With technology developing so fast, it’s hard to keep up, yet kids seem to manage, especially when it comes to social media. It’s important for you, as a parent to understand how these platforms work because while everyone got on board with Facebook, that’s not what the kids are using anymore. So, what platform are they using? How are they using it? What are they using it for and how old should they be to access it?
One of the most popular social media apps, probably due to its hilarious filters, is Snapchat. It is a free app which allows users to take a picture or video and send it to their friends. The image isn’t permanent, and you get to decide how long a photo will “live,” from 1 to 10 seconds, after it’s viewed. However, the person you send it to can still take a screenshot and save the photo for themselves. Snapchat recently developed a new feature called Snap Map which can show your location, so it’s important to turn this feature off so you are able to keep safe as it can allow others to zoom in and find exactly where you are.
Instagram is an app that allows users to edit photos they have taken on their phone and post them to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Photos on Instagram are open to the public by default, so once a profile has been created, anyone can browse them and follow other Instagram users. You can, however, make an Instagram profile private and users have to send a request to connect. You should also turn off the Geo-tagging or location of photos, to prevent anyone from knowing where your child is. You can also send private messages on Instagram, so it’s a good idea to check your child’s inbox regularly and learn how to DM on Instagram.
Meow Chat allows you to swap text and picture messages with friends and other users. There is an option for ‘Random Chat’ which allows you to go into a random chat room and talk openly with anyone. There is also an ‘Explore’ feature where you can see what people nearby are up to and see their pictures which can be liked and commented on.
Whisper allows users to post snippets of information anonymously to another user or group of users using images and fonts. It allows users to respond anonymously to other anonymous ‘whispers’. While Whisper is 100% anonymous, you are still able to comment or like other Whispers, as well as receive private messages from other users, and users can share their location with others.
Secret is another anonymous app which allows users to share ‘secrets’ which is delivered anonymously to the people in their contacts list who are also on Secret. These people can view, like, and comment on a post, and if a friend likes a Secret, it will be shared among their friends so secrets can spread. The app accesses your contacts list, but there are no names or profiles displayed on the posts. You can see how many friends you also have Secret, but you won’t be able to see their identity. All posts are encrypted so that not even the team behind this app know who is posting. Read Secret’s privacy information and FAQs, including information on how to report a comment and block another user.