Today’s youth are extremely tech savy and are not afraid to use multiple “cool” and popular social media sites.
MySpace and Facebook were widely used amongst teenagers but, tweens and teens are using other multiple sites to write, share, chat and set trends.Twitter – This site allows users to post short messages or “tweets” of up to 140 characters. Teenagers and “Tweens” are sharing their lives with friends as well as having access to popular celebrities and current world news. Most “tweets” by teens are publicly shared and appear immediately in their followers feeds. “Tweets” can be removed but are seen by followers until removed. Users can choose to keep their “tweets” private.
Instagram- Instagram lets users snap and share photos. Teens love to use the editing features, filters and effects with their photos. Instagram enables other users to “like” photos, similar to facebook likes. Privacy settings can hide the location of photos and videos posted but, by default are public unless these settings are changed. If teens are posting these with hashtags, their reach is more visible to outsiders and not just their followers.
Snapchat – With this popular app the user can set a time limit on their photos and videos before they “disappear”. Teenagers can send funny or embarrasing “selfies” of themselves to their friends knowing that these can’t go public. “Disappearing” photos may seem to be safe but, data never really disappears and many devices are able to take quick, instant screenshots.
Google+ – Google + is not the most popular site with teenagers as yet but is growing. Google+ has a real-time chat video chat feature or “hangout”. This allows teens to chat to their approved circle of friends. Users are able to separate family, friends and acquaintances into different circles which can help limit what different information is seen. There is a privacy setting based on age which Google+ gathers from the registration of the individual. This feature can be really great as it reminds the user who may see their posts. All Google services are connected eg. YouTube and Gmail in order to run targeted ads and this date tracking and targeting cannot be changed.
Vine- Vine is an app that allows users to post or watch video clips of 6 seconds. Friends can create and share their funny home videos. Once again videos are public unless privacy settings are adjusted.
There are numerous other Social media apps and sites appearing all the time and we will keep you updated on these. Keep a look out for our future blogs on Social media and teenagers. There is a chance with any online social media site or app of teens coming across material that is explicit or not age appropriate. It is important for parents to be aware of their child’s social media usage and perhaps make them more aware of the use of privacy settings and any dangers they may be exposed to.