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So even if your kid doesn't use one, they may get exposed to one through their friends.Also, the thrill of meeting new people in a seemingly consequence-free environment may pique the interest of So, what can you do?

Teens can use settings to let only friends see their profiles, but they can filter who can chat with them only by gender and age. What parents need to know: There are plenty of scantily clad teens here, too, and one profile for a "17-year-old" indicated she's actually 32.

Also, there are profiles with no pictures, so it's impossible to tell the user's age at all.

At this point, most parents would say "no way" and stop reading right now.

But these apps are a fact of life for many teens (especially LGBTQ youth who may not have a supportive community at school).

Teens can set the age preference of potential matches anywhere from 18 to 80, and most matches during testing were about 50 miles away.

Kik: Part text-messaging app, part social network, Kik gives users the opportunity to talk to both friends and strangers.

A few profiles had references to marijuana use, and many teens shared their handles for other social media platforms, making more personal information available to strangers.

Skout: The Skout app and site offer several ways to connect with other users, including "saying hi" via someone's profile, watching livestreams (or going live), chatting with people who have "liked" you back, or using the "Buzz" feature to access a feed of local users (that appears to be a Facebook feed) who are mostly posting selfies. What parents need to know: In its Safety Tips section, Skout claims to separate teens from adults so they can't interact, but that no longer seems to be the case.

It's also difficult for parents to see what teens are doing in the app, so it's hard to make sure your teen is using it safely. Meet Me: Meet Me's tagline, "Meet, chat, and have fun with new people," says it all. Skout and Meet Me are affiliated, so users can share their profiles between them.

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