While exercise, nutrition and fitness apps are designed to help people get and stay healthy, teens are finding new, unintended ways to achieve some extremely unhealthy goals with them. Have a body-conscious teen? Use your App Report to see if any of these dangerous fitness apps are on their device; it could be a body-issue red flag.
Forget the fact that app creator Under Armor admitted to a massive data hack for more than 150 million MyFitnessPal app users earlier this year. MyFitnessPal, which helps users tally and log calories and exercise to achieve goal weight, is often used by teens for extreme dieting. Cited on “pro-ana” (“pro-anorexia”) message boards and forums to under-consume and over-exercise, the app is used by many with eating disorders.
This fasting app has become an overnight “sensation” among teens, particularly for those interested in water fasting. Teens use Vora to log their the results of the fad diet, which involves consuming nothing but water with the goal of shedding fat fast. And even if your teen isn’t trying to live on water alone, Vora is still a red-flag app. Unlike other health and fitness apps, Vora is exclusively focused on fasting, highlights a variety of options to forgo eating, while allowing users to track and share “progress.”
The premise of this calorie counting app is to basically shame users into consuming less. Yes, that’s right: Because what we all need when we’re feeling a little overweight is shame! Like other calorie trackers, you can scan barcodes and tally up everything you’ve eaten. What’s different about Carrot Hunger is that it actively punishes any overindulges. How? By sending out tweets shaming you to those on social media and serving up full screen ads. Not tough enough? You can even place an iBeacon sensor in your fridge to blare an alarm if you’re over calorie count for the day. While intended to provide humor over humiliation, teens may be far too vulnerable to distinguish the two.