Popular App Guide for Parents and Teachers

Learn more about hosting a Digital Citizenship Assembly at your school.

GREEN ZONE: Here are the few apps SafeSmartSocial.com considers to be safe for Teens and Tweens:

The internet can be a dangerous place for teens. However, we feel that these apps are the “lesser of three evils” as they can be used to help a student (14+ years of age) shine online to impress colleges and future employers. When used wisely with our social media formula, these apps will help your students adjust their Google results to create a portfolio of positive online accomplishments. If your students want to have a profile on these networks/apps, Josh Ochs and his team suggests that you please consider having a dialog with them and knowing that these networks are the place to start on social media. At the bottom of this page, we list bad apps (red zone) that we suggest you not allow your kids to access/have/use.

thumbs-up Facebook logo

Age: 13+
Facebook is the Godfather of all social media apps (and the largest of all social media networks). Users on Facebook can share to the network from their desktop, tablet and/or mobile phone. Facebook makes their money by selling ads next to the feed (and in the feed) to let advertisers get in front of it’s users. Although Facebook has very robust privacy controls, we tell every child that “everything you post online is going to eventually be public.” This is because networks like Facebook have been known to quickly change their privacy settings without telling people and sometimes secrets are shared. That being said, Josh Ochs believes Facebook is a great place to start a positive online footprint. It’s a great place for a student to have a public presence (since Google will find a Facebook profile and place it above other results at times). This information is often visible for college admissions officers, and future employers when they search for them. Watch our Facebook App Guide Video.

thumbs-up Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger (Owned by Facebook)
Age: 13+
Facebook messenger (owned by Facebook) allows you to chat with anyone on Facebook. To initiate a conversation with users you need to add them to your Facebook friend list. We suggest for parents to add their students on Facebook and to monitor who they are adding as friends. Facebook Messenger is tied to a Facebook account, which is tied to a student’s real identity, reducing the amount of bullying and anonymous messaging. Watch our Facebook Messenger video.

thumbs-up Instagram

Instagram (Owned by Facebook)
Age: 13+
Instagram is a free photo (and video) sharing application that allows users to take photos (and one-minute videos), apply a filter, and share it on the app. Instagram became very popular, and so Facebook bought them. Parents should know that Instagram also has private messaging feature which some students can use instead of texting. Instagram has also added some “disposable” features to try and copy Snapchat. Instagram can potentially be great if it is used in a positive manner for showcasing one’s accomplishments. Students can post from a mobile device (but not a desktop). That’s because Instagram is designed to be used on a mobile phone (but can be discovered by Google). Josh Ochs Special note: Some students have a “fake Instagram” account, called a Finstagram. We have an app guide for that lower on this page. Watch our Instagram video.

thumbs-up linkedin logo

LinkedIn (Owned by Microsoft)
Age: 14+
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. It is an important tool for teens who want to improve their Google results when applying to college. It is the best place to start an online image to impress colleges and future employers. Watch our LinkedIn video.

thumbs-up Pinterest logo

Age: 13+
Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that helps users find and save ideas. It’s a great source of inspiration for students. They can use Pinterest to find studying tips, DIYs and more. Kids can have fun on Pinterest but know there can be some adult content on the network, so parents should be close by to observe activity. Watch our Pinterest video.

thumbs-up Twitter logo

Age: 13+
Twitter allows you to send messages with up to 140 characters in length (and include photos and videos). Twitter is a place where students feel they can diary their feelings, not realizing their Tweets are tied to their identity and able to be seen by colleges and employers. When a student is ready to be online, we suggest they consider Twitter but share very positive and constructive content on the network. They should leave negative talk to texting and phone calls. Watch our Twitter video.

thumbs-up Twitter logo

YouTube (Owned by Google)
Age: 13+
YouTube (owned by Google) is the world’s second largest search engine (their parent company is the largest search engine, Google). Statistics (from Josh Ochs‘ speeches) show that Youtube is used by more students than almost any other network. You don’t have to login or register to see the benefits of Youtube. Parents should know that if your student is under 13 years of age they should be present when their kids are watching videos on Youtube, since some content can be worse than late night HBO. Positive videos can turn a student’s Google results into a three dimensional version of their college resume. YouTube also has a multitude of educational videos you can learn from. Watch our YouTube video.

thumbs-up ZeeMee Logo

ZeeMee App
Age: 13+
ZeeMee is a free app that allows students to showcase themselves for college admissions, through photos and videos. Learn how students can utilize this app to shine online, how users can use the app safely, and what students can do online to stand out to college admissions. Watch our ZeeMee video.

