This is a great write up in the Observer Reporter that outlines one of the training programs, “Social Media and Youth Technology – Trends for Parents,” that Shape the Sky offers.
In June 2015, I wrote about apps that allow you “hide” or “lock” your picture on a device which limits access to others. Click here to read. This type of app and behavior has recently been in the spotlight again due to an Alabama prosecutor’s viral video telling parents that the calculator app on their child’s device may not be as it seems. I’m posting the link to the prosecutor’s video for a purpose of reinforcing my narrative that we, as adults, have to be aware and up to date with trends with youth and technology.
This link will also show you what the app’s icon looks like. This type of app does not surprise me and it’s not the first nor the last that will serve this function. Hiding pictures from parents is not a new behavior, it’s simply changed how it occurs. A decade ago you may have stumbled upon an adult magazine hidden under the mattress. The behavior was much less technical and easier to discover before the gadgets. Adults need to grow with the technology so we can educate our children to become responsible digital citizens.
For the Alabama prosecutor’s video, click here.
This is a story of a mom who discovered her daughters picture being used by a random man on Facebook claiming that it was his daughter. It’s a interesting read that may make you think twice before posting your child’s picture on social media. In reality, trying to avoid positing your child’s picture on social media is a daunting and unrealistic task. You might be able to control what you post on social media, but chances are, if you are like me, you have family and friends who spend time with your child and take pictures with them and post on social media. Besides, you are proud of your child(ren) and you want to brag to your friends about their accomplishments and achievements.
My guidance on this is, use the settings available on social media to control who can see your posts. Talk to your friends and ask them not to post pictures of your child(ren) on social media and give them a reason for your request. Link them to this article. Educate yourself about wise posting because in a few short years, you will be entering the phase of your teen(s) running rampant with selfie’s and helping them with their own self-posting learning curve.
A question that comes up often during my trainings is, “How do free apps make money?” While I do not have the experience to give a perfect answer to this question, I can link you to this article that discusses Snapchat’s Discovery feature which is a pretty easy way to see why companies would pay to have their information posted on Snapchat. The Discovery feature is actually pretty cool and and hip way for young people to get a “Snap” of news and send it on to friends. I just snapped news to about four friends of my own today.
During my trainings, I discuss cyberbullying and try to have the audience think outside of text messages or Facebook posts. I discuss meme bullying, fake chat logs and apps used to send anonymous texts to others. I found this article related to a different kind of cyberbulling that can occur primarily on Twitter. It’s referred to as subtweeting. I like this article because it gives you an understandable definition of subtweeting and suggestions for how what to do if this occurs to your child and and tips to help educate youth not to engage in subtweeting.
During my trainings, I encourage parents to sign up for Facebook and Instagram at minimum to learn how they work. I discuss the parental benefits of understanding the platforms, so they can articulate to their children how to make safe and wise decisions when using them. Social media can also be a useful tool for parents who needs support being parents. Check out this article by the folks at Connect Safely.
“I often get asked about privacy settings on Facebook. I tell people to regularly check their settings and adjust them as needed. Sometimes people tell me they are unsure how to adjust them and seem hesitant with their ability. Here are a couple links that will help you navigate adjusting your privacy settings. ~ Ryan”
“Public shaming of children by adults happens and often by adults in positions of authority. I have seen it personally. When I see a post on my Facebook feed it’s called “public shaming”, and it’s design is to teach the child a lesson. But I wonder why we aren’t using different terminology and calling it what I believe it is, public bullying. I saw this most recent article about Izabel Laxamana, a 13 year old girl in Tacoma Washington who recently completed suicide days after being “publicly shamed” by her father. I’m not going to speculate on what led to her suicide, because I do not know the entire situation and don’t have all of the facts. But I will say that I believe that attempting to teach a lesson by making a video of you child or posting a picture on social media of a child holding an apology sign is not the best way to promote growth and responsibility. ~ Ryan”
“In my role I have to interpret teen behavior related to social media and present it to an audience. But I really enjoy listening to teens discuss social media from their perspective. Here is an excellent blog post from a college aged teen articulating teen views on social media. ~ Ryan”