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Internet safety. They recommend “consider deleting the app from your children’s phones”

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The Canadian Center for Child Protection, an organization working to prevent child abuse, is warning parents about the risks of Wizz, an app popular with minors, and “recommends you consider removing it” from your children’s phones. Why might the app be potentially dangerous?

Wizz is a chat application that “combines functions similar to those available in Tinder (browsing profiles) and Omegle (chat service without registration – ed.),” we read in a message published on Tuesday on the website of Cybertip.ca, a hotline run by by the Canadian Center for Child Protection (C3P), a Canadian organization that works to prevent child abuse. “Parents may not have heard of it, but the Wizz app has millions of users and it’s important to find out if your child is one of them,” Cybertip.ca emphasizes. It warns parents and guardians “against the dangers of Wizz” and “recommends you consider deleting the application from your children’s phones.” Why?

They warn parents against the popular application – reasons

Cybertip.ca says it has received over 180 reports regarding Wizz since 2021. As much as 91 percent of them were “reports of sextortion” (a combination of the English “sex” and “extortion” – ed.). The FBI describes sextortion as a crime in which adults encourage children to send sexual material online. Most of the people who allegedly suffered sextortion on the said platform and then reported it to Cybertip.ca were between 15 and 17 years old.

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Wizz allows users to share information about themselves on their profiles – for example, location and interests. As experts from Cybertip.ca have found, people who extort sexual content from minors use data about their victims, setting a similar location in their profiles and mentioning the same interests. Wizz also allows you to add links to your accounts on other social media applications. “This feature may lead those behind sextortion to other teens’ social media accounts,” Cybertip.ca points out.

Theoretically, people who are over 13 years old can create an account in the application. They must first undergo an age verification process by sending their own photo, but – as Cybertip.ca points out – this method of control is “far from perfect”. “Cybertip.ca analysts, who are 23 and 25 years old, went through the facial recognition process and were able to create Wizz accounts as 16-year-olds,” the release reads.

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A company with “numerous security” applications

In response to reports of dangers associated with the application, a Wizz representative stated that “its advertising partners prohibit sexual content,” but “this is not enough, which is why Wizz recently implemented additional ad control safeguards,” NBC News reported on Thursday .

A representative of Wizz, quoted by the portal, also commented on the allegations regarding the method of age verification. He said that the app’s “numerous security features” “act as a safety net” and “provide additional protection” in the event of incorrect verification. – We are working diligently to continuously improve the application and will introduce additional security features on an ongoing basis – he noted.

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SEE ALSO: How much screen time can negatively impact a child’s development? Findings

Main photo source: David Pereiras/Shutterstock



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