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The 411: What to Know About Your Kids’ Social Media

Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them. – Steve Jobs

If only this quote from the late Steve Jobs was a narration of how society approached technology and social media on a daily basis. 

One of the greatest and most influential tools that technology has provided us is social media. And social media is at a point where it’s ever-changing, allotting little time for parents and children alike to keep up.

But unlike their children, parents don’t have discovering the newest social media apps and trends near the top of their priority list. And that, in itself, has become a dangerous trend. 

Social media,  when used improperly, can welcome negative consequences. So, for the parent that doesn’t have time to keep up with the latest social media craze, here are a few ‘need-to-knows’ about social media in 2019:

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Anonymity is king.

There are several apps on the market that use “anonymity” as their selling point. And it’s always the same idea: ask questions and chat with friends/strangers anonymously! 

Obviously, the appeal of this is that users can say whatever they want without the risk of repercussions or someone identifying them. However, this often welcomes and promotes cyberbullying and trivial, demeaning gossip. 

Kids see these anonymous platforms as an opportunity to unleash their frustrations and negative energy, and the target is often other kids. 

Lastly, and most frighteningly, some of these apps have been utilized to plan heinous acts aimed at minors. 

Apps to look out for: YOLO, Whisper, Secret

Apps equal access.

Plain and simple: the more access kids have to apps, the more access the outside world has to them. 

In addition to anonymity, another feature that many social media apps offer is the ability to talk to strangers with the flick of a finger. At times, this feature can be harmless and help a teenager meet a new friend in a new town, for instance.

Unfortunately, many of these apps can create more harm than help if not used carefully, such is the case with a recent robbery in Houston, Texas. Teenagers and children, for some reason, find it enjoyable to chat with strangers, which can eventually lead to meeting those strangers in person.

Apps to look out for: Monkey, WhatsApp, KiK, Discord, GroupMe

The internet doesn’t delete.

Upon its arrival, one of Snapchat’s key features was that you could send photos/videos which would expire after an amount of time, determined by the sender. Instagram and other apps have since adopted some form of expiring photo/video technology, which gives folks the courage to send compromising material over the internet, assuming it will be deleted momentarily.

Parents, please warn your kids against this falsehood. There is no way to guarantee what is kept or deleted once it is put into the social media universe. 

Often times, lewd or compromising photos can be screenshot by the recipient. And while Snapchat and Instagram both alert the sender that their photo has been screenshot, it doesn’t mean that the recipient loses the photo. It simply means that the sender is aware that the recipient now owns the photo.

When it comes to blogging and microblogging apps, like Twitter and Tumblr, it’s important that kids watch their words. There have been countless stories of athletes, politicians, and every day professionals posting scandalous comments on their social media apps and it coming back to haunt them.

Basic rule of thumb: if you have to think twice about your Tweet, don’t press Tweet!

Apps to look out for: Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Tumblr

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Connect With The West Angeles Youth Ministry!

Are you interested in your teenager having a stronger connection with God instead of technology? Click HERE to learn more about the West Angeles Youth Ministry, which offers Bible study and retreat opportunities, and specializes in mentorship!