5 New Social Media Sites Parents Need to Understand

Social media has become a large part of our daily lives and the lives of our teens. While there are many good things to be said about being able to connect with family and friends scattered across the globe, there are also some concerns parents should have.

Do you know which social media platforms your teen spends most of their time on?

Do you have access to their accounts so that you can see what they are posting and who they are in touch with?

Teens are, by nature, prone to seeking out privacy. This could extend to their time spent on social media. You may be surprised at some of the social media sites platforms that your teen uses, and how they are using them.

Top five social media sites that teens are using in 2021,/h3>

The more you learn about social media, the way your teens use each platform, and the possible concerns they could face, the better you’ll be able to protect your teens.

1. Snapchat

Unlike most other social media platforms, Snapchat posts are only live for up to 24 hours. Users can exchange pictures, videos, and text messages with one another, much like other social media platforms. While some adults use Snapchat, the average age range is between 12 and 22 years.

Snapchat does have some potential positives to it, starting with how well the content is filtered. Teens can connect with their friends and find positive role models to follow.

There are some potential downsides of the social media platform for parents to be aware of, including:

  • Messages vanish after 24 hours which means it can be more challenging for parents to check what their teens are posting on the platform.
  • Some of the marketing on the site may not be appropriate for younger users.
  • If the app’s privacy settings are not managed correctly, the map feature can show strangers where the snaps were taken. This can be a potentially problematic safety concern.

Discuss the importance of privacy settings. Also, remind your teen that using their real name is not a good idea on any social media platform.

2. Instagram

Instagram allows users to share photos and videos from any mobile device. Filters and stickers can be added to the photos and videos before they are posted and shared. Instagram also has a feature for private messaging.

Instagram offers the positive feature of allowing teens to connect with friends and family and allow them access to follow and get inspired by positive role models. There is also an opportunity for teens to explore their artistic side.

Parents should be aware that the content on Instagram is not filtered. The hashtags that your teen may follow could potentially lead to worrisome content. It’s also very easy for strangers to access your teen and send them private messages.

There is another area of concern with all social media, but in particular with Instagram. The heavily edited and filtered images of so-called influencers can take a toll on the self-image and self-esteem of an impressionable and vulnerable teenager.

Remind your teen that their account should be set as private, with only known friends and family being allowed to follow them.

3. Twitter

There is a common belief that Twitter isn’t as popular with teens as it is with older folks. It is undoubtedly one of the older platforms, so it’s tempting to dismiss it as not being used by trend-following teens.

However, this popular social media platform has remained immensely popular over the years. It allows teens to keep up with their favorite sports teams, actors, friends, and role models.
Parents should know that Twitter is rife with bullies and those who go out of their way to make other users miserable. The backlash can be swift and harsh for bullied or otherwise judged for their posted content.

The hashtags your teen uses and follows can also have the potential to lead to some objectionable content that is not appropriate for them to view. It is also very easy for strangers to encounter your teen and reach out to them via their direct messages.

Remind your teen that it’s not safe to reply to messages from strangers. Also, reinforce the importance of recognizing bullies and bullying behavior on social media.

4. Tik Tok

Tik Tok has seen explosive growth and popularity since it first launched. This video-sharing platform features various content, including lip-synching performances, random song recordings, and other performative videos. Teens can share their posts with just their followers and friends or allow them to be seen by the public.

There is an excellent opportunity for teens to explore their creativity on Tik Tok, which is great for the artistic teen looking for an outlet. That said, there are few filters for the content. There could be rough language and sexual content that isn’t appropriate for your teen. There may also be harsh comments directed to your teen when they post videos. Some of it could be from adults and others who have no business interacting with teens.

Be sure to discuss safety concerns with your teen, and remind them of just how important it is to avoid inappropriate content.

5. Periscope

Have you heard of Periscope?

Many may not have heard of it, or may think that it’s pretty similar to YouTube. While Periscope does allow you to watch videos as YouTube does, there are some significant differences. With this social media app, the videos are broadcast in real-time. They are mainly unmonitored, and users from around the world can broadcast whatever they want. All your teen will need is a mobile device or a tablet, and they can watch any live stream.

Periscope is popular because some folks like to see what others are up to. Even if it’s something as simple as cooking dinner or folding laundry. The concern for parents and teens is that it’s all too easy for alarming and age-inappropriate content to be shared.

The service is public, so it’s pretty easy for strangers to reach out to your teen. Going along with that concern is that it’s pretty easy for locations to be shared, posing a safety risk for your teen.
There are several other areas of concern when it comes to this social media platform. There are no good reasons that your teen needs to be using this service.

Other social media services your teen may be using could include WhatsApp, Kik, GroupMe, and Omegle. Some teens may still use Facebook, but there are good odds that they aren’t posting with any frequency due to having their family members following them.

Speak to your teen about their use of social media platforms. Let them know that you do understand the importance of staying connected with their friends. But also reassure them that you will be there to offer judgment-free help if they find themselves struggling with people or content that they encourage on social media.

The safety risks associated with social media use can be serious, and life-threatening in some cases. Speak with your teen about steps that they need to take to protect themselves.

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