In an ever growing world of cybermania, teens are becoming more and more updated with the latest craze or addiction. I recently came across several articles that blew my mind away as to how deviant, distorted, and crazy our world has become by only looking at the sites and trends that our teens are now into.
Most recently, my daughter was asked to join a site called KIK. Once you register, you can begin posting pics and doing chats. She didn’t know much about the site so she went along with it because her friend begged her to spend more chat time with her. She wasn’t even on a full 15 minutes and she came across quite a few half nude pictures of other teens posting themselves for all to see. She was shocked. But there is more. You can send private messages that your parents can’t see as well as sexting. In fact, your child could be corresponding with a predator and not even know it. And worse, the parent or the teen would not be able to identify who it is on the other end.
The other day we were talking about this situation and I began to ask my daughter if she knew any of the sites or trends on my list that would be a major concern for a lot of parents. She was aware of a few, but others she had never heard of. She knows how to get around on the computer and her cell but nowadays new sites and trends are popping up all the time and it is hard to keep up. It was only about 6 months ago that I had mentioned on one of my other posts about a few of these sites and lo and behold, a bunch more cropped up that I had never heard of.
Doing some digging is something of a hobby and there was only one decision to make. Tell other parents! So, here is the list that is in front of me and what I know of the latest. My post would be too long if I added all of them, so I picked the ones that were the most serious.
1. Yik Yak – A gossip type app in which you can post secretly. The problem with this is that since you can post anonymously, there can be issues with bullying and stalking and threats. Originally the site was geared towards Sr. High students. Now it has crept down to the younger ages and has already caused issues in schools.
2. Whisper – this is a very dangerous app. You share your most private secrets with the Whisper community and they in return can respond to that secret. The issue is this – what if you have a young impressionable pre-teen girl who is sharing her secret about her suicidal tendency or cutting or her anorexia. How do you know if the person on the other end is giving them bad advice or says one thing that could put them over the edge and cause a deadly result?
3. SnapChat – This site is a photo-sharing website that allows them (the teenager) to take pics of anything and see it disappear within seconds so that you (the parents) don’t ever see it. However, the concern with this is that when you share your pic with your friends, someone else can take a screenshot (say of you half-naked) and re-feed it and you will never be able to get it off of the internet.
4. Poof! – And that is exactly the reason why this app is called what it is. With one touch, your teen can hide all their apps from you. It is no longer available to download but if your teen still has it on their phone before it was taken down, then they still have it available to use.
5. ChatRoulette – this is a fairly new site that I haven’t heard of. The object is to pair you up with a stranger. If you don’t like them, you can move on to the next person. Although anyone under 18 is not allowed, there is no guarantee that someone is checking your teen’s age. So expect things like inappropriate content and images. Similar sites to this are Omegle, Dirty Roulette and ChatRandom. The biggest dilemma here is that you can chat with strangers via webcam. With that in mind, sexting and stripping wouldn’t be far off. And of course, you could be chatting with a predator. My daughter was invited by her cousin because they were bored one day. In an hour’s time, they met so many people. Some creepy, some like predators, and even some 12 year-olds. She never wanted to go on there again.
6. Down App – Also known as “Ahem…” the Banging with Your Friends app. Initially it was meant for adults. The app was utilized with Facebook users who could send private messages to their friends in their social group alerting them that they were looking for a date or to “get down” with them. Unfortunately, it is being used among teens.
7. Vodka Eyeballing (trend) is a trick that is used among teenagers who want to make sure that alcohol is not smelled on their breath. As mentioned, Vodka is poured into the eyeball to get the high that is needed while not being detected. What teens don’t realize is that the use of this drug can cause blindness.
8. Tampon Drunkenness (trend) is another trick to keep the smell of alcohol as far away from the teen’s parents. Soaking the tampon in alcohol (equal to one shot), then inserted into the vagina or rectum, the alcohol is absorbed into the body giving a high. The issue with this type of usage is alcohol poisoning in their system.
I don’t believe one parent wants to think that their teen is doing something like this unless their teen has been down the road of addictions, and yes, I call them addictions if they are hiding what they are doing and doing it constantly. Nevertheless, we have to always be on guard that our teens could be vulnerable at any time in their life when they are going through severe hurts, struggles, and crises.
I would rather be armed and ready than to sit idly by thinking that my teen wouldn’t do something like this and find out later that they did. You are still the parent. You are still responsible for them. They may carry that phone or be on that computer, but you own both. Even if they paid for it, they live with you and are still under your authority. It’s that simple. They are not responsible if they are involved in any of these apps and trends. So you need to be responsible for them. One of my daughter’s got involved into something in which she lost her computer and phone for two years. Now as a college student, she understands the dangers and pitfalls. So let us stand together as parents and keep our teens safe!
Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. Proverbs 4:7 (NLT)
For wisdom will enter your heart, And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
Discretion will guard you, Understanding will watch over you. Proverbs 2:10-11 (NASB)