For parents who hardly had any connection with social media, it is hard to know about the latest apps that the kids have been using. Even those who were on the internet, the rapid changes in technology are not understandable. Just the time when you managed to gather the courage to talk about Instagram with your kids, they are begging to use TikTok and Snapchat.
But the good thing is that even more apps are being introduced every day, but they are not very different from each other. Some very common mistakes can be done on any app that may lead to very bad consequences. Along with using the parental control software, there are other things that you can do to save your kids from these red flags.
Does a red flag mean your kid shouldn’t use those apps at all? No. You can teach them to use the apps carefully. Also, there is no need to use all the features of an app, you can skip some. Talking decently to your kid about safety and responsibility can help them avoid these red flags. Educating them makes them realize that they are being given importance and value.
Social Media Red Flags
Here are some of the red flags of social media that parents should know and do something about it.
1. Age-Inappropriate Content
Some of the most common apps featuring inappropriate content for kids include Tumblr, Snapchat, and Instagram.
On these apps, the users share explicit content over chats. The big concern is that the app features most of the content that is user-generated and not appropriate for the kids. If your teen is not following the users sharing such stuff, they can be saved.
What you should do: Ask them about the people they follow and the poststhey share. See what apps they are using and use them yourself to get the sense of what could go wrong. See how the inappropriate contentyou are concerned about can be found and how you can teach your kids to stay away from such content. You can also use parental controls to get it under control.
Some of the apps prone to cyberbullying are Roblox, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Although many apps have improved their security and monitoring, cyberbullying is still un-avoidable. It can happen with any social media app, but a few are more prone to it. If any app allows anonymous sharing and stuff, there are high chances that it will be used for wrong causes. Since people, especially kids love to share their emotions and personal things on the internet, they take advantage of this anonymous posting thing.
What you should do: Ask around teachers, parents, and other kids if that is a source of trouble. Encourage your kids to share whenever they face this sort of trouble and never stay silent. Also, teach them the right use of these apps.
3. Random Video Calls
Some apps that allow this: Monkey, ChatLive, Rand Video Chat, and Holla: live random video chat.
Apps that offer the kids to make new friends out of strangers is promoting chats with them. Mostly, it ends up involving sexual content and adults trying to mingle in.
What you should do: Know what your kids want. If they want to make new friends, introduce them to the apps that have text-based forums to know each other and have chat only. But tell them to always beware of the predators and the people with negative intentions.
4. Temporary Videos and Pictures
Some apps promoting this include: Facebook Messenger, Confide, Snapchat, and Instagram.
These apps show the kids that what they share is temporary, but that is not the case at all. Nothing that is shared over the internet is temporary even if there are apps that are built to say so. When kids believe it, they send all kinds of stuff believing that it is going to disappear soon.
What you should do: Educate your kids that nothing is temporary. Everything they post or share over the internet is there and can appear again. Therefore, they shouldn’t share personal photos or videos on these platforms this way. Also, tell them that there are people who can make the wrong use of their private content.
5. Secret Chat Rooms
Some secret chat rooms apps: Discord, IMVU
There are several chat rooms on the internet. Some are drop-in and some are invitation only. Both have equal risk because mostly there is no limit to the content there. These chat rooms also promote sexual and hate content. Kids also tend to join private groups to avoid this issue. But, chat rooms make it very difficult for the parents to track what their kids are doing online.
What you should do: If your kid is smart and using private groups to avoid sensitive content and to not to meet the strangers, then it is ok. But still, teach them that they should check first before jumping into any group. Even after joining the group, they should stay conscious and alert of the predators and wrong stuff.
There are many red flags out there, but these are the most common ones. Teach your kids properly about these dangers and educate them on how they can tackle such situations on their own. However, the use of parental control software is recommended when there is a need to put certain restrictions on their phone usage.
Sometimes, they get out of control or download the apps that are not at all suitable for them. In this case, you can monitor their phones and know beforehand what sort of trouble are they getting into. Once you know it, you can take the necessary steps to stop it.
Though today’s kids are smart and intelligent, they also need guidance and parents should be the ones giving them the ultimate guidance. They also need to be told what they should do and what they should avoid. Parents can play a big role in their upbringing in the digital world. Teach them better so that they can learn their fight on their own and protect themselves.