CNN recently published an article discussing how Facebook started off as a social media site for mainly young people, but how all of that has changed now. The teens and social media dynamic changes quickly and often, so it’s important for parents to keep up with the changes in order to make sure their teens are using the platforms safely. Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and more have all been added to the list of social media platforms teens commonly engage on. How teens and social media interact can be really positive, but it can also be dangerous. This may seem complicated, but it’s definitely worth your time–as a parent–to look into them and understand how they work.
What you need to know about teens and social media
Teens and social media can have a positive relationship, but it can also have negative aspects–especially if parents don’t understand what their children are using. Here are some common apps and social media platforms teens use:
Kik Messenger: Kik is a free messaging app where teens can communicate for an unlimited, free amount. The issues surrounding this app revolve around “stranger danger.” It’s easy for teens to communicate with strangers through Kik–and you won’t be able to see it because it’s not registered on your teen’s regular messenger.
Instagram: This app allows users to share photos or 15-second videos either privately or publicly. As far as teens and social media go, it can be a great artistic outlet; but it can get unhealthy when teens start measuring their self-worth through the number of likes they receive.
Tumblr: This is a cross between a blog and social media site. More often than not are profiles completely open to whoever wants to look because you have to go out of your way to make it private. A large issue with Tumblr is the easy access to inappropriate content. Oftentimes the goal of Tumblr is to get many likes and reblogs (which is like re-tweeting).
Twitter: You’ve probably heard of this one or even have an account! This one allows you to post photos, videos, or tweets 140 characters or less. Profiles are often public. It’s easy for teens to post something they regret in the heat of the moment–Twitter-wars are pretty common.
Vine: Vine is a 6-second video-sharing app. Profiles are public by default, but can be adjusted to be private. An issue with Vine is that it’s easy to find inappropriate videos.
Snapchat: This seems to be one of the hardest ones for parents to understand. On Snapchat, someone can privately send messages and photos that disappear once viewed. There’s also something called a “story” where someone can post 10-second photos or videos for all their friends to view publicly. There are privacy settings available. The issues surrounding Snapchat is that it’s easy to send inappropriate messages and photos.
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