The secret apps kids are using - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

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The secret apps kids are using

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Your child can come face to face with a random stranger, get bullied by a kid at school, or share a private secret with someone who wants to take advantage of them, just by picking up their phone or tablet from the safe confines of your home.

“It's exhausting and I think it's only going to get worse,” said Tiffany Miller, a Northern Kentucky mom whose 13-year-old daughter got her first iPhone for a recent birthday.

“Obviously now she has the whole world in her hands so that's scary,” Miller said.

And experts say Miller has a good reason to be scared. New apps are popping up constantly which give people with bad intentions a portal straight to your child, even if they're sitting in their bedroom right down the hall from you.

“It happens to someone's kid every day. Obviously you don't want that to be your kid,” said Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders.

Parents need to watch out for apps like “Whisper” which allows your child to post a secret, anything they want, to strangers online in the same geographic area.

“YikYak” is another app experts say parents should be aware of. With “YikYak,” users post anonymous comments that the nearest 500 people can see, often leading to online bullying.

“It does create this false sense of ‘Hey, I can go on here and say things I wouldn't say otherwise.' Leads to almost slanderous talk about people because they feel they can say it without any repercussions,” said FOX19 NOW Tech Expert Dave Hatter.

And "ChatRoulette" and apps like it allow kids to come face to face with a random stranger via a web cam.

“If you're a pedophile, if you're looking to exploit children, what would be better than that? You're going to randomly run into kids and then see what happens,” Hatter said.

The app "Kik" allows pictures or texts to be sent without ever being logged in the phone's history, so a parent would never know who their child is communicating with or what they are saying.

And "Poof" hides other apps, so even if you know what to look for, you might not even be able to tell it's there.

"In my mind, I can't see any legitimate use for something like that,” Hatter said.

“There are apps out there that intentionally try to deceive parents,” Sanders said.

And when we showed the icons for these dangerous apps to Miller, she was amazed at how benign they looked, commenting on the “friendly-looking lettering” on each icon.

Experts say they are apps that appear harmless, but by using them, your child could suffer irreparable harm. That's why Miller now checks her daughter's phone as often as she checks her own.

"You don't know what they're going to stumble across at any time. You don't know when the tables are going to turn and she's going to get into something she shouldn't or accidentally come across something,” Miller said.

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