Through my “Socially Smart” campaign, I’m continuing my efforts to bring awareness to the community about the dangers that lie within social media, and the potential negative impact to children.
Over the past two years, I must confess that I have found this challenge daunting. Just when I research new apps and concerns, more troubling social media platforms are being introduced faster than I’m able to keep up…kik, Oovoo, Musicly, Ask.fm, and Sarahah, just to name a few.
One that sparked my attention just recently is the new ‘Yellow’ app. “Yellow,” is an app that allows users to connect through Snapchat, is untraceable and touted (according to their website) as a method for those over the age of 17 to help them ‘find new friends.’ The app has been called “Tinder for Teens” – the “Tinder” app, where adults go to ‘swipe left or right’ to meet new people (and is also untraceable). Question – if minor children are not able to use the app, why is this comparison being made? According to a recent blog by Robin Taylor for Rakoon, (http://blog.rakoon.com/what-is-yellow), the author writes of her experience to create an account and what occurred next (with actual screen shots). The problem? The app did not stop to validate her age and what she found is concerning – other minor children posting photos (including a shirtless 15-year old boy) looking to make ‘new friends’!
If children gain access to this app, their intention is mostly like to, innocently, make new friends. The problem lies in the predators that wait on the other side – potentially posting fake photos and messages and posing as boys and girls in their age group and befriending them. These so-called ‘friends’ may influence the child to meet them somewhere without their parent’s knowledge, or the child may be influenced to provide them with their home address! According to The National Human Trafficking Resource Center, between 2007-2012, online recruitment was the 3rd most popular method for pimp-led prostitution. This statistic is both staggering and extremely disturbing.
Consider the internet the world’s largest crosswalk – would you, the parent, allow your young child to walk across the street without holding their hand? Make sure YOU are have access and are checking their devices, regularly. Do the research and remain up-to-date about these platforms and know the dangers. Immediately remove any that aren’t age appropriate. Having direct conversations with children about these realities is, unfortunately, NECESSARY at a very early age.
Please contact me if you’d like to discuss my additional social media research I’ve discovered through my “Socially Smart” campaign at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Kimberly A. Lucarelli, CIC
Director of Sales, PCM, Sr. Vice President
Note: This communication is for informational purposes only. Although every reasonable effort is made to present current and accurate information, Oswald makes no guarantees of any kind and cannot be held liable for any outdated or incorrect information.