Cracking the code: What parents need to know about their child's - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Cracking the code: What parents need to know about their child's social media use

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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

It’s no mystery that most teenagers live on social media, and by now, many parents are familiar with the common apps kids use like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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However, there are other apps like Omegle, Sarahah or Calculator Plus that many parents have never heard of.

We sat down with a group of students at Hattiesburg High School to discuss some of the apps teenagers use that may be dangerous.

Sarahah is an app that many teens use to send anonymous messages or comment on other people’s posts.

Hattiesburg senior Joe Grey said he doesn’t use the app, but he’s familiar with it.

“Anyone can go on there and say whatever they want, unless they come to you and let you know,” Grey said.

Senior Tyson King said there’s a lot of bullying on this app.

“If you don’t want your identity exposed, there’s no way they can get it,” King said.

Alyssa Rice said some of the comments weren’t so nice.

“It would be like someone interrogating them and making them feel like they're less of a person.” Rice said.

There are also other apps like Monkey and Yellow.

Some call Yellow the Tinder for teens, but police call it a breeding ground for predators.  

“You have this real short amount of time to actually meet somebody or you swipe left, swipe right,” Grey said.  

Tyson said you don’t even need an email address to register an account.

All you have to do is click on the app, and you can instantly start chatting with strangers.

“You’re instantly connected with somebody else on the app from anywhere in the world,” King said.

There’s another app that looks just like the calculator on your phone, but kids aren’t using it for math homework.

It’s a way for them to hide inappropriate pictures.

Ashley Holford is a Clinical Therapist, but she’s also a mom.

She said all of these apps are pretty scary.

 “These things can be hidden, so as a parent you just can’t glance at the phone," Holford said. "There’s been some of these sites that have been link to teen suicides this year."

Holford said it’s important that parents set a foundation when it comes to kids and cell phones.

“Set up a contract for use, you know they can type it up and say these are the things that we expect out of you for what you’re going to do and what you’re not going to do on a cell phone,” Holford said.

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