We live in such a techie world these days and our kids just eat it up! Remember when we were so worried about that app that limited kids to 140-characters and thought oh my gosh this is going to ruin their attention span! Then we worried about the abbreviated words and lack of precise spelling fearing our kids would never know how to spell correctly? All that seems child's play compared to what is happening now with the availability of much more sinister social media apps that are out there for kids to download for free.
Some apps allow messaging that will disappear (but really doesn't), videos that you can actually stream live from your living room or bedroom and chat rooms where you can talk to complete strangers. Social media introduces features that seem harmless and fun but can turn out to be downright dangerous.
Social media however can be used for good and it is super amazing. It offers creative and innovative ways to connect and communicate with each other. Kids need to learn to use it responsibly and parents need to be monitoring what their kids are spending their time on so they are both happy and safe.
Here are a few of the most popular social media and gaming apps for you to check out prior to your child insisting they are a must-have because all of their friends are using them and why can't they too.
Unwrapping what parent's should know...
Instagram the most popular social image-sharing site is creative and very fun. Something to watch out for... comments can be harsh and crushing... so beware.
With Kik you sign up with a username and not your phone number with this app. Kik lets you chat with a much wider range of people around the world and that includes strangers.
Periscope is one of the first apps to let people live-stream (use their phones to broadcast live video to the internet as it's happening!) Periscope has a lot of potential, but it needs to be monitored with kids. It kind of gives you chills as to where this could go.
Snapchap is a huge, huge hit with the young and old alike. It lets you share messages with each other that self-destruct after they are read. But guess what everyone? They DO NOT actually disappear at all.
Steam is a social gathering gaming site that offers both free-based downloads (watch if it is age-appropriate), multiplayer action, and chatting with other gamers.
Tumblr is actually one of the most popular places for creative self-expression. It offers a large range of user-generated content but keep a close eye on things... many times content is not age-appropriate.
Twitch is where gamers go to watch more advanced gamers live-stream themselves playing games. There is a lot of violent content and unscripted language so please be aware of that before downloading this app for your child.
Everyone recognizes that popular little bird logo by now. On Twitter there is the ability to follow famous celebs, presidents and VIPs from every walk of life. Twitter is a staple for many people. It's there that they are offered their daily news, what's trending, and of course the drama of people voicing their opinions.
Vine's six-second looping videos can truly be funny as well as entertaining. Some of the content posted is mature in nature so be cautious and know it is featured there.
I just want you to be aware of the pros and cons of social media for your child. The best advice is to go over the rules of using it responsibility and safely. Let's face it... it's not going away so they have to be taught the positives and negatives of its use, and unfortunately the dangers.
As always know what your kids are watching, listening to and who they are talking to. The world can be a dangerous place but the flip side is that social media, used properly, can be a very uplifting, creative and magical place. Have a great day, and weekend, everyone. Hope you have time to curl up with a good book and read. See you back here again on Monday.
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Read on and read always!
It's a wrap.