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The world is probably a lot different now than when you grew up. Every generation has had to go through the same realization. It can be difficult for parents to understand the inner-workings of their children’s lives. In today’s world, kids are trying to go viral on TikTok and Instagram while also documenting their daily lives through videos on Snapchat. While this all may seem like fun and games (and for them it is), it can be far too easy for someone with ill intentions to learn a lot about their lives. Therefore, in our technological age, parents, you must work on keeping your kids safe on social media. 

What Social Media Platforms Are Popular With Kids?

New social media platforms pop up all the time. Some of them never catch on, while some of them become huge. Newsflash: Facebook isn’t cool according to kids. If you want to know about all of the most popular platforms, Common Sense Media compiled a great list here. Below are some of the most popular platforms with kids.

  • TikTok – The slogan for TikTok is ‘Real Short Videos’. Basically, anyone can post videos up to a minute long which people can like, share and comment. For many kids, having a video which goes “viral” on TikTok is a badge of honor. However, the comments are where things can get creepy. TikTok is full of comments about a person’s body or other inappropriate things and many of its users are underage. 
  • Instagram – Instagram is an image and video app where you can document your life to your followers. Gaining a massive amount of followers can actually be a career, as you can become an “influencer”. Companies will pay popular Instagram celebrities to market their products to their followers. If your child starts to become popular, it could be very easy for someone with “power” to coerce them into compromising positions. 
  • Snapchat – Snapchat is an app where you can send pictures or videos directly to friends or post them to your story for anyone to see. After the “snap” is viewed, the media is supposedly deleted forever. There are many issues with Snapchat that should concern a parent. For one, the mystique of the media being temporary can make “sexting” seem less risky. A teen may feel that sending an inappropriate picture to someone is less dangerous because the snap will go away after it’s viewed. There are a few issues with this logic: the other person can take a screenshot (though Snapchat will notify the sender if this happens) and more importantly, the snaps aren’t actually deleted forever. Once data is sent, it’s never really gone. There have been instances where snaps have been recovered and no one knows exactly if or how Snapchat stores the data. 

Tips On Keeping Your Kids Safe

  • Keep your kids informed. The best safety measure is to be open with your children about the dangers of social media. Yes, there are predators out there. However, in addition to that, something that your child posts as a child could haunt them in the future. Employers are starting to search potential employees’ social media platforms before hiring. That image you posted 9 years earlier could keep you from landing your dream job.
  • Frequently check your child’s phone (randomly). You should know what apps your kids are currently using. However, you should check when they aren’t expecting it. It would be easy for a kid to delete an app and re-download it if they knew you were going to be inspecting their phone. 
  • Use parental controls on iOs or Android. Using the built in parental controls on iPhone or Android, you can block apps that aren’t intended for your child’s age range or even specific apps which you deem inappropriate. 

The apps that are popular with kids are always changing, so you have to stay up-to-date. Keeping your kids safe on social media is about staying informed and keeping them informed. 

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