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FBI warns parents to be aware of popular apps

Special agents with the FBI tell WAAY 31 there are real safety concerns for parents when it comes to the popular apps being used by children.

Posted: Oct 3, 2018 2:59 PM
Updated: Oct 3, 2018 6:57 PM

This week many students across the Tennessee Valley are enjoying fall break. Experts say teenagers spend about eight to nine hours a day on social media, but this week that number might be much higher.

The apps most popular among teens and tweens may seem harmless, however, special agents with the FBI tell WAAY 31 there are real safety concerns that parents need to be aware of.

"I would strongly recommend parents to whatever app that your teenagers are using, on their phones, on their tablets, whatever it is. I would download that myself, and I would follow my kids on that application, so I could see who they are talking to and what they are talking about," said Scott Pierre, a special agent with the FBI.

Recently, agents arrested 24 men accused of luring children on popular online apps for sex. The report out of New Jersey says the men started conversations with the minors through apps like Kik, Tumblr and Wishbone.

"It's very difficult for parents to keep up with the ever changing apps that are available to be used to communicate with," said Pierre.

Here is a list of some of the apps that safety experts recommend you make yourself aware of:

* imgur – a photo hosting app where members can anonymously upload photos and view photos.

* tumblr – a microblogging app where users can post multimedia.

* kik – a free messaging app.

* WhatsApp – the largest messaging service in the world.

* yubo – a social networking app marketed to children 13 to 17 years old.

* Discord – a free voice/text chat app.

* Yik Yak – an online bulletin board.

* ask.fm – a Latvian-based app that allows users to ask and answer questions.

* Whisper – an app used to anonymously share feelings with pictures and words.

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force recommends you ask the following questions to your children:

  1. Do you have any social media accounts? If so, what are they?
  2. Do you know about being safe on the internet and watch what you post?
  3. Do you know everything you post stays on the internet no matter if you delete it or not?
  4. Is what you post appropriate?
  5. Does it represent you how you would want others to see you?
  6. Is your account public or private?
  7. Do you post private information such as your phone number, address, or social security number?

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