SmartSocial.com Membership is the leading video training program that shows parents, educators, and students how to keep students safe, positive, and productive online and on social media. Scroll down to see blog posts!
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The Netflix app allows users to stream or download popular movies and shows from a mobile device. Learn how to use the app’s new parental controls here.
Bluetooth devices like Apple AirTags and apps that share real-time location information are dangerous for students. Parents and educators can help students stay safe with the information they share online and in their physical location.
While students say they tend to stay away from Facebook because it's too popular among their parents, it can be a great tool to help students Shine Online.
The “Bathroom Vandalism Challenge” on TikTok encourages students to cause destruction in their school’s restroom. Schools across the country are reacting and asking for help from parents and guardians to help stop this trend.
Learn the dangerous aspects of Snapchat and how to keep students safe.
TikTok is highly addictive for any user, especially students. Learn how to set limits and help students have fun and stay safe online.
Students use Instagram to take and share fun photos and often use it to bully each other.
Many parents have asked, what is digital citizenship? So we created this guide and short video to walk you through digital citizenship and the steps your student can take to shine online. Learn when your student should become public and how they can become good digital citizens.
In this app guide, we walk you through the top ways kids cyberbully each other and signs that your student is being cyberbullied. Learn how students and parents can work together to prevent cyberbullying.
Bullying prevention can help you keep your friends and siblings safe. In this course parents and students will learn how to identify cyberbullying and tips to help.
Educators are on the frontline of seeing and hearing the effects of social media on our students. In this course, educators will get an overview of the most popular teen apps and tips on how to help keep students safe online.
In this student-friendly course, Josh Ochs shares how to Shine Online. He shares some anti-bullying tips, Instagram safety, Google footprint tactics, and more.
The Milk Crate Challenge is a viral social media challenge that medical practitioners and law enforcement officers have strong warnings against. Most Milk Crate Challenge videos end in failure with the person falling, and sometimes, seriously injuring themselves.
Yik Yak is an anonymous messaging app that allows users to see messages of others within 5 miles of their current location. It was originally launched in 2013, discontinued in 2017, and is again available in 2021.
School resource officers and law enforcement officers are faced with conflict from social media every day. This course will help SROs and LEOs learn about how the most popular social media apps and sites work.
Twitter is an online social network, which allows users to send instant messages (called Tweets) up to 280 characters in length. Tweets can include photos, videos, and links to other websites. Learn more about this app and why it is in the SmartSocial.com Green Zone.
While settings and parental control apps can't replace the positive involvement from parents and trusted adults, many devices and apps help parents keep students safer on their smart devices.
Take this crash course to learn how to navigate social media and how to help students stay safe online with hidden app settings.
The Venmo app allows users to easily pay each other through their smart devices. However, this app creates a social media presence for its users that may make them the target for scams, predators, or bullies. Learn the dangers of this app and the steps students and parents should consider when using the Venmo app.
VIP members have access to Smart Social events live with Josh Ochs. Register here!
Positive social media examples can help students' applications to college. Learn how to create a positive online reputation using Linkedin, YouTube, Pinterest, and Medium in this course.
Learn how social media can negatively affect children's ability to sleep, trigger anxiety, increase body image issues, and what parents and educators can do to help.
The negative effects of social media on teens and tweens can be obvious for parents and educators, but there are rarely discussions about the positive impact of social media. Here are 22 ways social media can have a positive impact on students.
Video games can be fun for students...when they have screen time limits and know what to stay away from in online games.
Violent video games are dangerous for more reasons than for just the violent acts students are exposed to on the screen.
The Benadryl Challenge encourages users to take excessive amounts of allergy medication with the hopes of hallucinating. If you find anyone who has overdosed on medication, seek medical assistance immediately. Learn how parents and educators can talk with students about this, and other, dangerous social media challenges.
Telegram Messenger offers unlimited instant messaging. The app connects users to large Groups or unlimited Channels of other users, including a People Nearby feature. Large chat groups can easily get out of control with unknown members.
A smartphone and social media agreement can help families create healthy internet habits.
Whisper is an app that allows anonymous users to post their “real thoughts and feelings” for public viewing or send private messages that can be seen by anyone, especially those nearby. This app is dangerous for students in encouraging anonymous posts and live connections with strangers.
