Less popular social media sites could be dangerous for your children

From Snapchat to Instagram and Facebook, major social media sites are looking for new ways to try to keep kids safe online. “There’s a whole cascade of things that can happen behind that screen by someone who might be motivated to harm you,” said A Wired Family managing partner Stephen Smith. Smith says these are the least talked about sites, which some teens gravitate towards and which should also send out signals for parents. “Seventeen percent of middle schoolers in the area have used Omegle and that’s the last place you’d want your child to be and definitely the last place you’d want your child to learn about sex is on Omegle,” said Smith. I tried to go to Omegle on my computer, but it was blocked by malware protection. Parents have the ability to block these sites on home computers, but it’s the cell phone that’s the problem. Once disconnected from the WiFi, I had access to the site. All a teenager would have to do is start a conversation and confirm they are over 18 by ticking two boxes, then they could chat with strangers all over the world. Once a predator has gained the child’s trust, it asks them to download an encrypted app like Line, Signal, WhatsApp or Secret. This prevents law enforcement from seeing what they are doing and makes it difficult to track or intercept. Although it sounds simple, Smith says the first thing parents can do is talk to their kids about how they plan to use their cellphones and set limits. “Never, ever allow them to take their phone out of their bedroom. The majority of the time, the majority of the time kids get into trouble, it’s in their bedroom,” Smith said. Smith says 75% of kids are allowed to bring their phones into their bedrooms, and about 80% of those kids use those devices early in the morning.

From Snapchat to Instagram and Facebook, major social media sites are looking for new ways to try to keep kids safe online.

“There’s a whole cascade of things that can happen behind that screen by someone who might be motivated to hurt you,” said Stephen Smith, managing partner of A Wired Family.

Smith says these are the least talked about sites, which some teens gravitate towards and which should also send out signals for parents.

“Seventeen percent of college kids in the area have used Omegle and that’s the last place you want your kid to be and definitely the last place you want your kid to learn about sex is on Omegle,” Smith said.

I tried to go to Omegle on my computer, but it was blocked by malware protection. Parents have the ability to block these sites on home computers, but it’s the cell phone that’s the problem. Once disconnected from the WiFi, I had access to the site. All a teenager would have to do is start a conversation and confirm they are over 18 by ticking two boxes, then they could chat with strangers all over the world.

Once a predator has gained the child’s trust, he asks him to download an encrypted application like Line, Signal, WhatsApp or Secret.

This prevents law enforcement from seeing what they are doing and makes it difficult to track or intercept.

Although it sounds simple, Smith says the first thing parents can do is talk to their kids about how they plan to use their cellphones and set limits.

“Never, ever allow them to take their phone out of their bedroom. The majority of the time, the majority of the time kids get into trouble, it’s in their bedroom,” Smith said.

Smith says 75% of kids are allowed to bring their phones into their bedrooms, and about 80% of those kids who do are on those devices early in the morning.