Sometimes staying up to date with your children and their social media can be difficult. Fear no more! Social media expert, Adam Peruta, tells us about some apps every parent should know about.
- Yik Yak – this is an anonymous, social media platform that does not need registration. It was made for college-aged kids, but is very popular with teenagers. What Adam says: This app has a huge problem with cyber-bullying. You can say whatever you want with no repercussions. Let your kids know that bullying is not okay, and if they are being bullied, make sure to let someone know.
- Kik — this is a free, instant messaging app. It’s main users are those 11 to 15 years old. This app has over 250 million users. Another reason kids like this app is because it preserves your anonymity; you can use fake usernames without supplying your phone number. What Adam says: there have been several cases where predators have admitted to using this anonymity feature to their advantage.
- Ask.FM — This is a question and answer website and app. It is popular among young teenagers because it keeps you anonymous. It allows any user to post anonymous comments and questions to another person’s profile. The terms of service for this app say you need to be at least 13 to use it and 50% of the users are under 18. What Adam says: this app was featured in the media for being linked to a handful of suicides involving young teenagers. It has also been used as a way to communicate abusive, bullying and sexualized content. In 2014, Ask.FM changed hands and has been working to make the site more safe.
- Whispr: This app encourages users to share secrets and post pictures in a confessional, dark nature. Like the other apps, it first became popular on college campuses, and since then has trickled down to a younger crowd. This app has 20 million users. What Adam says: you can enable your location services, and find others with the app near you, making it very dangerous.
Adam also shares several tips that parents should consider:
- Don’t give out your password to the app stores. Have your children get permission to install new apps to their devices.
- Consider rules for when and how much to use phones. Example: only allow them to use it on the weekends; keep it locked at all other times; and don’t use it at bedtime.
- Don’t let children put a passcode on the phone.
- Advise your kids to not accept a friend request from anyone they do not know.
- Don’t allow them to follow anyone that they do not know.
- Set social media accounts to private.
- Educate your children on how to block users and report images.
- Be aware of other apps that kids can use to hide photos, contacts, and messages.