Generation of Technology Series
A Google-owned video-sharing website with a corresponding app for smartphones.
Pros: YouTube can be an amazing platform for kids to learn and get creative. There are myriad videos dedicated to helping children understand complex issues in school as well as exploring their own creative interests. Many of these videos are clean, wholesome and engaging for kids of all ages. And if you want to set some boundaries for your children, YouTube also allows parents to place a few restrictions
on what their kids watch. In addition, YouTube has created a place for children to admire those who are just like them, instead of only idolizing celebrities.
Cons: While kids might follow people that are “just like them,” that doesn’t mean they share the same worldview or beliefs as your family. YouTube is also filled with inappropriate content ranging from vulgar language and violence to drug use and sexually charged activity. It is one of the most free-range sites in that your children can watch pretty much anything they want, if left unsupervised. And though YouTube technically has content standards regarding explicit imagery, it doesn’t take long on the site to realize that those standards aren’t applied consistently. (Especially when it comes to racy, money-making videos by popular musicians.) And the comments section on YouTube can be just as sticky, as users are able to leave hurtful, hateful posts.
Trend: YouTube isn’t just a place where kids passively consume information, at least, not anymore. Young users are now creating YouTube Channels where they’re able to post videos that interest them, in the hopes of gaining an audience. If parents want to disable the comments section on their child’s channel, they can learn to do so here
A Facebook-owned video and photo sharing app.
Pros: Users can privately message friends as well as edit, post and share videos and photos on their personal feed. They also have access to Instagram Stories, where they can post pictures and videos for 24 hours. Users can customize their privacy settings and control who sees their content. Users can utilize hashtags (to personalize) and geotags (to show location) when posting content.
Cons: Just as privately messaging friends can be good, it can also be harmful. Friends of users are able to screenshot their content (without notification) and share it privately with others, even if the other users are not friends of your child. Additionally, users can utilize the search engine and see a variety of clips, videos and photos from other accounts, some of which contain vulgar language, inappropriate material and pornographic images.
Trend: A trend
that many professionals and adults are seeing with Instagram is an increase in depression and anxiety. Instagram allows users to post their “best life,” and oftentimes the “best” version is an unrealistic picture that distorts reality. Additionally, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is another contributor to increased anxiety levels among teens.
A privately owned, multi-media messaging app.
Pros: Snapchat has a variety of filters that allows users to get creative with their pictures. Because there’s no “Like” button, as with Instagram, teens often feel less pressure to portray a perfect or perfectly filtered life on Snapchat.
Cons: Teens are able to post Stories (videos and photos) that last only 24 hours. This can eliminate accountability
, allowing teens to post whatever they choose for a short window of time. Unless, of course, a fellow follower chooses to save an image to his or her personal device before it disappears. Similarly, teens are also able to send direct message words and images which last anywhere from one to 10 seconds, depending on a user’s settings, and then they disappear—a feature that’s garnered plenty of publicity for tempting teens to post stuff that they might not have otherwise. Perhaps the most disturbing content on Snapchat is the ability to “Discover” any content you want, from pornographic images and videos to vulgar language and violence.
Trend: A snap streak is when users send messages back and forth with a friend for consecutive days.
A social media platform where users can discover, create and share short videos.
Pros: Users are able to post 15-second recorded videos of themselves (often singing or dancing). Many kids use this app as a way to post goofy videos of songs they enjoy and share them with friends. Although the app is set to public by default, there are privacy settings
that parents can put into place.
Cons: On iTunes, this app is marketed for ages 12 and up. In reality, this is an app that can be accessed by children of all ages as it’s fairly simple to create an account. Users are able to post any sort of 15-second video they want—thus many videos might include borderline pornographic images as well as pics of young girls and boys dancing suggestively and dressing provocatively. Users are also able to post private contact information (and provocative messages/images) in their profile. In addition, an account is public by default, and parents should be aware that other users can see videos whether they have an account or not.
Trend: This app has been identified a hotspot for predators
because anyone can direct message your child, asking for inappropriate content and sending inappropriate content as well.
Tune in next week for more!