Teenagers are an interesting set of people. It is like you have to learn your once loving child all over again. These days teenagers are so enthralled with their phones that they barely lift their heads up enough to walk safely across the street. As a parent, we need to know what they are occupying their time within those phones. Technology is great but it could also be a gateway to bringing negative energies into our teenager’s worlds. According to my daughter and her friends, Facebook is for old people now, so here are three very popular apps they might be using and some tips on how to keep them safe while they are using these apps.
This app is extremely popular among teenagers. According to Marketing Land, “42% of users between ages 13-16 are actively using the app.” They can get on this app and lip sync until their face turns blue. The social media platform is used to make a variety of short-form videos, from genres like dance, comedy, and education, that have a duration from 15 seconds to one minute. For the most part Tik Tok is a cute platform for kids to learn dance routines, look at cute dogs or cats and watch some of the funniest short videos. They gain followers by posting videos and using hashtags to describe what they are doing.
What Parents Should Look Out for on Tik Tok
I am a nosy parent, so I look at the videos that pop up on my daughter’s timeline. Although you can change privacy settings such as discoverability, personalization, and safety, the restricted mode, which helps limit the appearance of content that may not be appropriate for some teenagers, is still being worked on. There is still a possibility that your teenager may hear explicit content in these short videos. People can also send your child direct messages to an inbox. If you do not want this feature, you are able to change this setting and have either only friends or no one to have the ability to send messages. Still be weary about the “only friends” option because your child can add anyone as a friend. But all-in-all, with the correct changes in your child’s settings on the app, this is a pretty decent social media platform that you might not have to worry TOO much over.
Although similar to Tik Tok, Snapchat allows your teen to share pictures called “stories” and send video messages that last only 24 hours. According to Smart Social, “snapchat is ranked as the most popular social media site among teenagers.” My teenager says that the best part about it is if you tell anyone a secret and they try to tell people, you can see when they screenshot, or screen recorded it. In my opinion, one of the great things about Snapchat are the filters they offer to add to the pictures and videos.
What Parents Should Look Out for on Snapchat
The 24-hour time limit may give your teen a false sense of security thinking that what they post will never be seen again. However, anyone can save your teens’ “snap” and save it for their personal use. Snapchat can also be very addictive. Be careful how long your teenager uses this app because on average children visit snapchat 40 times per day. Another red flag of Snapchat is the Snap Map. This allows your child to share their real time location to all their Snapchat friends. Your child could add anyone as a friend so this can pose a big risk. If your child has this feature on, it is best to have it turned off.
Instagram is another popular social media platform teens and tweens may use. They may call it IG or the gram. This platform offers users a place to upload pictures and videos where people can like, follow, or comment on them. Instagram allows people to save your pictures and they can do the same with your teens’. Whatever you post will be saved to your feed for anyone to see.
What Parents Should Look Out for on Instagram
By default, Instagram makes your account public at inception. For your teenager, this could be dangerous so it is important to make sure they have their account private so they can be friends with only people who they approve to follow them. Instagram offers the feature of direct messages, and anyone can send a message to your teenager. If they are not following your teen, the message will come in as a message request, in which your teen can still see if they accept it. Instagram does offer you the opportunity to disable this feature in which you will not get any message requests from those who are not following your teenager.