Imagine letting your kid download what is supposed to be a harmless Santa app, only to find out that it’s actually creepy AF. That was exactly the case when an 8-year-old girl was using the “Santa Call & Text You” app, which reportedly asked her what she was wearing.
From the NYDailynews:
The child’s father took control of the phone and asked the app why it was asking such inappropriate questions. What Bell got was a mix of automated and indirect replies, followed by “How old are you?”When Bell said “8,” his daughter’s age, the app reportedly texted back “You are too old for me.”The girls parents said that they have contacted their cellular provider and Apple’s app store where they downloaded the third-party app, but have made little headway so far.
According to the girl’s father, she’s now afraid of Santa Claus.
In other creepy smartphone news, a reported flaw in the Facebook Messenger Kids app let strangers join in on childrens’ group chats.
“Facebook’s Messenger Kids app is built around a simple premise: children shouldn’t be able to talk to users who haven’t been approved by their parents. But a design flaw allowed users to sidestep that protection through the group chat system, allowing children to enter group chats with unapproved strangers. For the past week, Facebook has been quietly closing down those group chats and alerting users, but has not made any public statements disclosing the issue,” The Verge reports.
In an alert obtained by the publication, Facebook wrote: “Hi [PARENT], We found a technical error that allowed [CHILD]’s friend [FRIEND] to create a group chat with [CHILD] and one or more of [FRIEND]’s parent-approved friends. We want you to know that we’ve turned off this group chat and are making sure that group chats like this won’t be allowed in the future. If you have questions about Messenger Kids and online safety, please visit our Help Center and Messenger Kids parental controls. We’d also appreciate your feedback.”
The Verge says Facebook confirmed the message as authentic and said it was sent out to “thousands of users.” “We recently notified some parents of Messenger Kids account users about a technical error that we detected affecting a small number of group chats,” a Facebook representative said, according to the site. “We turned off the affected chats and provided parents with additional resources on Messenger Kids and online safety.”