Gaggle Speaks

Ideas, news, and advice for K-12 educators and administrators to help create safe learning environments.

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Written by Lisa Railton
on August 5, 2021

We live in a digital world. It seems like there’s a constant stream of new apps and social networks that can be downloaded or joined in an instant, and it’s tough to keep up with what students may be using on their devices. How can educators and parents stay up to date?

Here at Gaggle, our Safety team often comes across social networks, apps, and websites that pose potential risks to student safety and well-being. We’ve created an App Watchlist to help keep track of the top apps students are using. Those you should be aware of include:

  • Social Networks
    While most people have heard of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, you may be less familiar with other social networks, such as Sayat.me. This website and app allows users to gather feedback from others on their unique URL shared through popular social networks. Content isn’t strictly monitored, so negative or obscene comments could affect self-esteem and take a toll on students’ mental health.  
  • Photo
    There are a host of apps that help students hide content they wouldn’t want someone else to see—and you’ll find several on our watchlist. These apps offer varying degrees of privacy, including passwords, the ability to disappear from the Recent Apps list, and even panic modes. These apps can also be disguised as other programs, such as a calculator.   
  • Video/Streaming
    An alarming number of apps allow users to stream video and/or video chat with strangers—many without security blocks or filters. By using these services, students are vulnerable to cyberbullying and harassment as well as exposure to inappropriate content and sexual predators.   
  • Dating
    Tweens and teens have been known to lie about their age and create fake accounts on dating apps, some of which are riddled with spambots. There are some dating apps geared specifically toward teenagers—like MyLOL, which encourages users to send private messages to strangers.

Check out our full App Watchlist to learn about the dozens of potentially risky apps and sites students may be downloading and using. This list will be updated as our Safety team comes across new apps that pose a risk to student well-being. Be sure to bookmark the page and check the list regularly to learn about any new apps you should be aware of. 

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