There has been a lot of talk lately regarding social media and keep your family safe online.
Status updates, comments, instant messages, videos, tweets, texts, and online gaming have become a regular part of our kids' lives. In today's digital society, kids are logging on from everywhere, including smartphones, gaming devices — tablets, and laptops — many parents are not aware of what kids are up to, much less much the social media they are using.
“The increasingly online-savvy nature of young people today was reflected by the fact that two in five of those aged between seven and 19 had created an app, website, game or blog.” — www.independent.co.uk
Most parents are aware of the common social media outlets — Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. The reality is that parents are not aware of the additional online social sites that are starting and put our children at risk without even knowing.
I’ve collected a few interesting and not so common social media and social networking sites that your kids and teens may be using.
Ask.fm - Social networking website allows users to ask other users questions and have the option of autonotymy. As an example, questions like "Why are you a loser?" "Why are you ugly?" etc. are common on the site.
Qooh.me - Allows people to get to know you better by asking you anonymous questions. Flirt/Chat and be random. There is no online moderator to check for disturbing content and adult profiles are mixed in with those of teens and children.
Pheed - Is a fast growing social media that allows you to create voice notes, musics, photos, videos, and text. It also requires you to rate for feed “G”, “PG”, “PG-13” or ”R”. This helps users to moderate the content they view.
Vine - While this mobile app can be used to post short looping videos, some teens are using the app to videotape others without their knowledge.
Club Penguin - Popular amongst elementary students, club penguin is a virtual world where children play games and interact with friends in the guise of colourful penguin avatars. This is the facebook and twitter for the elementary age kids.
Kidswirl - social network with interface similar to Facebook's
Webkinz - a site that features virtual pet caring for kids
Whyville - educational Internet site with games
Kidzworld - a content-driven community for tweens
FaceChipz - a social network for kids created by parents
Kidzrocket- a social network for pre-teens
Google+ - is Google's social network, which is now open to teens. It is the second-largest social networking site in the world, having surpassed Twitter in January 2013.
Snapchat - Widely known as the "sexting app," allows users to take photos, videos, text and drawings and send them to a friend. Then the app deletes everything sent to the recipient within a few minutes one the recipient opens the message.
WhatsApp Messenger - is a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS.
KiK - An instant messenger service designed for use on smartphones. This is another app that has been widely associated with sexting.
Oovoo - A startup video chat and instant messaging application that is similar to Skype and Apple's Facetime.
Thumb.it - the idea behind Thumb, a new social sharing opinion based photo app to get and give feedback in virtually every area of life (music, artwork, shopping, hairstyles, relationships, movies, food, etc.).
Skout - Is about making new connections and friends. Skout has two separate and distinct communities for teens and adults. Features include chatting, exchanging photos or notes, and sending virtual gifts.
MeetMe - you can browse locals to meet people near you and play social games. MeetMe uses social discovery applications in order to connect members.
Social media and social networking sites are great ways for kids to connect and play with friends. It's a place for youngsters to learn new things, collaborate with friends, meet new people and be creative.
When kids share their thoughts, photos, videos, and personal information that is when it becomes a problem. Now many apps and social networking sites have the ability to post your location unknowingly. That when physical security becomes a concern.
One piece of advice for parents
Go online. Get an account for yourself. See for yourself what kids are doing online.
What social media sites are your kids using?
I’m interested in your solutions and sites your kids are using as, as well. Drop me a comment, let the community know what you are doing to ensure your children stay safe online.