Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have been around for a long time.
These platforms have plenty of traffic and are NORMALLY good apps.
*Be on the lookout for Fake Instagrams called FINSTAS. An easy way to see if your child has one is to
open their phone and see if they have multiple accounts or ask other students if they have one.*
"Bad" (Cannot Be Managed)
The problem with Snapchat is the ease with which ANY type of pics can be sent.
Students can use this app to send nude pictures which will disappear within 10 seconds.
I would caution allowing your students to use this app unless you completely trust them using a proverbial “loaded gun”.
Another feature to be careful of is the "Snap Map". If your child sends a snap, any person on their friends' list (which can be someone they know or someone they don't) can see their exact location, including your own home.
If you allow your children to have Snapchat, make sure "Ghost Mode" is turned on in settings.
Messenger is dangerous in the feature of secret messages. Students can encrypt messages and set time limits to them so they can "self-destruct" or disappear like Snapchat does.
"Ugly" (Should Be Deleted)
These apps are under my recommendation a no-no for students.
Sarahah is an app where you post anonymous messages to people where ANYTHING can be said.
Cyber-bullying is a major danger with this app much like Yik-Yak or any other type of anonymous posting.
Yellow is a dating app for teens, unfortunately, grown adults have bios on this app as well.
*Other apps to remove are Tinder (dating app for Adults) and any type of additional calculator% apps (stores pics privately)*
What Can You as a Parent Do?
Take an invested interest in your child or children's social media life. Watch their body language as they use their phones. You can tell pretty quickly if a conversation is going the wrong way. Know your child's pass code. Parental accountability is vitally important. If they live under your roof and you pay the bill, you have every right to know what your child is doing on his or her phone.
Here are some great tools and apps to help monitor your children:
This is a great app to monitor your children when they are away at school, with friends, etc... You must have your location services on for this app to work but it tracks where you child is, how they got there and if they drive, whether they drove safely or not.
With the dangers of human trafficking rising in the East Tenn. area, this app is vital.
Be warned though, it also shows them where you are as well so make sure trust is a two-way street!
Let's face it. Students' lingo is an everchanging pattern. Sometimes, you may not know what a child is saying. This app can help translate all that "funky fresh" wording they use.
These are presentations done by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for parents handling social media.
This is a great article from 2015 done by Pew Research on Children and Social Media Culture:
It is my prayer that this page will assist you in being the best parent you can be. Remember that anything posted, snapped or sent never truly "goes away". Do the right thing and become informed so you can better help your children! - Josh