At Safe Harbor we have seen an increase of dangerous situations that have started from social media apps. It is a challenge to stay up to date with these apps. since a new one comes out about every day. Safe Harbor provides many presentations on the dangers of social media to teens and parents. We also encourage parents to talk to their teens about the dangers of these apps and to researching apps such as Tinder, Omengle, or Pure to see for yourself the many dangers. If you would like more information on the dangers or information on having a presentation please email MJ.