Second of two
Recently, Courtney Warren gave a talk at FUMC on the importance of staying educated in social media.
She talked to parents and their children about having open communication when it comes to social media presence.
"Before your child downloads a new app, take a day or so to familiarize yourself with the app. Remember that these apps can be dangerous but only if used inappropriately. Talk to your child about what you expect of their online behavior just as you would talk to them about how they behave in a restaurant or at school," she said.
Many parents refuse to get on social media or have their own accounts.
Warren talked about the newest generation, Gen Alpha, and said they are commonly called Generation Glass.
She quoted a study and said, "Screens are placed in front of them from the youngest age as pacifiers, entertainers and educational aids."
Warren also discussed different types of social media apps and walked parents through some of the more popular ones like Snapchat and Instagram.
"It's important you know these apps as well as your child. You wouldn't let them hang out somewhere you weren't familiar with and that works the same when it comes to social media," she said.
Warren explained the following apps and some of her information came from “Common Sense Media” and “Parenting Magazine.”
"Snapchat is probably the most popular app out there. Despite it's recent update, which caused a few changes users really didn’t like, it still remains one of the most used apps. This is for several reasons. The main one being it's self-destructing. The pictures and text only last up to 10 seconds and then they're," said Warren.
Snapchat also gives scores based on user interaction.
"What's more is that Snapchat isn't just a media-sharing app; you can even use it to send money to your friends. Kids also like this one for the silly filters you can add to photos," said Warren.
"This is the app being used in high schools and what you're seeing on the news in the recent shootings.
Privacy, sexting and screenshot saving has posed some issues for this one, but it still remains one of the hottest apps that teens are increasingly using," said Warren.
Warren also mentioned Twitter, which has become a large source for real time news and an easy connection to famous people.
"Instagram is also really popular. It's a photo-sharing app. You can have more than one profile, which can be found at the top center of your own profile. Kids have what is called a 'finsta' or fake Instagram.
"These have several purposes, they can be used to post silly memes, or unflattering photos and a place where kids can be themselves, however they are also sometimes used for bullying other kids and parents not being able to find out about it because the username is something randomly set," said Warren.
Because of the many abilities of social media, Warren said it's important to set social media boundaries.
"You can do this by making your child give you their passwords to everything, allowing you to check their phone at random, having open and honest conversations about their online presence, or even making them be friends with you on any and all of their social media accounts.
"Choose what works best for your family but make sure you're in constant communication about their online behavior," she said.
"Another suggestion is to have your child turn in their electronics at a certain time of day. Online activity goes up in the evenings. Some parents have kids turn in phones, iPads, and laptops to a central location at a certain time in the evening, which I've seen work very well," said Warren.
Location features can be useful when using apps like Find Friends so locate family members, however if a user is unaware, their location can be discovered by anyone.
"Be aware of Geotagging and how to turn it off. This is a way for someone to share their location, which is available on almost all social media accounts. There are options to turn it off in your settings, which keeps children from sharing their location with people," said Warren.
Warren once again emphasized the importance of communication.
"What this all really boils down to is communicating with your child. Get to know these social media apps by exploring them yourself," she said.