Social media app safety

 Phone using social media apps
Phone using social media apps (KJCT)
Published: Aug. 14, 2019 at 6:45 AM MDT
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Knowing what your child has on their phone can be challenging, especially when it feels like there is a new social media app created every second.

It is important for parents to be observant of what – or who – your child is interacting with online.

While social media can be fun and keep you connected with family, friends and loved ones, it can be dangerous if you or your kids don't know how these apps can expose you to predators.

Among the most popular apps to watch out for are Snapchat, TickTok and Whatsapp.

One thing these apps have in common is that they can make your child susceptible to unwanted pictures, harassment and cyberbullying.

Elaine Venter, an instructor of Mass Communications at CMU who focuses on social media explains why these apps can pose a threat.

“The reasons they need to be watched, especially Snapchat and TikTok is because they have anonymous user abilities,” says Venter. “With Snapchat, a message cans disappear in 24 hours. Which means it can be difficult to follow someone who is sending unsolicited pictures of genitals or anything else, harassing messages or whatnot. TikTok, not so much in the messaging system, although it can be used as a messenger, it can be used for short music videos, so it’s more of a creative outlet, but it has been used by predators before and you have kids as young as ten on there.”

Though each of these social media platforms has privacy policies and age requirements, kids can still get around these rules set in place by putting down a false date of birth.

Venter says that the best way for parents to be involved in their kid's social media use is to download the apps they have and use it for themselves, even connecting with your kids through these apps.

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