social media sitesWe all know the biggies…Facebook, Instagram…Twitter,  but what about Snapchat or Ask.fm?

There are new social media sites popping up regularly and as soon as parents uncover them, teens are seeking new ways to communicate.  The problem is not that teens are being teens, it is that these new apps and sites are often encouraging risky behavior such as sexting and cyberbullying that can cause long-term damage or disruption to a child or adolescent’s life.

                                             Parents are always encouraged to be constantly researching and “butting in” to their                                                         child’s life to learn about their habits and what they are doing.  

NO, this is not considered an invasion of privacy, no matter how many times your adolescent tells you this!  

                                                                                    THIS IS PARENTING THE RIGHT WAY!

Keeping up with the trends is harder than it seems.  Here are a few of the most recent sites and apps that parents should know about and monitor…

Apps that are primed for Bullying
Ask.fm: A social networking site where users can post anonymously. The site has been linked to multiple suicides of teens due to cyber bullying
Kik Messenger:   Allows users to share photos, sketches, voice messages, and other content
Voxer:   Turns your smartphone into a walkie-talkie
Chatroulette:  This website allows the user to anonymously chat online with anyone without the use of security blocks or filters. The website is easy to use and does not protect users from adult content or disturbing images. Once you’re logged on, the site pairs you up with a stranger. The user can choose to skip and go to the next pairing or chat with that individual.

Encrypted and short-lived apps
Snapchat, WIKR, Poke: A sharing tool in which the text and/or images disappear from the recipient’s phone after a specific amount of time. Because the window of time is so short, many teens mistakenly believe the material they send will disappear into cyberspace never to be heard of again.  Unfortunately, there are ways around that and the material they send (sexting, cheating, etc) may be preserved and possibly used against them later.  One of the ways this happens is through a simple screenshot that gets saved on a person’s phone!
(www.mywikr.com,  www.snapchat.com)

Other popular websites and apps
Pheed:  Asocial media platform that enables users to create, inspire and share texts, photos, videos, audio tracks, voice-notes and live broadcasts.  Whatever your child is doing at the time can be broadcast live!

4Chan:  A simple image-based bulletin board where anyone can post comments and share images.  These posts can be anonymous which can easily encourage cyberbullying

The TODAY show published an article detailing 11 apps that are regularly used by teens…
Moms, you oughta know: 11 social media apps teens are using now

These will change often so try to stay abreast of the newest apps, sites, and fads that your teen is using.  The biggest weapon you have to help you protect your teen is your involvement in their life.  Don’t be afraid to be nosey and let set the boundaries and limits with reminders of the family rules often!