Online Safety – Do you know what apps your kids are using?

This week on the blog we’re talking about keeping kids safe online. This week the Shreveport Times reported that the Bossier Parish Sheriff office had warned against a troubling new app that is rising in popularity among area youth, called BurnBook. You can find the article on the Shreveport Times website here.

The BurnBook app – named after a concept found in the movie Mean Girls – allows you to connect to a local community, such as a school, and share secrets and comments about other users in the community. 
The BurnBook app gives it’s users the illusion of anonymity and freedom from consequences. What would you say to someone if you believed they would never know it came from you? However, with this app as with all apps the anonymity is just an illusion. There is no such thing as anonymous. Any users issuing threats can and will be tracked by law enforcement. 
Burnbook may be the newest app to worry parents, but it is just one of many. That is why it is important to be familiar with the apps on your child’s phone. 
According to the 2013 McAfee Digital Study

Seventy-four percent of parents admit to not knowing about their children’s online behavior, but 46% of youth say that they would change their online behavior if their parents were paying attention.

The CommonSenseMedia.org website has an in-depth list of apps that parents should be on the lookout. You can find the list here on their website.

How well do you know the apps on your child’s phone? Do you recognize the symbols below?