GRAY ZONE: Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe. These apps can be good (and bad) for your Teens and Tweens.

The gray zone is a place where your students WANT to hang out, but if they post in a way that’s anything less than wise, it could hurt them. Also, the gray zone apps are ones where parents should be present, and so this section can be a great place for family time. We will call this the “family zone” since many of the apps can be entertaining, and let your student express themselves. As long as parents are nearby and following the students on each of these apps, it can be more safe. We recommend you have a dialog with your kids about Sexting and inappropriate content if your kids have these apps. The SafeSmartSocial.com team suggests every parent put in the time each month to have a dialog with their kids about the apps they are using. This is the best way to keep your kids safe (not by restricting the kids, but by talking with them).

thumbs-down Houseparty logo

Houseparty App
Age: 14+
From the creators of Meerkat (an early Periscope competitor), Houseparty is a video chat app that lets teens video chat with 2-8 people at the same time. All chats are unmoderated which means students can come in contact with inappropriate content or cyberbullies. Watch our video.

thumbs-down Minecraft logo

Age: 7+
Minecraft is the best selling PC game of all time. While Minecraft may be used for educational purposes, players can encounter bullying, inappropriate content and even viruses when playing this game. Watch our Minecraft video.

thumbs-down Musical.ly logo

Musical.ly App
Age: 13+
Musical.ly is a popular app that let’s users create lip-syncing videos to their favorite songs. While this app may be fun for teens it may be scary for tweens due to the adult songs that can be found on this app. Watch our Musical.ly video.

thumbs-down Periscope logo

Periscope App (Owned by Twitter)
Age: 13+
Periscope is a live video app that was bought by Twitter. It allows users to watch and broadcast real time videos from their phones. It’s easy to find your kids on Periscope if you know their Twitter usernames. Most of the content on this app is unmonitored and your students can watch live videos from all over the world. Watch our Periscope video.

thumbs-down Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go
Age: 9+
Pokémon Go is an augmented-reality mobile game for iOS and Android devices. While quickly becoming one of the most popular apps of all time, it has raised some safety concerns. Learn how your kids can have fun and still stay safe if they play Pokémon Go. Watch our Pokémon Go video.

thumbs-down sms-iphone-icon

SMS Text Messaging
Age: No age limits
SMS text messaging is one of the primary apps that each phone has. All accounts are connected to phone numbers. SMS messenger is relatively safe for students – trackable and least difficult for parents to monitor. Watch our SMS Text Messaging video.

thumbs-down Snapchat icon

Members Only Video

Snapchat App
Age: 13+
Snapchat promises your kids they can take a photo/video, send it to a friend and the content will only be viewed once and then will disappear. We as adults know that’s not true, but students feel ok sharing very personal moments on Snapchat as they begin to trust people. Snapchat also has a “story” feature that lets users share some videos/posts for 24 hours on their feed. Snapchat is quickly growing and is one of the more valuable social media startups we have seen. It’s not going away anytime soon. Parents should add their students on the app and occasionally view their content. Watch our Snapchat video.

thumbs-down Vine-icon

Vine App (Owned by Twitter, Closed in 2016)
Age: 17+
Note: Vine has been discontinued by Twitter in 2016, but we leave this app guide here to teach parents/educators what it does.
Vine is owned by Twitter and is a 6 second video sharing app. Kids often post videos of their everyday life and blunders. Much of the content on Vine is crude humor and carefully crafted to get views. Some users of this app have become Vine Celebrities and moved onto other networks. Students who want this can end up hurting their reputation. Watch our Vine video.

thumbs-down Whatsapp icon

WhatsApp Messenger (Owned by Facebook)
Age: 16+
WhatsApp is a mobile messenger that allows students to use wifi to bypass their SMS/Text messaging feature and directly message other users on the app. This app is owned by Facebook. It is app is very popular with people who have international friends/family. Users can share location and contacts with other users. WhatsApp helps kids bypass text messaging and communicate with their friends using the app. Watch the video.

RED ZONE: ANONYMOUS APPS – Here are the apps SafeSmartSocial.com considers to be NOT safe for Teens and Tweens.

