If you’re in any way down with the kids you’ll most likely know about a handful of social networking sites and online platforms. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest – you can probably reel these off like nobody’s business – perhaps you’re even using some of them yourself. In all probability, you’ve had it up to here with your tweens taking pictures of their dinner before tucking in like some form of weird, high-tech grace. But the internet is a fast-paced place and a new, cool online phenomenon seems to emerge every other day.
So which new platforms and networks should you know about? Are they all safe? Which names should you be watching out for to ensure your children’s online security? The child safety website Quib.ly have put together a helpful guide to keep you up to date, in the loop and safe.
Let’s start with the real bad boy. Your teens should absolutely not be on Tinder. It’s an online ‘dating’ tool which shows you pictures of other users of your preferred gender/s and sexual orientation in your area – on your smartphone. If you like what you see, you swipe right, if you’re not so keen, you swipe left. At the same time, the same people see your picture and undergo the same process. If two people swipe right on each other’s image, they’re given the opportunity to chat and hook up.
It’s less about matchmaking and more about casual adult hook ups. The sexual aspect makes this far too adult under 18s. If you hear the word Tinder, it’s time to have a serious conversation.
Another image based tool, also in the form of a smartphone app. Users take and send pictures to their contacts. These pictures appear for 10 seconds once opened and then disappear. It’s fairly innocuous but there is the potential for abuse if users aren’t careful. Only connecting with trusted friends is imperative as you have no control over the images other users send you. On the flip side, it’s a fun, fast way for users to communicate and use their visual creativity.
is a limited, safer version of the app, developed specifically for under 13s. However, it’s child’s play for children to lie about their age and sign up for the over 13 version. If your little app user wants to get snappy, make sure they know never to contact anyone they do not know and never to send any images which they do not feel comfortable with. If someone sends them an image they aren’t comfortable with, make sure they know to talk to you about it.
At the other end of the spectrum is Huglr – an altogether friendlier, family social network. Huglr is as cuddly as it sounds, which probably won’t endear it to your trendier tween or teen. However, if you want to restrict your children’s social network usage, this is a good place to let them do it safely.
It’s a totally private network built for families. You aren’t searchable and you can only interact with those you invite and who accept you in return – perfect for families who want to share snaps and videos in almost complete online privacy. Your tween probably won’t like it as they’re not likely to be able to contact many of their friends – but it’s better than nothing!
This post is in collaboration with http://quib.ly