If you haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on in the world of apps for kids, I beg of you, please start now.
The other week, the Amino app hit the news for a reason which terrifies me: a young girl was in one of the “rooms” in the app and was asked by a moderator to show proof she was under the age of 14 by taking off her shirt to show her chest (the mod told her if she was more comfortable, she could keep her bra on). In some alternate world of reality, this apparently would be the best way to prove she wasn’t too old for the group.
If that doesn’t make you stop in your tracks and grab your child’s phone right now to see if the Amino app is on it and delete it, I don’t know what will.
Fortunately, this young girl had been warned of the dangers of speaking to strangers online by her mother, a 41-year-old school teacher.
How did this happen?
This scenario isn’t new to chat rooms, instant messaging, social media, you name it. With the Amino app, kids download it and then can enter groups based on their interest, be it makeup, anime, art, anything.
Once they are in a room, they can post, chat in real time, take quizzes and more.
This young girl was in Gacha Life when a message popped up from a moderator requesting the image or face being banned from the group permanently.
Was the moderator truly a moderator?
Chances are, the answer is “no”. It’s incredibly easy to catfish someone unsuspecting and get them to send inappropriate photos online. Anyone can say they are someone or hold a role within an organization. It’s up to the person on the other end to question whether or not that information is true.
In this case, a red flag was raised immediately and no photo was sent. Additionally, it is also proof positive that when parents have conversations with their kids and educate them before they go online, kids can recognize dangers like online predators and protect themselves.
How can parents protect their children from dangers in the Amino app?
I’m going to start with this: the best way to prevent your children from being put in a vulnerable or dangerous situations on the Amino app is for them to not have it in the first place.
If it is on your child’s device, delete it.
If you use a monitoring app, it goes as far as to allow you to restrict the child from the site. But, once you allow the app onto the device, you cannot restrict your child from going into the sub communities where dangers lurk; these kids have access to everything contained within the app.
At the end of the day, monitoring apps are the best tool to use to make sure your child isn’t downloading apps which could put them in dangerous situations online. Be vigilant about what apps your child downloads, open them, dig around in them, see what exists. Otherwise, it could be your child being solicited for underage photos from people who claim to be authority figures.
If you choose to allow your child access to the app, it is important to remember that once they are in there, you have absolutely no control over where they go, what they post, what they say and with whom they chat. Have a conversation with your child about what is acceptable behavior online and what is not.
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