5 Apps Teens Are Using Today - What To Be Aware Of
When we packed away the baby clothes and binkies, a majority of parents assumed that our job of constantly being on the lookout for threats to our child’s well-being were primarily over. Unfortunately, parenthood isn’t that simple. We knew our kids would still need the basics: bike helmets, seat-belts, stranger danger, and the five second rule. However, for many of us, our parental radar failed to register the possible risks lurking behind our son’s and daughter’s beloved digital devices.
Today, our children hold the world in their hands with Smartphones, tablets, computers, gaming systems, and a host of other devices offering our families the benefits of instant communication. Unlike the days where we could baby proof our homes, the constantly evolving world of social media and apps requiring us to be diligent and hold an understanding of the sites our teens frequent everyday.
5 Popular Apps Today’s Teens Are Using
It’s no secret that our children spend substantial amounts of time plugged in to their devices and it can be daunting to stay on top of the current apps our kids enjoy. Many of us already know about Snapchat and Instagram, but there are a several popular apps favored by today’s teens that we are unaware existed. Especially, when we pause to consider the fact that 70 percent of our sons and daughters take measures to hide their online activity from us.
To help protect our children and stay in the know, here is a compiled list of apps our teens might be frequenting:
Dubsmash. This entertaining app allows users to design short videos that showcase them lipsyncing to movie, sound, or song bytes. Generally, this app is used in good fun, but there have been a few concerns regarding copyright laws. Encourage children to privately share their dubsmash videos and use public domain material.
Whisper. This app features anonymous confessions posted on images to create “memes”. Images are then shared with others, spilling secrets to the masses. It’s amusing to read some funny Whispers, but if used incorrectly this app can become a cyberbully’s weapon to spread hurtful rumors and lies.
MeetMe. This app allows teens to find people located within a certain proximity who share similar interests. While this can be great to find others, MeetMe has been used by online predators to groom and contact potential victims.
Tinder. Yes, our children are using this adult dating app to hookup. Tinder readily admits that 7 percent of the site’s users are between the ages of 13 and 17. Many of our kids register with false birthdates which allows much older and experienced people access to our teens.
Down. Down allows users to sort through their Facebook friends for people who are “down” with having a one night stand. This app was intended to strip the awkwardness away from finding “friends with benefits” and may encourage unhealthy sexual encounters.
5 Essential Tips For Digitally Protecting Our Children
Even though the world of social media can be intimidating, parents aren’t completely helpless. Listed below are suggestions to instill a sense of social media etiquette and digitally protect our children:
Teach children how to properly create passwords and choose privacy settings. As an added sense of security, encourage them to never share their passwords with others- even their best friends.
Encourage them to only share items they would feel comfortable with a grandparent seeing and to friend people they know in reality. Catfishing, the act of using fake profiles and identities to lure people into relationships, is common. Cyberbullies and online predators often use this tactic to gain access to their victims.
Know what a child is doing online. This can be as simple as friending them on Facebook, occasionally checking their messages, or using software that allows a parent access to a child’s phone records. Being aware of a child’s activity can help you step in if a child gets in a situation they are not able to handle on their own.
Tell children to seek adult intervention if they witness or experience cyberbullying. Only one out of ten kids will do this! Studies have found that if an adult intervenes bullying often stops within ten seconds.
Create a technology contract for the family. Write an outline of expectations and consequences to get everyone on the same page before a problem develops. By keeping everyone informed, it should prevent future arguments.
How do you keep your children safe online?