Cyber Safety: Kids have access to thousands of social media sites, tools to hide information from parents

Local News

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) –A lot of parents believe their kids are just on Facebook. In reality this isn’t the case, there are thousands of social media platforms for kids to access.

Online Detective, D’von Snead with Michigan State Police says thinking your child is only on Facebook is a thing of the past.

“Young adults and young teenagers don’t use Facebook as much,” Snead said. “They’re more so on TikTok, a huge social media site, Snapchat, Omegle and Whatsapp.”

Those are just a few of the major social media sites kids can get their hands on and have access to. Instagram, Twitter and YouTube are a few other popular sites.

Some have an invite only policy, much like a clubhouse. This allows only people who are invited by current users to become a member and access the site.

Snead says keeping up with these apps and their capabilities has become a new part of parenting.

“You may think that this app is completely innocent, but if it has a chat, anyone can sign in and possibly make contact with your young adult child or teen,” Snead said.

In todays day and age, kids are becoming more tech-savvy. Now users can hide their social media icons, making it look like a calculator app. When you click on the fake calculator app and type in the correct code, you unlock the real app.

There are ways parents can be more aware of what their children are doing and hiding according to Snead. If you go to the settings tab of your child’s phone, you can find out more.

“Go to permissions and you look at each app,” Snead said. “Obviously if you see a calculator app that has the permission for a camera, or microphone, that’s kind of odd.” 

Many teens create fake accounts under different names posting private things they normally wouldn’t to their public account. On Instagram this is called “finsta”, which is short for a fake Instagram.

“If you do find your kid or teenager on social media, make sure they’re not obviously posting anything provocative,” Snead said. “Or they’re not putting any personal information like a phone number, email, or an address.”

While your child or teen may not pop up in the search engine, it’s worth your while to take a closer look at what the latest social media app is.

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