130+ Popular Teen Apps Parents and Teachers Need to Know

The SmartSocial.com team scours the internet to find the good and bad teen apps you need to know about. Our Parent App Guides are based on real questions we get from parents and educators all over the world. Instead of keeping our research private, we share our Parent App Guides with our audience. Learn how our Parent App Guide research is conducted. Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.

Learn about the popular teen apps:
Districts: Request this program for your community

The SmartSocial.com App Zones Help Parents
Identify Good and Bad Apps:

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Green Zone Apps

Green Zone Apps can positively impact your social media footprint (with parental guidance) and can help a student shine online.

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Gray Zone Apps

Gray Zone Apps typically feature a lot of private messaging, disappearing content and group chats that are hidden from parents.

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Red Zone Apps

Red Zone Apps allow students to talk with strangers, often encourage users to act anonymous, and they promote bullying, anxiety and depression.

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Dangerous Challenges

Dangerous Social Media Challenges are viral social media challenges, that encourage teens to do dangerous acts for likes, views, attention, and subscribers

Green Zone Apps
(Not safe for students to use unsupervised, but each app can serve a positive purpose)

Green Zone Apps can positively impact your social media footprint  (with parental guidance) and can help a student shine online.

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The internet can be a dangerous place for tweens and teens. This is why parents MUST be active on the same apps their students are using. We feel the apps in our green zone are the “lesser of three evils” as they can be used to help a student (13+ years of age) Shine Online to impress colleges and future employers.

However, this does NOT mean these apps are safe. Adult content is on nearly EVERY app. When used wisely with our social media formula, these apps will better help your students adjust their Google results to create a portfolio of positive online accomplishments. If your students want to have a profile on these networks/apps, Josh Ochs and the SmartSocial team suggest that you please consider having a dialog with your students first.

Understand these Green Zone networks are a safer place to start on social media. Never trust an app just because it looks safe. Parents are the only reliable digital safety app. It's important to get to know each app that your students are on. At the bottom of this page, we list more dangerous (Grey Zone) and most dangerous apps (Red Zone) that we suggest parents use extreme caution if students have access to or use.

Gray Zone Apps
(These apps often contain lots of private & disappearing messages)

Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe. These apps can be good (and bad) for your students.

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The gray zone is a place where your students WANT to hang out, but if they use these apps negatively, it could hurt their digital footprint. Parents should be engaged when students use gray zone apps. This zone can be a great place for family time since many of these apps can be entertaining, and let your students express themselves. These apps can be safe as long as parents are nearby.

We do recommend you talk to your kids about "Sexting" and sharing inappropriate content if your students have these apps. The SmartSocial.com team suggests parents should spend time each month talking with their kids about each app they use. This is the best way to keep your kids safe online (not by restricting them, but by staying informed and keeping an open dialog).

Red Zone Apps
(Lots of anonymous features, adult content, and easy contact with strangers. Supervision strongly suggested or move your kids to a safer zone)

ANONYMOUS APPS – Here are the apps SmartSocial.com  does NOT consider safe for students.

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These are the apps Josh Ochs and the Smart Social team do not recommend for teens or tweens.

These apps usually have inappropriate and unmoderated content. Students are more prone to cyberbullying and chatting with strangers (sometimes even predators) on apps in the red zone. Often, these apps are anonymous and will encourage students to behave inappropriately. When students use an app in anonymous mode (without it being tied to their real identity) they tend to behave differently.

Dangerous Social Media Challenges
(Shared across multiple social media apps)

These are viral social media challenges that are popular with students on almost every social network.

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Viral challenges encourage teens to do dangerous things just for likes, views, attention, and subscribers. These challenges usually target students across several social networks and require them to perform dangerous activities. Students have to post proof of them partaking in the dangerous challenge on social media. Often, these challenges have serious repercussions and encourage students to behave in a way we have never seen before.

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