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Tweets by CommonSense 17 Apps and Websites Kids Are Heading to After Facebook Social media apps that let teens do it all -- text, chat, meet people, and share their pics and videos -- often fly under parents' radars. While it may seem more complicated to post photos on Instagram, share casual moments on Snapchat, text on WhatsApp, and check your Twitter feed throughout the day, tweens and teens love the variety. You don't need to know the ins and outs of all the apps, sites, and terms that are "hot" right now and frankly, if you did, they wouldn't be trendy anymore. But knowing the basics -- what they are, why they're popular, and what problems can crop up when they're not used responsibly -- can make the difference between a positive and a negative experience for your kid. Below, we've laid out some of the most popular types of apps and websites for teens: The more you know about each, the better you'll be able to communicate with your teen about safe choices. The bottom line for most of these tools? If teens are using them respectfully, appropriately, and with a little parental guidance, they're mostly fine. So take inventory of your kids' apps and review the best practices. Users also can send photos, videos, and calendar links. What parents need to know It's for older teens. The embedded GIFs and emojis have some adult themes, such as drinking and sex. Teens are always connected. Without fees or limits, teens can share and text to their heart's content, which may mean they rarely put the phone down. Kik Messenger is an app that lets kids text for free. It's fast and has no message limits, character limits, or fees if you only use the basic features. Because it's an app, the texts won't show up on your kid's phone's messaging service, and you're not charged for them beyond standard data rates. What parents need to know Stranger danger is an issue. Kik allows communication with strangers who share their Kik usernames to find people to chat with. The app allegedly has been used in high-profile crimes, including the murder of a year-old girl and a child-pornography case. It's loaded with covert marketing. Kik specializes in "promoted chats" -- basically, conversations between brands and users. It also offers specially designed apps accessible only through the main app , many of which offer products for sale. WhatsApp lets users send text messages, audio messages, videos, and photos to one or many people with no message limits or fees. What parents need to know It's for users 16 and over. Lots of younger teens seem to be using the app, but this age minimum has been set by WhatsApp. It can be pushy. After you sign up, it automatically connects you to all the people in your address book who also are using WhatsApp. It also encourages you to add friends who haven't signed up yet. It unites the most popular features of social media sites: It also lets you apply fun filters and effects to your photos, making them look high-quality and artistic. What parents need to know Teens are on the lookout for "likes. Posting a photo or video can be problematic if teens are posting to validate their popularity. Public photos are the default. Photos and videos shared on Instagram are public unless privacy settings are adjusted. Hashtags and location information can make photos even more visible to communities beyond a teen's followers if his or her account is public. Kids can send private messages. Instagram Direct is like texting with photos or videos and you can do it with up to 15 mutual friends. These pictures don't show up on their public feeds. Although there's nothing wrong with group chats, kids may be more likely to share inappropriate stuff with their inner circles. Musers, as devoted users are called, can build up a following among friends or share posts publicly. What parents need to know Songs and videos contain lots of iffy content. Because the platform features popular music and a mix of teen and adult users, swearing and sexual content are commonplace. Gaining followers and fans feels important. Teens want a public profile to get exposure and approval, and many are highly motivated to get more followers and likes for their videos. Users create and follow short blogs, or "tumblogs," that can be seen by anyone online if they're made public. Many teens have tumblogs for personal use: What parents need to know Porn is easy to find. This online hangout is hip and creative but sometimes raunchy. Pornographic images and videos and depictions of violence, self-harm, drug use, and offensive language are easily searchable. Privacy can be guarded but only through an awkward workaround. The first profile a member creates is public and viewable by anyone on the internet. Members who desire full privacy have to create a second profile, which they're able to password-protect. Posts are often copied and shared. Reblogging on Tumblr is similar to re-tweeting: A post is reblogged from one tumblog to another. Many teens like -- and, in fact, want -- their posts to be reblogged. Twitter is a microblogging tool that allows users to post brief, character messages -- called "tweets" -- and follow other users' activities. It's