Facebook is the biggest social network worldwide. As of November 2015, Facebook had more than 1.55 billion global monthly active users.
Following are some of the more popular social networks your kids are using. Obviously you can’t make yourself familiar with the ins and outs of all of them. But at least know about their names; talk with your kids about them. Try asking them which social networks they prefer – this could be a great starting point for an honest talk about online safety!
Facebook still rules!
The following diagram shows the results of a Pew Research Center survey of teens aged 13 to 17 during the months of September 2014 – March 2015. Contrary to popular belief, Facebook is still the most popular social media platform with your teens!
But It’s no secret that Facebook has become popular with those kids’ parents and grandparents, and hey, it’s a great place to keep in touch with the family. But we all also know that kids tend to flock away from wherever their parents are. So which social networks are more popular with the younger generation these days?
You should be aware of the fact that some of the more popular social media apps are anonymous. This means that your kids use them without registering or exposing their private info – not even their names. This has an up side and a down side – keeping their private info private means that they are less exposed to strangers misusing their private information for questionable uses. On the other hand anonymity can promote cyberbullying – with the bullies hiding behind the anonymity and feeling free to send hurtful messages.
We’ve collected a list of some the more popular social media apps teens are using these days (okay more than 10..). But remember new apps emerge every day and what’s popular today can be history tomorrow.
A texting app that kids use for social networking. It is free (for the basic version), fast and has no message limits, or character limits. Note that Kik is loaded with ads and in-app-purchases.
A free video, voice, and messaging app, that enables users to have group chats with up to six people. Teens mostly use Oovoo for group studying while doing homework, after school.
A very popular free messaging app that lets users send text messages, audio messages, videos, and photos to one or many people with no message limits.
Micro-blogging apps and sites
A platform that lets users share photos and 15-second videos. Users can edit the photos with a set of tools and filters. Others can see, like or comment on the photos.
A streaming scrapbook of text, photos and/or videos and audio clips. Users create and follow short blogs that can be seen by anyone online (if made public). Be aware that images and videos depicting porn, self harm, drug use and offensive language are relatively easy to locate. There are also privacy issues – the first profile a member creates is public and can be viewed by anyone on the Internet.
A microblogging site that allows users to post short, 140-character messages – called “tweets”- and follow other users’ activities.
A social media app that lets users post and watch looping six-second video clips. Teens usually use Vine to create and share silly videos of themselves and/or their friends and family. Vine is full of inappropriate videos, and there are some serious privacy issues – all videos and comments are public by default.
A combination of shopping, fashion blogging and social networking. Very popular among teens, who can discover trending products, share and buy products they like, but the site promotes shopping and obligates teens who register to follow “stores” and “people”.
A messaging app that erases messages after a set period of time. Users cannot send pictures or video, only text messages.
A messaging app that lets users set a time limit on the pictures and videos they send before they disappear from the recipient’s device. Teens use it to send photos that they don’t want to go public, but it’s important to understand that the recipient can easily take a screenshot of the image and share it in spite of the original intent of the sender!
A free anonymous social app that allows users to post a text message, along with an image. Whispers are often sexual in nature.
A free location-based, social-networking app that lets users post short comments to the 500 closest Yik Yak users. Kids can find out opinions, secrets, rumors, and more, about their school mates or neighbors. Often used to cyberbully kids at school. Yik Yak also reveals your location.
Meeting, Dating apps and sites
A social site that lets kids ask questions and answer those posted by other users — sometimes anonymously. Most of the comments are either mean or sexual in nature, and obviously bully related.
A location based app for chatting and meeting new people, with a feature that allows users to secretly admire others. Users can chat with whomever’s online, as well as search locally, opening the door for potential trouble. During registration users are required to provide quite a few personal details.
A chat site (and app) that puts two strangers together at random in a text chat or video chat room. Users chat anonymously. No registration is required.
A location-based photo and messaging dating app for meeting potential matches within a certain radius of the user’s location. Users “like” photos of people they like and if both sides like each other they can message each other.