There are now hundreds of apps that allow students to hide their inappropriate photos behind an innocent looking calculator app (or another style of app that looks innocent). These apps are popular because they help a student to hide their behavior from their parents or teachers.
Walkie-talkie apps turn phones and tablets into a two-way radios. It sounds innocent enough, but there are some stranger dangers and privacy issues that students, parents, and educators should know.
The Kik app offers one more opportunity to send individual and group chat messages with text-based messages, photos, or videos. Because students can easily connect with strangers on the app, parents need to stay aware of who their teens are chatting with online.
LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for taking control of your professional online presence. Learn how students can create a professional profile.
Students crave social connections and in the online world, those connections might seem safe with computer screens between users. However, young students who are eager to meet others can be exposed to foul language or nudity in live chats or can become victims of exploitation.
YouTube can be a fantastic source for education and entertainment, but the SmartSocial team wants parents to know the potential for danger is also limitless.
Minecraft is often described as a virtual version of LEGO, but with various modes and chat features, there are some dangers parents and educators should be aware of. Learn how Minecraft works and how to make it safer for students in this app guide.
Roblox, a user-generated online gaming platform, offers millions of games created by users. It's targeted to kids ages 8+. This safety guide will help parents keep their students safe on Roblox.
Like most hobbies, playing videos games can be safe in moderation. Learn the negative effects of video games and how parents can keep students safe.
Parents: should you be following your kids on social media? The Smart Social team consulted with 24 experts and they all agree-- yes! So how can parents keep their kids safe online and encourage good digital behavior without being too intrusive? Read our article to learn more.
When parents set a positive example of online behaviors, have open discussions about the unrealistic standards social media can promote, and help students honor their accomplishments with gratitude, they can help their children avoid the negative effects of social media on mental health.
MeWe is a social network marketed to users who want more privacy. While more privacy may be attractive for your students, the MeWe policies have left the door open for hate speech, pornography, and illegal activities.
OnlyFans is a website for adults where users post photos for other “fans” to view via a paywall. The site is popular among Instagram influencers, models, and celebrities for making money, but has become a hot spot for pornography and adult entertainers.
Smartphones give students access to the world at their fingertips. Read about the dangers and tips to keep students safer with technology from SmartSocial.com.
The Among Us app is an online, multiplayer game that can be played with friends or strangers. It’s a social dedication game filled with teamwork, betrayal, and mild violence. There are some risks parents should know about for younger players.
College admissions and human resources often use Google to find information about candidates for their organization. What do your student's Google results show about them and how can students clean it up and Shine Online?
The Wink app connects users with people they don’t know. This app guide explains how Wink works and why it could be dangerous for tweens and teens.
The Triller app is a social media network where users can make and share videos. The app has a large song library and uses custom algorithms to easily edit clips.
Omegle’s tagline is “Talk to strangers!” and its homepage shows tens of thousands of strangers logged on at any given moment. SmartSocial.com explains what Omegle is and why it’s not safe for students.
The Byte app lets users make and share short video loops. It launched in late January 2020 with a lot of online hype about its similarity to its predecessor, Vine. The Byte app's popularity is now skyrocketing as TikTok's future comes into question.
Nicknamed “Tinder for Snapchat” and “Tinder for Teens,” the Yubo app markets itself as a way to make new friends. But not everyone on the app may be who they say they are and is dangerous for students.
The Randonautica app markets itself as a "Choose Your Own Adventure Reality Game” where players are sent to random locations. It might sound enticing and exciting to students, but safety is a major concern with this app.
Discord is a free voice, video, and text chat app. Learn how to keep your family safe on the Discord app.
The Zynn app is a new Chinese-owned TikTok copycat app that pays people to watch videos and refer friends. This Zynn app guide explains how the app works and why there are lots of privacy, data, and safety concerns for young users.
Fortnite: Battle Royale is a free, multiplayer game that is incredibly popular with students. The concept of the game is simple - the last player to survive the battle wins. But this isn't a traditional war game and has dangerous aspects for younger students.
This guide will help parents and educators understand the app and help students who use WhatsApp stay safe.
