Facebook used to be a child’s first social network. What was great about Facebook was that most parents were already on that network. Parents could easily check in on their kids by friending them or touring their Facebook feed. Today, most kids are bypassing Facebook and jumping on to Instagram or even Snapchat.
With these other apps, kids are often the first join and parents follow. Some of these apps are not so easy to check up on. With Snapchat, if a teen does not save the picture, parents cannot see the picture. Apps, such as ask.fm and AfterSchool, are anonymous or designed to shut parents out.
Even if they cannot see inside, parents can still talk to their teens about how to use them responsibly. For example, Snapchat cannot guarantee snaps will disappear. Friends can always take a screenshot and share it more widely. Also, most apps will share data with police if there is a legal concern involving a threat, sexting or harassment. Teens need to know just because their parents cannot see does not mean they can share anything without consequence.
Although kids appear to navigate these new apps with ease, they still need guidance. In the rush to join and start sharing, most kids skip the settings entirely. Before posting their first picture, kids and parents should read some reviews and talk about –
What is public
What can be made private
How to report or delete posts
What to watch out for
When to ask for help
To help parents teach their kids how to safely share online, I have written over 15 parent guides. By far, my most popular posts are my app guides for parents. On my Parenting Guide page, parents will find a list of apps and links to my reviews as well as reviews from other digital parenting sites. To make this list easier to navigate, I have added a drop down menu for my most popular guides and alphabetized the list.
Requesting and App Guide
I write about an app either because a parent requested it or it is popular in the app store. I plan to add a new app guide each month. If you have question about an app, feel free to drop me a note. I will answer it on KidsPrivacy and include it an app guide.