Here's a link to something you may find interesting as well. This Forbes article validates the fact that teens/tweens are not using Facebook as many adult assume. According to reading I've done lately too, many parents feel that because they are "friends" with their kids on Facebook that they know what's going on in their world of social media. Don't be fooled. The use of FB by teens/tweens has dramatically decreased.
Ask.fm: This app allows users to ask questions that others can answer. Seems harmless enough until you start looking through the questions that teens are asking each other with little regard for who sees the answer or how they may be hurting someone else. Some of the questions/answers are just fun. But if you spend much time scrolling through the questions you'll see sexualized and bullying content.
This app in it's most recent update did get rid of the "anonymous" feature which allowed people to question/comment without leaving their name which resulted in a HUGE cyber bullying issue related to the app. Several suicides of young people were said to be a result of bullying received from Ask.fm.
Hot or Not: This one seems like a really bad way for teens girls (which a lot of the teens I know have this app) to gain self confidence. This app allows you to rate users based on attractiveness. "Check out how hot you are. Get your score!" are some of the things you'll read if you look at this app in the App Store.
This app only requires a user be 12 or older. Ugh. I can't think of much worse than a 13 year old girl being told she's "not hot" and believing that to be her true identity.
Another danger of "Hot or Not" is that it has a chat feature allowing users to "connect with exciting people around you." Nope, I don't want to have predators know where my daughter/son lives.
If you think this app could be innocent enough, run a Google Images search using "Hot or Not App." Definitely NOT what I want my teenage daughter looking to for self-worth.
Parents, once again I can't express how important it is to know this stuff. I know that we're all tired. I know that this is "one more thing." I realize that our kids are fighting for privacy and to be their own persons BUT.....
A graphic picture can't be unseen. Forever changing the way my kids view sex.
A comment made by someone they consider popular can't go unthought of. Forever changing the way they view themselves.
An innocent meeting with a new online friend who somehow understands and has empathy towards a teen/tween is so enticing when that teen is feeling alone and isolated. Forever changing the world of that teen and their families....................
Next week I will be sharing ways to monitor and provide direction when it comes to your teen/tweens electronic device. I'd love your feedback as I draft that post.
How about you? Other apps you've heard of or discovered that could pose potential harm? How do you monitor what is on your kids' devices?