Finstagram (Finsta) is a fake (or second) Instagram account. Students get a Finsta to post silly or inappropriate content for a smaller, selective group of friends.
Squad is a video chat app that lets users share their screens with others. Friends can have a lot of fun on the app, but strangers can connect on Squad too.
Messenger Kids is a video chat and messaging app, from Facebook. It's built for younger kids who cannot have their own Facebook account yet and designed to give parents more control. Messenger Kids can be a starting point for a student’s first social media account, but parents should be aware of data and privacy concerns.
Learn how students are using this video chat app and what you can do as a parent or educator to monitor who they are talking to.
GroupMe is a messaging app where users can send group or private messages from their computer or phone using WiFi. Learn how this app works and why some students are getting into trouble using it.
The Facetune app makes it easy to edit or retouch photos, but the team at SmartSocial thinks there are dangerous consequences for teens who regularly use the Facetune app to modify their photos for social media.
Some students are tripping others in an attempt to get more laughs and likes on TikTok and YouTube. But, the Skullbreaker Challenge or Trip Jump Challenge is landing some students in the hospital - and others are facing legal consequences from this potentially deadly online prank.
The Hoop app makes it easier than ever for students to meet strangers on Snapchat. Users are rewarded for making as many new connections as possible.
Both the HOLLA app and HOLA app allow people to video chat with random strangers around the world. While many conversations might stay innocent, users report widespread profanity and lewd behavior on both apps.
The LINE app allows users to chat for free, make new friends, and play in a social media network filled with cute stickers and avatars. But the Smart Social team wants parents to know some important safety settings for any student using LINE.
Having a password manager drastically reduces the possibility of your family becoming the victim of ransomware, identity theft, malware, phishing, and other cyber attacks. Learn more in this course.
The BitLife app guides players on a simulated life from birth to death. Players make text-based choices, which can promote safe or risky lifestyles. Students are exposed to mature ideas throughout the game, including sex, drugs, and violence.
RSPH and the Young Health Movement published a report called #StatusOfMind, which examines the positive and negative effects of social media on young people’s health. Snapchat is ranked as the second worst app for teen mental health. In this video, learn the negative effects of Snapchat for teens and tweens.
Signal is a free private messaging app that promises privacy for users through end-to-end encryption. Users can text and make phone calls and video calls using the Signal app. This guide will tell you if the Signal app, which is widely used among security experts, is safe for your kids.
The Fachat app lets strangers around the world pay to video chat with one another. The main goal of the app is for strangers to talk to each other, which makes Fachat incredibly dangerous for students.
MeetMe connects strangers based on similar interests and locations. Users can private message, live stream, and set up in-person dates. They can also exchange gifts and money through the app. Police have warned that predators use MeetMe. The Smart Social team believes it’s way too risky for young users.
There are many potential dangers on Call of Duty for students that parents should know about.
The Kahoot app makes learning fun. Teachers love it and kids do, too. We've thoroughly researched the Kahoot app and found all the great features-- and some negative ways some students are now using it to cheat and cause classroom chaos. Our comprehensive guide has everything parents need to know.
VSCO is a photo editing and sharing app, similar to Instagram, with various filters and photo enhancements. Users can’t set their profiles to private, which means anything teens are posting to VSCO can easily be viewed by strangers.
Threads by Instagram is a brand new messaging app that allows users to stay in constant contact with their closest friends. One of the options in Threads raises some serious privacy concerns. Users can let the app track them and send out automatic updates on their behalf.
Some kids are lighting themselves on fire or letting their friends ignite them. The dangerous social media stunt called the “Fire Challenge” has landed some kids across the country in the hospital. Yet the life-threatening social media challenge continues. Click here to keep your kids safe.
The Lasso app lets users create and edit videos to share on the app. The app is very similar to the popular Tik Tok app. Kids can have fun using Lasso, but the Smart Social team wants parents to be aware that complete strangers can watch your kid’s videos.
The Amino Chat App encourages users to join different communities based on a wide range of interests. But everyone using the chat app is anonymous and that poses some serious safety concerns for teens.
BIGO LIVE is a live video streaming social media network that encourages users to randomly chat with strangers using their video calls feature. The emphasis of connecting with strangers on BIGO LIVE is a major red flag that this app is NOT safe for students.
