| 870 words | 5 min read | J.Figgs |
Keeping your kids safe online is a constant battle, one where the technology drastically updates and the dark places/features capitalize on it. Just 20 years ago, chat rooms were the dark, dingy, seedy place parents warned their kids away from.
Today, the dark places of the internet are concealed in plain sight such as the #BlueWhaleChallenge or Snapchat’s Snap Map.
School just started for our community and kids' access time on the internet may increase because of research papers and homework. Their time on the internet may become more unsupervised because you believe they are doing homework. But kids today easily multitask on their computers and phones. They will have many social media platforms open alongside Wikipedia. Kids have perfected changing screens quickly as a parent walks into the room, which would rival the quick draw champions of the Wild West.
Here are some of the latest trends on the internet every parent should be aware of:
Cyber bullying is a major concern on social media platforms today. Many kids are inclined to make harsh comments to one another because they are separated trough a screen. But the reality is that the harsh comments on a screen are just as harmful. Facebook is not the only platform for cyber bullying. Instagram is now one of the biggest platforms for cyber bullying. Here is a good spread for parents who find their kids being cyber bullied: https://goo.gl/gQcbaw
“Sexting” is another craze running rampant with teenagers. 22% of teen girls have admitted to sexting as well as 18% of boys. Sexting is not just limited to sending photos to one another. Text abbreviations and emoji’s are also used. Here are a list of sexting terms and emoji’s to be aware of: https://goo.gl/eYivnz
Snapchat just introduced Snap Map this summer. This allows other users to see where you are at, located on a map. The goal is to allow friends to show where the parties are but it also allows anyone who follows you to know where you are. This means strangers can see where your location. Stalkers and abductors are no strangers to the internet and this allows them to know exactly where you are.
Sarahah quickly became the #1 app over the summer. This app allows users to get honest, anonymous feedback from co-workers to help you discover your strengths and weaknesses. But there are reports already that users are getting death threats anonymously.
Yellow is another new app that is described as “Tinder for Teens.” It is meant for teenagers 13-17 but does not require third-party verification to confirm your age. It is easy for anyone to register as a teen on the app.
Daring one another on the internet is taking “Truth or Dare” to another level. One recent trend has been the Blue Whale Challenge. It is a social media game challenging participants to increasingly dangerous tasks. The end challenge is suicide. Teens interested in participating simply have to use the hashtags, #bluewhalechallenge, #curatorfindme, or #i_am_whale on Instagram or Twitter, for a taskmaster to find them.
On YouTube, 91% of 13-17 year olds are on YouTube and 75% of them are seeking advice through videos. One way for people to go viral is through a shock and awe value in their video. Challenges are a way to create that value. This summer, a couple attempted to stop a bullet with a book on their YouTube channel. The book didn’t stop it. Now the wife is being charged with second-degree manslaughter.
Social Media is another area where pranks can run rampant. Just this last school year, there was a clown scare prank running wild on social media platforms. This scare said there would be a man dressed as a clown going to schools with guns. The next day, it was reported that almost half of the student body at certain schools missed class that day.
Video Game Consoles
ESRB Game Ratings have been in place for many years to warn parents of content in video games. But video games may be the least of parents worries when it comes to video game consoles. Today, X-Box, Playstation and Nintendo have consoles that can get on the internet and connect to apps. One app to be aware of is Twitch, which allows users to share their video game experience in real time. This is another platform where cyber bullying can run rampant.
Here are some links to help parents set parental controls on different platforms:
Just because the school year has started, it is not too late to set ground rules for your kids and time spent on the internet and their phone. A written contract is a good idea to have between kids and their parents. It can teach good social media etiquette, minimize arguments, teach accountability, and keeps your kids safe. An example written contract can be viewed and downloaded here: https://goo.gl/EW2ZRA
To continually keep up with current trends on the internet that involve teens, Net Nanny is a great resource for any parent.