Thank you to Common Sense Media for this article:
Remember when we worried that 140-character tweets would ruin kids’ attention spans? Now that seems quaint next to some of the social media that’s gobbling up our teens’ time: messages that disappear (but actually don’t). Video you can stream live from your bedroom. Chatting with strangers. The truth is, everything seems scary at first. Yes, some social media introduces features that seem misguided at best and downright dangerous at worst. But even Twitter spawned novels written in 140-character installments.
Social media can offer innovative ways to communicate, connect, and even create. And kids and teens are much more likely to use it responsibly when parents discuss the pros, cons, and best practices. You just need to kick the tires a little bit to understand the risks and rewards. Check out these FAQs about the most popular social media and gaming apps:
What Should Parents Know About Instagram?
The most popular social image-sharing site is creative and fun, but comments can be crushing.
What Should Parents Know About Kik?
Because you sign up with a username and not your phone number, Kik lets you chat with a much wider range of people, including strangers.
What Should Parents Know About Periscope?
One of the first apps to let people live-stream (use their phones to broadcast video to the internet as it’s happening), Periscope has a lot of potential, but it’s also kinda creepy.
What Should Parents Know About Snapchat?
Currently killing it with teens, Snapchat lets you share messages that self-destruct after they’re read, but it turns out messages actually never disappear.
What Should Parents Know About Steam?
Steam is a social gaming site offering both free and fee-based downloads (not all age-appropriate), multiplayer action, and chatting with gamer buds.
What Should Parents Know About Tumblr?
One of the internet’s most popular places for creative self-expression, Tumblr offer a huge range of user-generated content that’s not always age-appropriate.
What Should Parents Know About Twitch?
Twitch is where gamers go to watch more advanced gamers live-stream themselves playing games. Violent content and unscripted language are the biggest issues.
What Should Parents Know About Twitter?
With the ability to follow celebs such as Taylor Swift as well as the girl next door, Twitter is a staple of teens’ lives, offering news, current events, and, yes, some drama.
What Should Parents Know About Vine?
Vine’s six-second looping videos can be funny and entertaining but also mature.