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Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Dangerous social media apps for kids

Alina BÎZGĂ

October 19, 2022

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Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Dangerous social media apps for kids

Cybersecurity Awareness Month isn’t just about helping adults protect themselves, their data and their money against e-threats. The Internet is a dangerous place for kids who face an array of dangers, from exposure to pornography and violence to online predators and even identity theft.

Kids today spend too much time on their smart devices, engaging with strangers on social media platforms and other apps.

These are just some of the alarming facts parents and caretakers need to be aware of:

  • 42% of cyberbullying happens on Instagram (Source: Comparitech)
  • The FBI estimates there are approx. half a million online predators that are active daily
  • 40% of underage social media users say they don’t use any privacy settings in an attempt to get more followers
  • Most kids between 3 to 15 years old have their own mobile phone and use it to go online to use video sharing platforms, live streaming apps and social media platforms (Source: Ofcom)
  • 25% of kids include personal info when setting up their social media accounts and overshare their info

Protecting children against digital threats is a 24/7 job. To help parents tackle risks, here are some of the most potentially dangerous social media and live-streaming apps for kids who use them unsupervised:

  • Snapchat– this app may be fun for kids and teenagers. However, some of its features, including the ‘disappearing photos’ and SnapMap, enable many malicious individuals to exploit kids.
  • TikTok– this social media platform has around 750 million active users each month, many of whom are children. While not all of the content you see on TikTok is inappropriate for kids, children need to use the app with care and not fall victim to many of the dangerous challenges proliferated. Additionally, parents should always supervise kids using the app, ensuring they maximize their privacy settings.
  • Tumblr– as of 2022, the micro-blogging platform earned more users, including teens potentially exposed to drug use, self-harm, explicit sexual imagery and predators. This is not an app for kids. Profiles are not monitored or verified, making it easy for malicious individuals to target kids.
  • Instagram– Most users may not find the social media platform dangerous for kids. However, it is. Kids can stumble upon inappropriate content, fall victims to scammers and predators and even harm their self-esteem.

If your child is underage but enjoys using his phone or tablet to engage with friends on different online platforms, make sure you closely monitor their activities and familiarize yourself with the apps’ features. Make sure to check if the app has access to the camera and microphone, location and photo gallery, and review the privacy settings.

Read our dedicated guide to keeping kids’ data and privacy here.

Bitdefender solutions provide parental control tools that give you peace of mind and provide help with screen time for your kids. You can easily block websites or apps entirely to help keep your little one safe.

Parental Advisor automatically chooses the best privacy features based on your child's age. These can be fine-tuned for the parent’s and child’s needs by managing screen time and blocking incoming calls with no Caller ID, among others.

The parental control feature can be found in most of our standalone security solutions or all-in-one security products.

If you need to brush up on digital safety and good cyber hygiene, check our Cybersecurity Awareness Month online safety guide.

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