If you are in the market for a new smartphone for your teenage child, it is important that you know about and monitor their activities appropriately. This post is not intended to be a critique of parenting skills or an attempt to tell parents how they should be raising their children. However, there are a number of apps that parents should be aware of.

The ability to communicate and send messages is unprecedented; especially the ability to send illicit messages and pictures that could make parents cringe. While teens may think that it is a great way to express themselves and discover who they are, they could be inadvertently be committing crimes that could lead to life-changing consequences. 

It is hard to imagine your child charged with a sex crime for sending what would be considered child pornography, but it can happen. It may be just as inconceivable that they could be charged for viewing and even sending an illicit video to friends, but more kids are facing potential jail time and being labeled as a sex offender because of it.

So if you suspect that your child is using video chat messaging apps such as SnapChat, Vine, or WhatsApp, it is critical to have honest and frank conversations about how they should, and should not use them. Indeed, some teens may not believe you when you tell them that irresponsible use could end up in criminal charges, but continually educating them about these dangers is essential.

The preceding is not legal advice. For questions about sex crimes emanating from cell phone apps, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help.