Similar to Snapchat’s “Snap Map“, Mappen is a social media networking app that focuses on location sharing. The Mappen app is not safe for students to use and if your student has it, remove it immediately. Apps that use location sharing services make it easy for predators to target children.
Due to Tumblr’s popularity, we’ve updated this Parent App Guide to continue to help parents keep students safe. Learn why Tumblr is so popular with teens, important teen Tumblr statistics, why Tumblr is in our Red Zone, and what to do if your child has an account.
The TextNow app turns any wifi connected device into a phone with its own phone number, even if the device doesn’t have a phone plan. There are several reports of predators using the app to target victims, so we created this parent guide to help you keep your kids safe.
Life360 Family Locator is a real-time location-sharing app that uses GPS location data to report the location of users. Users create geofences around their home, and other frequently visited destinations. If your family uses the app, be aware that your children can start sharing their location with their friends.
The Profoundly app is an anonymous feedback and messaging app that works with Facebook so that users can post questions to their Stories and receive anonymous feedback. It is being compared to Ask.fm, Whisper, and Sarahah – apps which have been criticized for promoting bullying.
Similar to Yik Yak, Whisper, and Sarahah the Yolo app is an anonymous Q&A app that works seamlessly with Snapchat. If your children use Snapchat it is very likely that they will encounter the YOLO app, this guide is to help you start a dialog and keep them safe.
Overwatch is a multiplayer first-person shooter game available on Windows, XBox One, and PS4 that is incredibly popular with students. The game only works if players are matched onto teams with other real people which means that your child will be exposed to strangers in every match.
The shell on challenge is a social media trend that is gaining popularity among students. Teens are challenging each other to eat food items still in their packaging. It should be a red flag for parents if their child is doing this challenge to gain attention on social media.
The Tellonym app allows students (and strangers) to ask and answer questions anonymously. The app can be linked to a user’s Instagram or Snapchat, meaning messages can include inappropriate images. When teens connect anonymous apps to their Instagram or Snapchat they open themselves up to being targeted by strangers.
The Hooked app enables users to read stories in chat form, like a series of text messages or as a series of video clips. Since the majority of the stories feature sex, violence, and drug use, this app is inappropriate for students.
The Boo app (formerly Boomoji) is a social network where users create an avatar that they use to chat with others. In our experience, when tweens and teens have anonymous avatars to hide behind, they tend to misbehave more than if they’re actions are tied to their real name.
The Monkey app randomly pairs users with strangers for a 15 second video chat. We highly recommend deleting the Monkey app if your child has it because random video chatting apps make it easy for teens to be targeted by predators.
Similar to the Blue Whale Challenge, the Momo Challenge is a dangerous viral social media trend with teens and tweens. The challenge encourages students to contact an unknown person called “Momo” via WhatsApp. Throughout the challenge, students are sent violent and graphic content and a series of dangerous tasks.
The Text Me app offers free texting, calling, and additional phone numbers. In our experience, students will download apps like this so that they can hide their activity from their parents. Additionally, the Text Me app offers location sharing features which can be incredibly dangerous for students.
Owned by Snapchat’s parent company, the Bitmoji app allows users to create an “emoji” that looks like themselves. Since it’s easy to create Bitmojis and share them on other apps, teens could get themselves in trouble if they create an inappropriate Bitmoji that gets shared on social media.
No matter how you configure your student’s Twitch security settings, there is no way to know if content is safe for your student unless you become familiar with the platform and review their favorite videos or streamers. However, we recommend students focus on apps that can have a positive impact.
Similar to iTunes, Steam is an online distribution platform for users to buy and play video games. Users get instant access to thousands of games that are available on Steam. Don't let your children play Steam without supervision. Be involved and monitor their activity to keep them safe.
Lipsi is an anonymous feedback app where students can accept anonymous feedback from others. Anonymous apps like the Lipsi app are not safe for students and don’t help them build a positive digital footprint. We’ve seen similar apps removed from the Apple App Store due to cyberbullying.
ClassDojo for parents, teachers, and students is a free communication app. When used safely, the ClassDojo app can serve as a tool to track student progress, get involved, learn more about your child’s school day, and teach positive online behaviors.