The web is a place where anonymity of the person can be maintained, hence it is very conducive to crime, including crime against children. In fact pedophiles have been found to be addicted to the net for photos, videos or live interaction with children, here it becomes very important for the parents to monitor the apps that the children use so that they are kept out of harm’s way.
Keith Elliot is the Head of Reed Cyber Intelligence Unit, Toronto which assists corporations as well as individuals and works with law enforcement to stop cyber bullying, cyber harassment and child exploitation to ensure that children remain safe digitally and personally.
While addressing a webinar titled ‘Protecting Children in Cyberspace’ organized by National Institute of Security Safety Management and Applied Technology (NISSMAT) on Tuesday Elliot listed six apps that must not be used by children:
1. IMVU – A 3-D Avatar based application which allows for role play- exactly what sexual predators love to utilize. Here the chat rooms are not moderated, bullying and influence is rabid, clothing is intentionally skimpy and pervasive and they love to portray themselves as if they are focusing on love and romance, only they aren’t.
2. Whisper: This targets young adults and teenagers to share special secrets, it does not allow for names, age, location or anything else. Over a million individuals have identified themselves to be 15 years or younger.
3. Kicks app: It is a messaging app which is mostly anonymous, commonly used by predators, thousands of cases of kidnapping, assault and even murder cases have been linked to this messaging app, it is anonymous and thousands of sexual abuse cases have been linked to this in the UK alone. This app is in no way for children’s use.
4. Tinder dating app: Used for hooking up, casual sex culture is encouraged in this app, fine for consenting adults but not for children, definitely not an app which should be in mobile phones of children.
5. OkCupid : It operates under the guise of match making app, however there is big potential for exploitation here, individuals are encouraged to sex text each other, inappropriate content is also shared on this app.
6. Chatspin: It is a random video chat where you can literally talk to strangers. You can literally connect your computer to live beads which makes the person easily exposed to real life sexual content scenarios, there are unwanted sexual advances on individuals. It is extremely dangerous for children and teenagers to be on this app.