These are the apps Josh Ochs and his team do not recommend for Teens or Tweens. These apps usually have inappropriate and unmoderated content. Also, they lend themselves to cyberbullying. Often, these apps are anonymous and will encourage students to behave in a way we have never seen before. When students use an app in anonymous mode (without it being tied to their real identity) they tend to behave badly. They are also more prone to bullying and predators in this zone.

thumbs-down After School App

AfterSchool App
Age: 17+
AfterSchool App is an anonymous app that creates a separate chat group for every school. It has been removed twice from the AppStore because of threats and arrests. Messages often include bullying, pornography, and alcohol or drug references. Watch our AfterSchool App video.

thumbs-down Askfm logo

Age: 13+
Ask.fm is one of the godfathers of cyber bullying apps (as it has been around for quite some time). It encourages students to set up a public profile and allow anonymous people to ask them questions. This encourages bullying and can really hurt the student’s feelings. Kids often reveal too much personal information on this site, and cyberbullying is very prevalent. Watch our Ask.fm video.

thumbs-down Burn Book App icon

Members Only Video

The Blue Whale Challenge
Age: 10+
The Blue Whale Challenge creates new opportunities for predators to target victims on social media by forcing teens to perform harmful tasks over 50 days, with the last task urging the victim to commit suicide. Learn what to do if your student is engaging in this harmful challenge. Watch our Blue Whale Challenge video.

thumbs-down Burn Book App icon

BurnBook App
Age: 18+
BurnBook is an anonymous app for posting text, photos and audio rumor messages about others. The app compiles messages by school, so the app requires access to your location. It encourages students to screenshot the rumors and save them to their phone, which causes bullying issues. Watch our BurnBook App video.

thumbs-down Private Photo Calculator icon

Calculator% Private Photo App
Age: 4+
The “Private Photo (Calculator%)” app is designed to help students hide photos and videos behind an innocent looking calculator app. This application looks like a calculator but entering a passcode opens a private area. Watch our Calculator% Private Photo App video.

thumbs-down Finstagram

Finstagram App
Age: 13+
Finstagram (Finsta) is a fake (or second) Instagram account. Students get a second Instagram account along with their real Instagrams (Rinstagrams), to post silly pictures or videos (without their parents knowing about the second account). Watch our Finstagram App video.

thumbs-down Jott Messenger App

Jott Messenger App
Age: 13+
Jott Messenger is an app that allows students to send messages without a data plan or a WiFi connection. Jott messenger creates a closed network with other devices (usually using a direct bluetooth signal) and can reach other users up to 100-feet. Like Snapchat, Jott includes a “self-destructing” feature that lets the user decide when a message, photo, or video will disappear Watch our Jott Messenger App video.

thumbs-down KIK_app_icon_iphone

Members Only Video

Kik Messenger App (Based in Canada)
Age: 17+
Kik allows anyone on the app to contact your child and directly message them. It has been known to allow adults to communicate with preteens, and is very difficult to discern who is a predator and who is real. Some adults have been known to use this app to pretend like they are tweens and teens. Kik allows students to bypass text messaging features of their phone. Users can connect with anyone on the network and aren’t limited to their phone’s contact list. Watch our Kik Messenger App video.

thumbs-down Ogle App

Ogle App
Age: 17+
Ogle is an anonymous app that automatically searches your location for nearby schools when downloaded. The app allows *anyone* to interact with school feeds, engage on any campuses content, and share or ask anything anonymously. Since there is little formal registration, bullies and predators can easily masquerade as students and friends. Watch the Ogle App video.

thumbs-down omegle logo

Omegle App
Age: 18+
Omegle is an anonymous text and video chat room that connects strangers to talk with each other. The app allows you to share personal information, and also contains inappropriate and unmoderated content. Omegle’s slogan is: “Talk to strangers!” Omegle also has a video chat feature. The content in video chat rooms is not moderated by administrators. Watch our Omegle App video.

thumbs-down ooVoo App

ooVoo App
Age: 13+
ooVoo is one the world’s largest video and messaging apps. Parents should be aware that ooVoo is used by predators to contact underage kids. The app can allow users to video chat with up to twelve people at one time. Watch our video.

thumbs-down Phhhoto app

Phhhoto App
Age: 12+
Phhhoto is a camera app that shoots moving pictures that continually loop to make short movies. Learn why we put the Phhhoto app in our Red Zone, how to keep your students safe if they use Phhhoto, and other photo sharing apps that can positively impact a student’s digital footprint. Watch our Phhhoto App video.

thumbs-down Secret app icon logo new

Secret App
Age: 17+
Secret is an app that allows people to share messages anonymously within their circle of friends, friends of friends, and publicly. When a student sees a secret about them on the app, they don’t know who posted it, but they do know one of their 3-100 connections sent it. This can cause bullying and anxiety. Students often hide behind being anonymous when posting, and forget that anonymous does not mean untraceable. Watch our Secret App video.

