Social Media Apps

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Social Media Apps Every Parent Should Know About
What's Going on in the Cyber World?
The apps developers desrcibe it as "the fun way to connect with new and interesting people around you." It is rated ages 17+ but allows users as young as 13 to register - and the app connects with Facebook. This app is mainly used as a dating tool and helps people find others in their geographic location. It allows them to view photos and to begin instant messaging one another. The geo-location features and anonymous nature of this app put kids at risk for catfishing, sexual harrasment, and stalking.  
Yik-Yak - This is an app where all users are anonymous- app only requires a user's location. Posts are called "yaks". App is targeted towards college students to spread word about events and is rated 17+. However, younger kids are now using this app and some have used it to post hurtful comments about peers.
This app allows users to send and receive photos and videos, or "snaps", which disappear 10 seconds after they are opened. It is rated age 12+. Some kids are using this app to take inappropriate pictures, thinking they can't be saved and circulated. However, users can take a screenshot, which then can be shared with others.
This app allows users to connect with a question and answer format. They can communicate with friends as well as anonymous users. This app is rated 13+, and is more popular in Europe, but is now being used more frequently in the U.S. This app has been linked to several cyber bullying incidents, including the suicide of a 12 year old girl in Florida.
This is a push-to- talk app that allows users to exchange short voice messages.It allows for multiple chats at one time and has a rating of ages 4+. Hurtful messages from cyber bullies can hurt more when spoken and can be replayed repeatedly.
Kik Messenger
This is a mobile app that allows users to text at a high speed while users faces appear in a bubble next to their text. It is rated 17+, but there is no age verification so anyone can download it. Kik allows your child to connect with others using only a username, not a phone number. This app has been connected with cyber bullying.
Vine is Twitter's mobile app that allows users to shoot and share 6 second videos. It is rated age 17+, but some kids and teens are still downloading it. Some of the videos are perfectly fine, yet inappropriate videos are easily found on this app.
Poke is Facebook's app that is very similar to snapchat. Photos reportedly self-destruct seconds after receipt. While not as popular as snapchat, it is gaining young users who are sending inappropriate pictures.  These pictures can be saved and viewed.
Whisper's motto is "Share Secrets, Express Yourself, Meet New People". Rated for 17+, this app lets users set up anonymous accounts to make their messages overlap graphics. It does allow for creativity but allows users to share sensitive information, which could be dangerous for kids and teens.
This very popular app is owned by Facebook and is rated 13+. While not as much inappropriate content is available on this app, users sometimes connect with people they do not know well.  For younger kids, this could put them in contact with "Trolls", or people making rude or insulting comments.
Although rated 17+, many kids and teens are active on this photo sharing app. All users' content is public unless the user goes changes the privacy settings. This app allows users to view inappropriate content and is not suitable for younger users.
Shots of Me
This is a 12+ selfie only app, which does not allow comments under pictures. However, it does have  direct messaging area where users can send private messages to each other. The app does show a users location and how long ago a photo was added. Some of these features could be adjusted in the app's settings. At this time, this app is only available for Apple devices.
Jailbreak Programs and Icon Hiding Apps
These are not social media apps, but are important for parents to know about. Cydia (pictured) is a popular app for "jailbroken" phones. It's a gateway to icon hiding apps. Some young people are using them to hide questionable apps and games from their parents.
Catfishing - to lure someone into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona. A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they are not using social media to create false identities. Cyberbullying - when a child, pre-teen, or teen is harassed and threatened by another child, preteen, or teen using any digital media, including social media and apps. Trolls- people who make vicious, usually anonymous comments on social media Jailbreaking (iphone) or Rooting(Android) - hacking your own device to lift restrictions on allowable applications.
What now?
Talk with your kids about what apps they are using and if they are experiencing any cyber bullying or trouble online. Check out apps that can help you monitor what your child is doing online. You can also set age limits on your child's device. Many kids lie about their age to gain access to certain apps. If you restrict that access, they will not be able to download apps outside of the age range listed. Common Sense Media says to share this with your child to keep them safe online: "If you wouldn't share it with your family, don't share it online." Also, make a rule that your child must ask permission before downloading any apps, so you are aware of them. Finally, advise your kids not to share their passwords with anyone.
Here are some useful links. All of the above information can be found at the first link.
Social Media Apps Every Parent Should Know About
Tressie Gallamore, M.Ed., LPC-Intern School Counselor, A.R. Turner Elementary Phone: 936-856-1296 E-mail: [email protected]