Social media is any online gathering place which allows people to share ideas, information, photos, and videos. Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Kik Messaging, Facebook...as soon as you learn about one a new one shows up and is the greatest one, in your kids eyes, for keeping connected. As overwhelming as it may seem it is important to keep yourself aware of the options students have when it comes to social media. We have highlighted a few popular apps as well as links to their websites privacy so that you can stay informed.
Instagram (owned by Facebook) is a free photo sharing app that allows users (age 13 and above) to take photos and 15-second videos and share with their friends.
Age Requirement: at least 13 years old to register
Instagram Tips for parents (Source: Instagram)
A Parent's Guide to Instagram (Source: Connect Safely)
Instagram Adds "Photos of You" Tagging Feature: How to Plus Privacy Tips (Source: Larry Magdid)
Snapchat is a photo messaging app where students can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a controlled list of people. Users can set a time limit for how long a recipient can view their item after which time it will supposedly be hidden from the recipient's device and they are deleted from the Snapchat server.
Age Requirement: Snapchat is not intended for students under 13. Minors between the ages of 13-17 should have their parents approval before using.
Snapchat Guide for Parents (Source: Snapchat)
Parents Guide to Snapchat (Source: Connect Safely)
YikYak is a free chatting app that is location-based and claims to be anonymous. The app allows users to post anonymous comments that can be viewed by anyone within a five mile range of the person who posted it. Often times the comments are about what is happening in the world around the person who is posting them however messages could be harassing, answers to tests, sexually explicit comments, etc.
Age Requirement: Users must be 17 to use.
Tumblr is a microbloggin website that allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short blog.
Age Requirement: Users must be 13.
KikMessenger is a free texting app. To initiate an online chat you need to know the username of the person who you want to chat with. Kik users will often post their username on Instagram as a way of sharing their account.
Age Requirement: Kik is rated for users 17+ in the iTunes app store.
Ask.fm is a social networking site where users can ask questions of each other. According to their webwise.ie "anyone can post anonymous comments and questions to a persons profile and is increasingly being used as a means to communicate abusive, bullying, and explicit content. The site is known for issues regarding the lack of reporting, tracking, or parental control processes.
Age Requirement: Users must be at least 13 to join.
Ask.fm What it is and What Parents Need to Know (Source: YourSphere)
Ask.fm Abuse Policy-Blocking and Reporting Abuse (Source: Ask.fm)
Vine is a mobile app that is owned by Twitter. It allows its users to create short six second videos that can be shared via Twitter or other social media services.
Age Requirement: Users must be 17 years or older to use.
Vine- What it is and Why Parent's Need to Know (Source: YourSphere)
With the Skout app you can meet people within a given mile radius of where you are located. With Skout you can meet people by preferences, proximity, chat, see who “checked” you out, browse profiles, and promote your own profile.
Age Requirement: Users must be 17 years or older to download the app according to iTunes however the Skout site indicates that users must be older than 13.
Skout Safety for Parents (Source: Skout.com)
Skout App Review - What Parents Need to Know (Source: Common Sense Media)