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05.07.2014
I finally joined Instagram, and then I fell down a rabbit hold of tween social media usage.
Of course, social media is more than just Facebook, and parents need to know what their kids are using, and how they’re using it.
I researched, I joined, and I talked to teens and tweens to find out which platforms and apps are currently in use to put together a basic primer for parents.
Instagram is a super-popular photo-sharing site that allows users to also easily photos to other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Twitter lets users send out really short posts--there's a limit of 140 characters for each tweet. March 31, 2014 by gisuser A valuable resource for parents was released today and it’s pretty darned nice – and useful! Of particular interest in the guide is the list of 10 things that kids should not be doing online.
Because many of my kids’ friends (and their parents) are in my contact list, Instagram had plenty of recommendations for me.
For more detailed information on any of these apps and platforms, I’ve provided links to the sites themselves, which all have FAQ pages.


There are a number of privacy options available, and parents need to know that those options differ a little bit depending on whether you're tweeting from a mobile device or a computer. Although Pheed is only for users age 13 and up, users can moderate their content under ratings like G, PG, PG-13, and R. The thing about Google is that once you've logged into anything (YouTube, Google Chrome, Google Hangout, whatever), you're kind of logged into all of it, prompting some to call Google+ "tricked-out sign-in service for Google's products." The appeal of Google+ is that you can more easily find and join "circles" and other communities of people who are interested in the same things as you--whether that's Harry Potter or Rainbow Loom. The social media guide for parents has been developed by the Liahona Academy (be sure to check out their website and the other valuable resources they provide) and is delivered as a free web-based resource and a comprehensive infographic – jam-packed with useful tips!
One issue I've noticed with Instagram is that while parents may have helped their kids set up their Facebook accounts (and checked the privacy settings), it's more likely that kids have set up their own Instagram accounts (and not set the account to private). The downside, obviously, is that it's a place for tweens and teens to anonymous say the most horrible things imaginable to each other. Parents should make sure their kids understand how privacy settings work, and that some things cannot be made private: profile photos and cover photos, for example, are always visible. Common Sense Media calls Pinterest "semi-social" because there isn't really a lot of interaction between users. For example, one option for the mobile app allows your location (street and city) to appear under your tweet.


As a parent, Instagram is handy because a lot of the kids also list their other social media links.
The best choice for most teen users, whether they're tweeting from a home computer or their smart phone, is to keep their account set to private. In response to those complaints, Apple at one point pulled the app from its App Store, which basically forced Twitter to re-issue the app as only for those 17 and up. Besides the messaging capability, kik users can search for and share YouTube videos, reddit images, sketches, and more. Another concern is that ooVoo's privacy capability is a little wonky--you can block people from contacting you, unless you're also Facebook friends, for example.




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