Social Media

Social media and networking is the use of a dedicated Web site or mobile app to communicate informally with other members of the site, by posting messages, photographs, videos and comments.

There are a plethora of social media networking sites and apps that todays youth have access to.  There are however a few that are very popular and most teens will gravitate to these more popular sites where there friends hang out.  We have listed a few of the more popular apps that kids may be using, what the app does and how good the privacy and security controls are on the app.  And remember to be SMART online:

Safe – don’t share personal information
Meeting – never meet someone you don’t know
Accepting – do not accept emails or contact from unknown sources
Reliable – someone online may be lying about who they are.
Tell – always tell an adult or parent if you feel unsafe or worried.

Facebook is an enormous free social networking site with hundreds of millions of users all over the world. Users ‘like’, comment on and share posts with their ‘friends’ online.  Kids like this site because it is busy, has lots of  information, they can play games with their friends, post their own information and share with friends. It is very important to review Facebook security settings to ensure your privacy is protected and restricted to friends only.  Even then, all your activity including posts you like, is viewable and available to all your friends.

Instagram is a free photo-sharing and social networking site on which people can take pictures and then share them with other members of the Instagram community.  Instagram has grown dramatically in popularity recently and is now one of the most popular apps used by teens. Be sure to set the privacy so that followers have to be approved before they can see your photo feed.  Instagram also has direct messaging where you can send a direct message to another user, thereby allowing in app messaging.

Kik Messenger is a fast, simple, and personal smartphone messenger that connects you to everyone you love to talk to.  If you have an internet connection on your phone, you can Kik your friends for free, whereas texting costs money.  There is minimal security on this app are there are other apps that perform the same functions and are preferable such as Viber and WhatsApp.

Pinterest is a pinboard-style photo-sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, and hobbies. Users can browse other pinboards for images, re-pin images to their own pinboards, or like photos.

Snapchat is a photo messaging application where users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a controlled list of recipients. These send photos and videos are known as Snaps. Users set a time limit for how long recipients can view their Snaps, ranging from up to 10 seconds to as little as 1 second, after which they self destruct.  However, images can still be saved via screen shot or using a Snapchat saving app such as Snap Grapple or SnapSave.

Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters. Users can tweet text, photos and links to interesting information they have discovered online.  Your tweets can also be re-tweeted by others thereby your information can reach a much larger audience.

Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social networking website. The service allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. Users can follow other users blogs, as well as make their blogs private. Much of the websites features are accessed from the dashboard interface, where the option to post content and posts of followed blogs appear.

Viddy is a simple way to share well-produced, bite-size videos with the world. Viddy makes it easy for anyone to capture, produce and share lifes moments.  Viddy lets you record multiple clips by pausing and resuming recording, up to 30 seconds. After taking a video, you can add effects, music, and contrast to give your video that perfect artistic touch.

Viber allows you to make free calls and send free text, sticker, photo, voice and video messages to other Viber users, on any device, in any network or country.  It is very popular with kids because as long as you are connected to WiFi sending messages etc is free so it does not impact their data plan which costs teenagers money!

Vine is a mobile app owned by Twitter that enables its users to create and post video clips which can be up to 7 seconds long and can be shared or embedded on other social networking services.  Vines have grown in popularity and are viewed many times over and over.  Kids are predominantly accessing this information for fun and comedy however some screening of content may be required due to language and content.

WhatsApp Messenger is a mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. Because WhatsApp Messenger uses the same internet data plan that you use for email and web browsing, there is no cost to message and stay in touch with your friends and you can have any type of phone and still call and message each other. WhatsApp users can create groups, send each other unlimited images, video and audio media messages.