Whether your teen has an iPhone, Android or other type of smart phone, you can bet that they’ve downloaded a variety of apps – games, social media, music, and so on. Kids born after 2000 haven’t ever known a world without social media and high-speed internet, so it’s common to see them constantly looking down at a screen. Because technology is evolving each day, we want to keep you in the know, especially when it comes to the safety of your children.
If you haven’t already had a talk with your teen about digital safety, consider bringing it up in a positive way. Many new apps are designed so that users can remain anonymous. Some users can even communicate with other users based on a certain radius. For example, if 50 people have a certain messaging app downloaded on their phones inside a building, even if they don’t know each other, they can create usernames to send messages and photos simply because they’re within that radius. The good news is, there are also new apps designed to keep your kids safe, generally at no cost. You may also want to think about establishing a media agreement media agreement.
Start a conversation with your teen by letting them know that their safety is important to you, and there’s a way to stay safe by using their phone as a tool – this should get their attention! Below is a list of safety apps that have been specifically designed for younger adults to use.
bSafe is a personal safety app where users can create their own social safety network to be notified in case of an emergency or unsafe situation. Users can invite friends to follow their location via GPS, set a timer that will send an alarm to friends if they don’t return within a certain time, or initiate a fake call into their phone if they want an interruption. The basic version of this app is free. The age requirement is 13 and older.
Circle of 6
Circle of 6 was originally designed for college students to prevent sexual violence, though a great app for teens, parents and friends. Whether you need help getting home or an interruption, Circle of 6 makes it quick to reach the six people that you choose. There are several icons for users to choose from, including a Pin Icon (sends a text to your circle asking them to come and get you), Phone Icon (sends a text to your circle asking for them to call you because you need an interruption), and a Chat Icon (sends a text to your circle that says “I need to talk.” There is also an Information Icon (information about sexuality, relationships and safety) and Phone Out (direct access to national hotlines).
OnWatch allows users to instantly and discreetly connect to people they trust. In two taps, a user can send critical information by phone, email, text or social media to their own support network, emergency services and Campus Police. The app includes five alert modes, seven alarm sounds and a flashlight.
One Love My Plan
One Love My Plan was designed to help women and friends determine if a relationship is unsafe. The app is anonymous and private. Features include Danger Assessment, Planning Tool and 24/7 advocate support through an embedded live chat function from LoveIsRespect.org.
Remember, none of these apps are meant to replace calling 911 in an emergency. But they are designed to give users (and their parents, friends and family) peace of mind. If you’re interested in having our training team come to your organization to discuss digital dating abuse and healthy relationships, please fill out our online request form. We have trainings available for teens as well as adults living in the Central Ohio area.