Your kids will hate this story - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

WHAT THE TECH

Your kids will hate this story

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By Jamey Tucker

Your kids may hate me for this... but I'm going to let you in on some of their secrets. Smartphone apps insanely popular with teenagers and even children. These apps make them vulnerable to sex predators. Places where people hook up for sex and drugs. Apps, they hope you never find out about.

Anonymous messaging apps are popular with kids of all ages.

Shush is one of the newest, an iPhone only app enables users to chat with anyone anonymously. when you open the app it asks for your location so, it says, you can chat with people who go to your school. But it requires no information to sign up. No phone number, or email address. Anyone can start a conversation with another user.

In the brief time I browsed of the public forums I found hookup requests for sex and drugs along with other conversations many parents would find inappropriate at best, obscene at worst.

This is the icon you'll find on the screen.

Omegle chat is one of the most popular anonymous messaging apps. the whole purpose of this app is to connect strangers for personal chat messages. I signed up in about 2 minutes, not having to prove my age or location. 

In less than a minute I was paired with other users. I found people first identify whether they're male or female. When I identified myself as "m" for male, the
male strangers ended the chat. 

But when I responded I was a 19 year old girl, someone identifying themselves as a 35 year old man invited me to a private chatroom. Again, that all happened within about 15 minutes of me downloading the app.

AfterSchool uses your location to find your school. Everyone can see your post, but no one knows who posted it. 

Users do have to prove they're a student to get into chat rooms named 'sex', drugs, profanity and gross. They do that by scanning their student i.d or Facebook account.

That is a layer of protection from potential sex predators.

After School was yanked from the app store for violating Apple's safety guidelines. It's back...it's free, and just picked up over 15 million dollars in investments.

Anonymous messaging apps are one thing...but even if a parent looks at their child's screen they may not see anything questionable, that's because of apps disguised as something else.

There are a number of secret locker apps where kids can hide text messages, photos, contacts and anything else they want to keep from their parents. most of these are disguised as calculator apps. It does work as a calculator the only way to the secret vault is to enter the right
equation for a password.

And these developers are good...a kid can set it up where, even if a parent for the right equation, they can enter a dummy equation that shows there's nothing in the secret locker.

Before you think we're just telling kids about these apps, trust me they already know. 

When I was using one of the anonymous messaging apps, I saw about 5,000 students in this area, actively using the app during school hours.

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