Tags Posts tagged with "teens and social media"

teens and social media

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You’ve probably heard about the social media apps students in Colorado used to keep their sexting secret.  Investigators say at least 100 students were involved. I’m pretty sure there were a lot of surprised parents.  While we all like to think we know what our kids are doing, some kids will find a way to keep their secrets. Here is a list of social media apps all parents should know about.

 

 

SNAPCHAT
This app lets users send videos sand photos to people on their friend list.  Users decide if it is a video or image.  It can only be seen a certain amount of times and the user can tell if the viewer saves the chat.  The warning is that anything sent via this app can be saved. Many users believe this is a “safe” app for sexting, but it can be saved and posted anywhere on the internet. For more information on Snapchat click here.

BLENDR 
This social media app allows people to meet using GPS location services.  Users send messages, videos, photos and can rate other users.  Anyone can join and this increases the opportunity for sexual predators to contact and meet up with minors.  As with other apps, this one is prime for sexting.

KIK MESSENGER
This is another instant messenger app that allows users to share videos, pics, and more.  Users don’t use phone numbers, instead they use screen names.  Users can send YouTube videos, memes, and gifs.  Although many teachers are using this app for school, there are no parental controls and no authenticating.  This makes the app a risk for sexual predators and sexting. A common term associated with this app is “kik buddy” which means “sex buddy.”

ASK.FM
Ask.fm is a social networking site used almost completely by teens.  The premise is that users are able to ask and answer questions by users and remain anonymous. Teens have been known to use the app to target other people in derogatory ways.  This is one of the most used apps for cyber-bullying.

YIK YAK
This app is particularly dangerous for users because it is so simple and easy to use.  Users post text-only “yaks” that are a maximum of 200 characters.  The texts are viewed by users in the general area.  That means anyone within a certain distance can read and yak.  The posts are anonymous, but users can connect.  Users have used this app to bully others in the area.  This app is geared toward college students, but many high schoolers are now using it.

VAULT APPS
There are quite a few apps with the word vault in their title.  These apps use fake calculator “front” to allow users to keep pictures, videos, and chats secret from anyone who doesn’t know what to look for.  It is easy for anyone who is looking to find the best app for their platform.

DOWN
This app requires users to connect with Facebook. In the app they categorize their friends as someone they would like to hang with or someone they are “down” to get with.  This app is specifically for sex and finding sex with other users.  Although teens may not actually get “down” with someone, it makes the idea of casual sex normal for users.

 

The bottom line is just being aware can let you, the parent, know what your kids are doing. If you check your kids’ phone regularly you can search for apps by name. Try an open search term like “vault” or “picture locker” to see what your kids are looking at.  Parents can set up a code on their kids’ phone so kids can only buy and download parent approved apps.  Check out CommonSenseMedia for updates and information on helping your kids stay safe on social media.

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Around 75 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds are carrying a cell phone and most of these are smartphones.  These kids are spending an average of 6 to 9 hours on various devices. Many of these kids are using their phones for texting, social media accounts, and much more.

 

 

 

 

Your child may be using a variety of ways to chat with other people:  Kik, Skype, Snapchat, video game consoles, and of course texting and email.  On top of this, kids are getting smarter and there are various apps, Ghost or Conceal,  they can use to conceal pictures and texting.  These apps look like calculators or clocks. With all this chatting going on, how is a parent to know what is going on in their child’s life?

Sure, we can talk to them, but if your child is like mine the talk happens when they want it to. You can always check their devices, but what if they delete things or have hidden apps? Using a cell phone tracker can help you spot problems like smart phone addiction, sexting, and cyber bullying.  The experts behind these apps recommend telling your child you will be monitoring their phone and talking with them about responsible use.

Here is how TeenSafe, a cell phone tracker works. When your child’s device is connected you will see the GPS location of the phone and the latest calls and messages on the home page.  However, you need your child’s Apple ID and password for an iPhone and Google Play information for Android. Setting it up for an iPhone is fairly simple, but it is a bit more complex for Android.

You can track them and see all their interactions. You can also follow them on social media. You can take their phone and look through it, because more than likely you are paying for it and you are the parent.  One of the perks this program touts is the ability to delete your child’s text messages. Is that really the relationship you want with your child? Deleting text messages your child has received without them knowing can border on manipulation and intrusion.

The bottom line is this, yes, legally you can monitor your child’s phone if they are under 18-years-old. You can see and manipulate their online presence. However, they don’t learn anything unless you are talking with them about their online activity.  This program should be used as a tool and a way to connect with your child. If it isn’t about teaching them responsibility then what will they learn for their future, when you can’t monitor all their online activity?