Mic Wright posted an article concerning the social networks every parent should know about.
Here is an abbreviated version of this article. To read it in its entirety go to Mirror News.
Once a social network becomes the center of stories about its horrible influence on teens, those very kids have already been there for ages.
Usually they’ve already moved on to the next thing.
The biggest scares around Facebook and Tumblr, still the leading sites for teens, bubbled up into the headlines a long time after young people had colonized those sites in the millions.
If you’re a parent the online world can seem utterly baffling. Where are your kids spending time online and who are they talking to?
The shock and horror many parents feel about Ask.fm are understandable. The site is still massive with young people with as many as 60m users taking to the site to ask and answer often anonymous and frequently unpleasant questions.
The popularity of the Q+A site is heavily tied to teenage use of blogging sites such as Tumblr, which introduced its own “Ask” functionality following the rise of Ask.fm and its defunct US-rival Formspring.
So what are the social media sites and social apps teenagers are using now? The ones you should know about before they become the next big thing or worse, big scandal. Here’s our guide to the corners of the web where your kids are hanging out, whether you know about it or not…
This is hardly an underground sensation. Reddit shares a parent company with one of the world’s biggest publishing companies, Conde Nast, but many parents aren’t aware of just how deeply their kids are into this sprawling collection of discussion threads. Reddit is home to an incredible community but for all its incredible creativity and positivity there are knots of trolls, abusers and extreme content to navigate. It’s not that parents should discourage teenagers from visiting Reddit – tonnes of the funny pictures and memes that make it onto news sites originate there – but it’s worth being vigilant.
The successor to another now dormant site, Stickem, TinyChat is hugely popular with a particular kind of teenager attracted by showing off in its ‘rooms’. Chats are a combination of instant messenger, voice and video. There are thousands of chat rooms on the site and users can access them either via the web or smartphone apps. It’s a headache-inducing environment where 12 video feeds and dozens of audio feeds can be set going at once. However, often where there’s video, there’s perverts.
Named in honour of the now ubiquitous I Can Has Cheezburger meme , ICanHazChat is another video chat site. More even than TinyChat it’s home to people who will vociferously demand other users expose themselves on camera. This site is also dogged by rumours that videos made there are captured and shared by all sorts of unpleasant creatures. Thankfully, ICanHazChat is by no means a phenomenon and nowhere near as popular as TinyChat.
Like BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) before them, Kik and WhatsApp are incredibly popular with teenagers because they feel their communications there are hidden from parents, teachers and other prying eyes. The smartphone apps are used to send instant messages and photos for free and with a lack of vigorous age verification, can be catnip for those out to groom young people. Like SnapChat – we’ll come to that – Kik and WhatsApp are pretty well primed to facilitate sexting – firing off sexual images.
Again, like Reddit, SnapChat has got enough press that it’s far from as obscure as some of the other sites and services we’re talking about here. That said: most adults don’t realise just how addicted teenagers are getting to this app which allows them to send self-destructing photos back and forth. While the obvious focus of press reports has been on the app’s use for sexting, lots of teens use it as an alternative to text messaging, adding a message to their photo and using their own face as an emoticon.
Much smaller than most of the other apps and sites on this list, Wanelo is still growing in popularity with teenagers, especially girls. The social network – the name’s a mashup of Want. Need. Love – lets users share photos and info about products they want to buy. It’s the mall shrunk down into their mobiles and is only likely to get bigger in the next few months.
An app from the same school of anonymous sharing as Ask.fm. It allows users to share secrets in the form of virtual postcards and has already been the cause of fights in US schools according to reports. Like Ask.fm, the app clearly carries with it the risk of abusive content about users being posted to upset and intimidate them. A similar app created by the PostSecret art project was canned by the creators for just that reason.