thumbs-down Tinder App

Tinder App
Age: 18+
Tinder is a dating app, marketed to adults, that allows users to connect with other Tinder users. Users anonymously swipe right if they’re interested in seeing a user’s profile or they swipe left to pass. If both users express interest or “swipe right” on each other then those users become a match. Once a user has been matched with another Tinder user they can start chatting with each other in the app. Users can post images and messages as “moments,” which exist for 24 hours and then disappear. When signing up, users must use a Facebook profile to verify their authenticity to Tinder. Watch our Tinder safety video.

thumbs-down Voxer

Age: 13+
Voxer is a free messaging app that allows users to send real-time voice messages (like a walkie-talkie) to other users. Learn if Voxer is safe for students to use, teen messaging statistics, how this app can be harmful, and steps you can take if your student is using Voxer. Watch our Voxer video.

thumbs-down Wattpad

Age: 17+
Wattpad is a relatively unmoderated online storytelling community. One of the major concerns with Wattpad is that teens are posting explicit and inappropriate stories that are connected to their personal Facebook profiles (and shows their profile photo). Learn how easy it is for your student to access explicit content on Wattpad, how predators are using this site to contact teens, and more. Watch our Wattpad video.

thumbs-down wishbone

Wishbone App (Owned by same company as Slingshot App)
Age: 13+
Wishbone is a comparison app, marketed to girls, that allows users to vote or create polls. Slingshot users can create any type of poll, including polls that are not appropriate for teens. In the beginning, this app would force students to watch inappropriate videos before moving onto the next poll. The videos could not be skipped, and were not something that students under 18 should be viewing.Watch our Wishbone App video.

thumbs-down slingshot

Slingshot App (Owned by same company as Wishbone App)
Age: 13+
Slingshot is a comparison app, marketed to boys, that allows users to vote or create polls. Slingshot users can create any type of poll, including polls that are not appropriate for teens. In the beginning, this app would force students to watch inappropriate videos before moving onto the next poll. The videos could not be skipped, and were not something that students under 18 should be viewing.Watch our Slingshot App video.

thumbs-down Secret app icon logo new

StreetChat App
Age: 14+
StreetChat is a live photo-sharing board designed for middle school, high school and college students. Kids feel freedom to send mean posts because they do not have to confirm their identity within the app. This leads to students often posting about real people. Watch our StreetChat App video.

thumbs-down Tumblr logo icon

Tumblr App (Bought by Yahoo!/Verizon)
Age: 13+
Tumblr is one of the world’s most popular blogging platforms. In 2013 Tumblr’s terms of service stated they would not delete pornographic information (and they were OK with that sort of content). They encourage students to hide from their real identity (by creating fake usernames on registration). They have a big search box at the top of the page and pornographic information can still be found. Watch our Tumblr App video.

thumbs-down Whatsgoodly

WhatsGoodly App
Age: 17+
WhatsGoodly is an anonymous, location-based, social polling application designed for college students. It has a 17+ age restriction, but younger students can still see polls and vote. There are a lot of questions about dating, relationships, alcohol, and smoking on the app. Watch our WhatsGoodly App video.

thumbs-down whisper-app

Whisper App
Age: 17+
Whisper is an anonymous social network that allows people to “express themselves.” (Anytime an app encourages students to “express themselves” to strangers, please be very careful). Whisper reveals a user’s location, which makes it easy for people to arrange to meet up. This also makes it easier for predators to locate and connect with users. Watch our Whisper App video.

thumbs-down YikYak_app_logo

Yik Yak App (Closed in April 2017)
Age: 18+
Note: Yik Yak has been discontinued in April of 2017, but we leave this app guide here to teach parents/educators what it does.
Yik Yak acts like a local bulletin board for your area by showing the most recent posts from other users around you. Many bomb threats were made on this app. Students forget that being anonymous on an app does not mean being untraceable. Police departments are quickly able to locate students at home and address them after a threat to school safety. Once students are in college, they seem to be much more mature on this app. Watch our Yik Yak App video.

thumbs-down Younow App

YouNow App
Age: 13+
YouNow is a popular broadcasting platform where kids can watch and stream real-time videos. Users decide whether broadcasters should continue their live videos with thumbs up and thumbs down voting. If the amount of likes exceeds dislikes, you will be given another minute. If not then the current broadcast will be voted off. Anyone can record the videos posted, take screenshots and bully others with the recordings. Watch our YouNow App video.

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Hi, this may be interesting you: Popular App Guide for Parents and Teachers! This is the link: https://safesmartsocial.com/app-guide-parents-teachers/