No matter how tech-savvy you think you are, let’s face it – teens and tweens always seem to be one step ahead in the digital realm. The good news is, we’ve got your back here at Bark. It’s our job to stay on top of all the new and creative ways kids use technology. In this post, we’ve gathered a list of crucial online insights that every parent should be aware of, and chances are, your kids are already well-acquainted with these aspects. From using sneaky apps and secret browsers to ensuring you’re kept in the dark about their Instagram stories, we’ve got you covered with the need-to-know info.

What Parents Should Know About Apps and Hidden Browsers

Discovering the Sneaky Side of Apps

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When it comes to keeping an eye on your kid’s online activities, you likely check the usual suspects – Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. But here’s a heads-up: many apps have their own built-in browsers, opening up a secret passage to the web.

This means your kid could be visiting websites without leaving any trace in their main browser history. Apps like GroupMe, Kik, Telegram, and even Instagram have these covert pathways to the internet. Managing and monitoring these hidden browsers can be tricky, but it’s crucial for parents to be aware of their existence.

Teens Have Their Own Version of Tinder, Meet Hoop

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Imagine a fusion of Tinder and Snapchat, and you’ve got Hoop – a friendship and dating app designed for young people. Catering to users as young as 12, Hoop enables connections with strangers both locally and globally.

Here’s the lowdown: Once the app is downloaded, it gets linked to your Snapchat account. From there, you start swiping through profiles, reminiscent of Tinder’s approach to finding a date. However, there’s a catch – initiating chats requires in-app “diamonds,” and you’re limited to 10 requests before having to purchase more.

Uncovering Hidden Apps: A Sneaky Business

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Worried about what might be lurking on your kid’s phone? Well, the ease of hiding apps might surprise you. During a casual phone check, the absence of suspicious apps on the home screen doesn’t guarantee a clean slate. It’s entirely possible for apps to be downloaded and installed without making an appearance on the main screen, making them elusive during a quick scan.

To stay in the loop, inspect your kid’s app library and venture into the App or Play Store for a specific search. If an app has been downloaded previously, you’ll see the option to download it again rather than purchase it. Keep in mind that some crafty kids may delete apps at home, only to reinstall and use them elsewhere, like at school or a friend’s house. Stay vigilant!

Keeping Up with Your Child’s Instagram Stories

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Even if you and your child are connected on Instagram, and you’re even Close Friends, there’s a chance you might not be getting the full scoop on what’s happening online (pun intended). Regardless of your closeness, Instagram users have the power to hide their stories from anyone for as long as they please. A kid might choose to keep them under wraps for a few hours during a party or block them indefinitely.

Regrettably, there’s no surefire way to know if your child has barred you from their stories unless you inspect their account directly. However, if you’d rather not go to such lengths, observe their usual posting routine and be alert to any changes throughout the week or during specific times or events.

Calculator Apps: More Than Just Math Homework

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If your child has multiple calculator apps, there’s a chance one could be a vault app. These apps may appear innocent but function as covert folders for storing pictures, files, and even other apps.

Since hidden apps are often used to conceal inappropriate content, it’s crucial to have a conversation with your child about them. Even if they claim it’s for security purposes, like a banking app or a journal, it might not be the best idea. Open communication is key!

Location Sharing: A Feature in Your Kid’s Favorite Apps

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While Snapchat is famous for its disappearing messages, there’s another feature parents might not be aware of – the Snap Map. Typically, kids use the Snap Map to share their location with friends. However, it goes beyond that – users can also post it to “Our Story,” contributing to a public feed showcasing near real-time events worldwide.

WhatsApp, a popular messaging app akin to texting, also offers location broadcasting. During a chat, users can share their precise whereabouts, displayed on an in-app map accurate down to a few meters. With a few taps, the other person can even receive instant directions to your location. It’s essential for parents to be aware of these features and have open conversations about responsible use.

Kids Find Ways to Chat on Any App

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You’ve likely encountered the direct message (DM) feature on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. Surprisingly, even seemingly innocent apps such as Fitbit and religious platforms might have message boards. Not to mention, popular games like Roblox and Clash of Clans offer in-app chats for players to communicate.

It’s crucial to recognize that any app with a chat function can become a space where adults might target kids for grooming. That’s why it’s essential for parents to thoroughly assess the apps their child downloads, ensuring awareness of every potential danger. Stay vigilant and keep the lines of communication open with your child about their online interactions.

Assistance in Revealing Hidden Social Media Apps

Now that you’re equipped with knowledge about some online tricks used by young individuals, you might be eager to enhance safety measures. Bark is your ally, providing support with content monitoring, screen time management, app and website blocking, and location sharing tools. What’s more, with Bark, you’ll receive automatic alerts whenever your child downloads a new app! No more staying in the dark about hidden social media apps – take proactive steps to ensure your child’s online safety.