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Soumya Patnaik
Apps that every parent should know about
June 11, 2013

Beginning of the school year is a delicate time for children and youth. If academic expectations are not enough, children seem to believe that they are expected to live up to peer-pressure as well. This is always accompanied by insecurities and complexes.

There are helplines, guides and mentors that exist in the physical world, but children seem to be more comfortable taking the virtual route. Research shows that an increasing number of children all over the world are resorting to apps to discuss their insecurities and problems. Some just download the apps to have whale of a time but fail to realize that there is always a downside.

talklifeApps like Talk Life encourage children to discuss personal issues and struggles such as suicidal thoughts, self-harm, low-esteem and bullying publicly.

Once the app is downloaded, the user has to provide their full name, photograph, information regarding their sex and birth date. Additionally they have to provide brief bio about themselves. Then the users go on to confess – anything and everything ranging from self-harm to rape and illicit drug abuse. Some of them use the forum to give their goodbye messages as a result of suicide allegations.

What is most disconcerting about the app is even if a reporting feature is available there is no option to report a message for immediate action by a Talk Life moderator, emergency services etc.

KIKMost of the Talk Life user profiles are connected to KIK usernames. In an earlier post we had discussed about the KIK Messenger – now officially recognized by police forces all over the world as a breeding ground for online predators. Predators often use a tactics known as “grooming”, which becomes easier if the predator knows that the victim is suffering from self-esteem issues. These issues are exploited by the predator to make the victim feel “accepted and loved” which are followed by requests to see photos, that dangerously turns into threat of acts such as sexting, exploitation and sextortion.

These apps can be downloaded by anyone and there is no process to validate the age or identity. Even if it asks for an email address before posting, there is no follow up email to verify the account.

Without adequate safety and security protocols, these apps are potential score grounds for cyberbullies, online predators and mischief mongers.

Children and youth often overlook the consequences of their online choices. Most of them don’t realize that even with their confessions they are creating a digital footprint that cannot be erased. Things that might come back to haunt them at a later stage in their life as they apply for higher studies or look for a job.

What you as a parent can do about it?

First – Talk, communicate and please when we say “talk” we don’t mean “nag” or “harass” information out of your child. Communication is the best way to understand what you child is going through.

Second – Resort to technology for help. Restrict downloads, change passwords for downloads. Limit your credit card access. Install a security software that has parental control feature in it.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

23 Comments

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  1. Very true.
    Really good info.

    Hrushi Sonar.

    Reply
  2. Pranav PanhalkarJune 12, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    Very essential and useful info. Every parent as well as teacher must know about this.

    Reply
  3. 100% u r right . Its Really need to every parents to come out & study this article. Thanks

    Reply
  4. Arunava BhattacharjeeJune 12, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    Indeed the information is most valuable and contemporary in respect of the present generation. It will at least help the parents in guiding their children. Thanks a lot.

    Reply
  5. v.v good

    Reply
  6. Tanmoy PaulJune 12, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    I just want to ask that is Kik Messenger good or bad?
    Mail me the result/opinion.

    Reply
    • Hi Tanmoy,

      The blog does not intend, in any way, to promote or demote applications like KIK or Talk Life. It has only highlighted the implications that can be caused by their misuse.

      Regards,

      Reply
  7. Satish TrivediJune 12, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    realy good warning for perants

    Reply
  8. Now I would be able to xpress my feelings to someone.

    Reply
  9. S. Ramesh KumarJune 13, 2013 at 7:50 AM

    An excellent piece of information to parents & children of the present gadget savvy age.

    Reply
  10. gitikaranjan sarangiJune 13, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    my micromax x269 has got error that MDM mismatching after inserting quick heel security .there is no micromax verssion of x269 .how can i short out the problem.

    Reply
  11. wagbhushan dwivediJune 13, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    this is right step to create awareness among the youth, so they will understand better way of life

    Reply
  12. Subhash Chandra LalJune 13, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    Thanks for information.

    Reply
  13. Mehul ShahJune 13, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    Good Info. Thanks for sharing. Very Useful.

    Reply
  14. ajay sharmaJune 13, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    please add the share option so this kind of valuable information can be shared with family and friend

    thanks

    Reply
  15. Ca Rajshree JhawarJune 13, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Very informative.
    In this cyber age parents are required to be vigilant like never before…

    Reply
  16. Satish VermaJune 13, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Really, very useful information, especially for parents. Thank you very much for communicating it .

    Reply
  17. Vinod SharmaJune 13, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Thankfully, when my children were toddlers, I used to talk to them a lot. And now we can talk over anything under the Sun. But the suggestions are valuable and need to be adopted by every parent. vinxn2003@yahoo.com.

    Reply
  18. Avijit InduJune 13, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    good information which help the parents truely.

    Reply
  19. JASWANT SHAH MEHSANAJune 13, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Good information for today senario

    Reply
  20. Suresh RelwaniJune 13, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    A very good and a genuine advice. Parents should follow these guidelines to avoid the complications in future in their children’s life.

    Reply