Sorry Facebook, it’s not you- it’s them.
As Safer Internet Day rolls around for another year on February 11 (appropriately themed “Let’s create a better internet together”) what better time than to familiarise yourself with the apps on your child’s phone that you might not recognise, and the uncharted networks where they share information.
Snapchat is the current darling of the high school set, enabling users to shoot photos or video, embellish with pictures and text, and send to contacts. Within 10 seconds, the image expires forever (the grinning ghost mascot used by the app is no accident).
Originally popular with the “sexting” crowd, users quickly discovered that there was nothing stopping the recipient of a risqué snap from taking a screenshot of the picture, immortalising it forever. Additionally, third party apps were created to save those snaps that were intended to be disposable.
To avoid any headaches:
Described by NSW Police as the ”the number one social media problem involving teenagers”, Kik is a quick instant messaging service to send messages and photos with relative anonymity.
With 50 million registered users, teens have cottoned on that the app can send messages outside of traditional SMS services that parents may be checking. Adding fuel to the fire, if a ‘phoneless’ child has an iPod touch or an iPad, they can still install the app and use Kik as an unmonitored communications method.
As Kik uses a username rather than phone number, recent trends point to a cross over between social networks; kids uploading an Instagram pic may comment with “Kik me @username”, enabling strangers to send them private messages via Kik.
Sound a little creepy?
Once reserved for glossy ‘food porn’ shots of what you were eating for lunch, or having a chuckle at Warnie’s selfies, Instagram now boasts over 150 million users. Almost exclusively used on mobile phones, users can apply digital filters to their shots and share them with followers.
Instagrammers follow others in their newsfeed, like and comment on photos, tag friends (@mslbingle), and hashtag topics (#cottbeach). If someone searches for that particular user or hashtag, the photos that have shared are publically displayed (alongside any other pictures tagged with the same subject.)
Don’t want just anyone gawking at your kid’s Instagram pics?
So that’s a wrap! The latest apps to suss out as Safer Internet Day provides a welcome reminder to ramp up your digital security. Now if you’ll excuse me, Warnie is advertising on Twitter for a PA and I might just know someone who can help him with his selfies…