Middle school and high school students today have a lot of technology on their side. While much of it may be beneficial to them, some may be dangerous and put them at risk. According to a study by the NORC Center for Public Research and the Associated Press, 94% of teens use social media. While this study only looked at children between the ages of 13 to 17, younger children also have smartphones and access to social media.
Popular Apps with Teens
Teens use a variety of different apps on their devices to network with others. Instagram primarily focuses on the use of pictures and talking about them. Twitter opens them up to sharing with the world in short bursts. Snapchat encourages snippets of images with funny filters and more that will claim to disappear after a certain time. Teen often use this to text and message behind the scenes. Kik is a messaging service where users are able to share videos, photos, emoticons, and a lot more. Another popular app is called Calculator% and may trick parents into thinking it is a simple math tool. It is actually a vault which unlocks on the phone with a password. Within this area of a phone, kids can hide images and videos.
Why should counselors and school therapists know about these apps? It’s simple the more you know, the better you can help a student if they come to you with a problem which involves one of them. In addition to this, it’s a nice tool to be able to open conversations with families at home. Are they aware of the apps that their children have? If they have not done research, you can share it with them to make sure they familiarize themselves.
Cyberbullying and More
Keeping tabs on what teens are using on their smartphone is not always easy. While they may use a lot of the popular apps, others drift in and out at any moment. This is where it can be more dangerous. The less popular apps may have more dangers on them. Safety features may not be in them and could leave kids open to it can often be hard to keep up on.
That being said, the study mentioned above found that 75% of the kids surveyed were using Instagram and Snapchat. These apps are often where a lot of problems begin. Teens may use Snapchat to participate in sexting. They send private messages which are said to vanish after so many seconds. The problem is that these may be shared via screen captures and shared in groups. Sharing and cyberbullying will take off. While sharing the dangers with parents is important, it can’t hurt to share safe ways to utilize social media apps so kids won’t get into trouble with images and more which will last a lifetime.
What apps are students in your school using? Please share ways in which you work to educate students and parents on safe practice with smartphones and social media apps.