Whisper App is an anonymous, location-based app that isn’t new, but is new for a lot of parents. The app is being called out for having been used by a predator this week, in a case where a 16 year-old teen was allegedly raped by a 42 year-old male after “meeting” on Whisper.
“The problem with profile-based networks is they’re always trying to make you be one person. You can’t be captain of football and really like “Glee.” You can’t be a great dad and a huge tattoo enthusiast. We connect people around content, rather than connecting around people.”
That sounds good in principle, but consider Whisper from the point of view of a predator. The app is truly anonymous – nobody will know your true identity or age unless they meet you in person. Whisper is location based – by default, your location is revealed with each post, although users can turn location off for individual posts, or by disabling the GPS tracking on their phone. So, a predator who is looking for a teenage girl in the Northeast Philadelphia area will be able to find people who appear to be just that, and attempt to strike up a conversation.
We’re sure that most teens don’t begin using Whisper as a means to meet people in real life, but one can’t discount the resourcefulness of predators. If a predator does see a post in his area that looks like it was posted by a teenage girl (or whatever type of person he is looking for), he can reply either via public or private message, and attempt to establish a dialog. In the case above, the predator and teen had been communicating for weeks before meeting in person.
The really bad news for parents is that it is impossible to monitor teens on Whisper unless the parent has access to the teen’s phone and passwords, including their Whisper password.
Even if predators are rare on Whisper and other social networks, they do exist. Whisper is an app that is by its very nature one that your teen should avoid, even if their intent is to only use it to share silly secrets. The risk is too great.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.