Parenting in the Digital Age

The Need-to-Know on Social Media Safety for Teens (from Brighthouse)

4 Stats You Need to Know

Almost 1/3 of online teens have experienced one of the following forms on online harassment:

  1. 15% – private material forwarded without permission
  2. 13% – Received threatening emails
  3. 13% – Rumors spread about them online
  4. 6% – Embarrassing photos posted without permission

4 Social Media Sites You Need to Know

According to Tech Today, the average age of Facebook users is 38-41. As the parent population grows on Facebook, our kids have found new sites. Here are four you need to know about.

  1. According to RightMixMarketing, 61% of Tumblr’s users are teens. Teens love Tumblr for its fast pace of sharing photos and quotes. Porn is easy to find. This online hangout is hop and creative, but sometimes raunchy. Pornographic images and videos, depictions of violence, self-harm, drug use and offensive language are easily searchable. Privacy can be guarded, but only through an awkward workaround. The first profile a member creates is public and viewable by anyone on the Internet. Members who desire full privacy have to create a second profile, which they’re able to password protect.
  2. Twitter is known for its 140 character-limit status updates called tweets. Titter’s current teen population is 22%. Public tweets are the norm for teens. Though you can choose to keep your tweets private, most teens report having public accounts.
  3. Snapchat is a photo messaging app for iPhone and Android that lets users put a time limit on the pictures and videos they send before they disappear. It’s a myth that Snapchats go away forever. Data is data. Whenever an image is sent, it never truly goes away. The fact that it disappears from the phone can make sexting seem okay and seemingly risk-free. On the flip side, since it does disappear from the phone, it can make it hard for parents to know what their child is doing if they tend to monitor their messages.
  4. According to Instagram, more than 40 million photos are posted every day. Instagram’s main functions are done on its mobile app for iPhone and Android. Teens are on the look for “likes.” Similar to Facebook, teens may measure the “success” of their photos—even their self-worth—by the number of likes or comments they receive on each picture they post. Mature content can slip in. The terms of service specify that users should be at least 13 years old and shouldn’t post partially nude or sexually suggestive photos—but they don’t address violence, language or drugs.

4 Things You Need to Do

  1. Know more than your child. If you allow your child or teen to use social media, become an expert on the platform you’re allowing them to use.
  2. Monitor social interaction. Do not assume that a child who handles this platform well in the beginning      will continue to do so over the course of time. You must monitor their online activity frequently.
  3. Set parental controls. Privacy settings on social media platforms are always changing. Make sure you are protecting our child’s identity.
  4. Disconnect when necessary. If you find that social media has become a distraction, addiction, or harmful in any way, shut it down and restrict access.
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