not only for adults; teens like using it to share tidbits and keep up with news and celebrities. What parents need to know Public tweets are the norm for teens. Though you can choose to keep your tweets private, most teens report having public accounts. Talk to your kids about what they post and how a post can spread far and fast. Even though you can remove tweets, your followers can still read what you wrote until it's gone. This can get kids in trouble if they say something in the heat of the moment. Two to eight people can be in a chat together at the same time. If someone who's not a direct friend joins a chat, teens get an alert in case they want to leave the chat. You can also "lock" a chat so no one else can join. What parents need to know Users can take screenshots during a chat. Teens like to think that what happens in a chat stays in a chat, but that's not necessarily the case. It's easy for someone to take a screenshot while in a chat and share it with whomever they want. Part of the fun of live video is that anything can happen, but that can also be a problem. Unlike static posts that developers may review, live video chats are spontaneous, so it's impossible to predict what kids will see, especially if they're in chats with people they don't know well. What parents need to know It's associated with Musical. Because of the parent app's popularity, this streamer is all the rage, and "musers" devoted Musical. Privacy, safety, and creepiness are concerns. Because teens are often broadcasting from their bedrooms to people they don't know, sometimes sharing phone numbers, and often performing for approval, there's the potential for trouble. What parents need to know Kids can easily see inappropriate content. During our review, we saw broadcasters cursing and using racial slurs, scantily clad broadcasters, young teens answering sexually charged questions, and more. Predatory comments are a concern. Because anyone can communicate with broadcasters, there is the potential for viewers to request sexual pictures or performances or to contact them through other social means and send private images or messages. Broadcast, Chat, and Watch Live Video is an app that lets kids stream and watch live broadcasts. As they watch, they can comment or buy gold bars to give to other users. Ultimately, the goal is to get lots of viewers, start trending, and grow your fan base. What parents need to know Kids might make poor decisions to gain popularity. Because it's live video, kids can do or say anything and can respond to requests from viewers -- in real time. Though there seems to be moderation around iffy content kids complain about having accounts suspended "for nothing" , there's plenty of swearing and occasional sharing of personal information with anonymous viewers. Teens can share personal information, sometimes by accident. Teens often broadcast from their bedrooms, which often have personal information visible, and they sometimes will share a phone number or an email address with viewers, not knowing who's really watching. Teens even broadcast themselves sleeping, which illustrates the urge to share all aspects of life, even intimate moments, publicly -- and potentially with strangers. Most teens use the app to share goofy or embarrassing photos without the risk of them going public. However, there are lots of opportunities to use it in other ways. What parents need to know It's a myth that Snapchats go away forever. Whenever an image is sent, it never truly goes away. For example, the person on the receiving end can take a screenshot of the image before it disappears. Snapchats can even be recovered. After a major hack in December and a settlement with the FTC, Snapchat has clarified its privacy policy, but teens should stay wary. It can make sexting seem OK. The seemingly risk-free messaging might encourage users to share pictures containing sexy images. There's a lot of iffy, clicky content. Hot or not apps

James Galvin. Union Rep. Lot Galvin. Vietnam Rep.

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9 Comments

  1. Because of the parent app's popularity, this streamer is all the rage, and "musers" devoted Musical. It unites the most popular features of social media sites: What parents need to know It's an open network.

  2. Even if there's no offline contact, however, without age verification, teens are connecting with people they don't know who may be much older.

  3. But knowing the basics -- what they are, why they're popular, and what problems can crop up when they're not used responsibly -- can make the difference between a positive and a negative experience for your kid. Before beginning a chat, users receive the stranger's age, gender, and location and can choose whether to be matched or not.

  4. Most teens use the app to share goofy or embarrassing photos without the risk of them going public.

  5. It also lets you apply fun filters and effects to your photos, making them look high-quality and artistic. You don't need to know the ins and outs of all the apps, sites, and terms that are "hot" right now and frankly, if you did, they wouldn't be trendy anymore.

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