You get access to leading video trainings to keep students safe, positive, and productive online.
We asked 11 experts their tips and thoughts on how to teach teens to stop doomscrolling, look for the positives, and teach them to recognize the negative impacts of news and social media.
The dangers of sexting are vast and can truly damage a teen or tweens’ future. It’s important to have a talk early and as soon as your child has access to a smartphone or tablet.
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?
Digital devices pose a serious risk on the road for young drivers. Learn 11 tips for discussing driving safety and the risks of using cell phones while behind the wheel.
"Sadfishing" is an online trend where students go fishing for attention on social media by posting their problems or emotions. The SmartSocial.com Team asked 8 experts to weigh in on the dangers of sadfishing and how students can discuss their feelings in a healthier way.
A common mistake teens make is oversharing online when they first start gaining access to social media. Learn what students should focus their social media posts around, how students can consistently clean up their social media, steps to protect students before they gain access to social media, and more.
With students getting access to social media earlier and earlier, it’s important that they understand and practice proper online etiquette. We asked 14 experts to weigh in on how to teach students to develop proper internet comment etiquette.
Social media and online advertisements can have a major impact on a child’s self-image. Younger students might not even be able to tell the difference between an advertisement from their favorite TV show or app. So, we asked 12 experts to share advice on teaching kids about advertising.
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.
Suicide is a tough topic to discuss with students, but it's a subject that is too important to ignore. In this post, learn 11 ways parents can talk about suicide and depression with their children.
Learn the best digital tips, tools, and apps that can help students on the Autism Spectrum thrive at school and at home.
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.
By creating a system to earn a virtual allowance, parents can help their students develop healthy behaviors while also teaching them financial responsibility. We asked 10 experts to share their best advice on setting up a virtual allowance for students.
With easy access to the internet from any mobile device, it’s not a question of if our students will be exposed to pornography; it’s a matter of when. Learn how to start talking to kids about pornography, how to give them an action plan for if they come across it, when to start talking, and more.
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.
Online portfolios create an opportunity for students to showcase their strengths and values to college admissions officers. Learn which platforms students can utilize for building their online portfolio and techniques for sharing their accomplishments and goals online.
As parents and educators, we know that screen time can be a double edge sword. So, how can we teach students to use screen time productively while setting limits on screen time that has no value? In this blog post, experts share their best tips.
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.
It might often feel like you’re competing with social media and the television to get your student's attention. Read some great ideas for incorporating a tech-free fun night into the family's weekly schedule.
With recent statistics showing that only 20-30% of students tell an adult when they’re being bullied, it is more important than ever for parents to teach them how to handle cyberbullying.
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.
Social media mishaps are bound to happen but how you react will make all of the difference for your digital footprint, online reputation, and search results. Being prepared is the best method for preventing a mistake. So, we asked 11 experts to share their tips for overcoming social media mishaps.
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.
Negative social media use can lead to some serious consequences, like missed job opportunities or college rejections. Read these tips from social media safety experts to teach kids how to stay safe, positive, and responsible whenever they go online.
Do you and your students always pick up your devices when you're bored? If so, your family could benefit from a digital detox. Learn how to encourage everyone in your family to find a better balance with online and offline activities.
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.
Digital distractions are now a daily struggle for many moms and dads. Read expert advice on how to be a more present parent in today’s digital world, even while working from home.
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.
Netflix Party is a free Google Chrome extension that lets friends get together, virtually, to watch Netflix videos and chat about them. Read about how to use this app and keep students safe while watching.
The Zoom app connects users in remote live meetings with audio and video options. Is it safe for students to use? SmartSocial asked some experts for some safety tips.
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.
Many parents are more lenient, while schools are closed, when it comes to screen time and social media. SmartSocial.com has many tools to help families stay safe online when classes are canceled.
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.
Dr. Rady Rahban sees first hand how social media beauty filters affect how students see themselves. As a plastic surgeon, he makes sure his clients get plastic surgery for the right reasons, not just to look like their favorite celebrity.
The nonprofit Center for Cyber Safety and Education teaches innovative online safety lessons. Read three tips from the organization's Director for keeping your kids safe, no matter what apps or mobile devices they are using.
Several social media apps have announced plans to promote mental health initiatives, aimed at helping kids to stay mentally safe online. Some educators and mental health experts weigh in.
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.
When learning how to balance screen time, one of the best things a student can do is take small breaks from technology. So, we are celebrating National Day of Unplugging which is a holiday that is celebrated by taking a 24-hour break from technology on a specific day in March.
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.
Josh Ochs shares advice with parents about setting up smartphone and social media guidelines for teenagers. These are his four most important tips he wants all parents to hear.
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.
One mom has a warning for parents after her teenager was cyberbullied on Snapchat. Learn how parents can prevent this from happening to their kids.
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.
Ever wonder what dangers your kids are exposed to on social media? A 37 year-old mom recently went undercover to find out. Learn the dangers and how to protect your kids.
Smart Social wants your kids to be safe online - at home, school, and on vacation. We asked some experts for the best travel hacks to keep your family and home safe. Tips for your home, your devices, and your personal information.
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.
Talking with your kids about social media safety is an important step towards making sure they are safe and happy online.
A social media detox can empower kids and change them in positive ways. In this guest blog post, the director and owner of a tech-free community service summer program for teens shares some of the lessons that can be learned during a social media hiatus.
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.
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.
Working to build inner confidence is a gift that will continue to pay off throughout life. Students will benefit from good posture, great eye contact, solid handshakes, and using proper English.
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.
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.
Everything you do online lives on in the public sphere, from your comments on Facebook, to pictures you are tagged in on Instagram. College admissions officers and future employers will search for you online and there are reports of students being kick out of school and fired for social media.
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.
Blain Watson is the Principal at Manuel E. Dominguez High School in the Compton Unified School District. Josh Ochs caught up with him to learn more about how he turned his school around in less than two years while setting leadership goals.
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.
David Kaufmann is a teacher and father. He shares what he learned when he went 8 days without social media. Learn what he missed, why he went back, what he liked, and what he's going to do differently moving forward.
As parents, it’s not easy to give kids the support they need while also keeping them safe. Relying on these tips and resources will help you protect your kids in the digital age and make parenting in a tech world much less daunting.
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.
When parents know which apps have had issues, what hashtags are red flags to look out for, and how to have an open discussion with their kids about drugs on social media, they are better equipped to keep their children safe.
When used wisely, the positives of social media can be incredibly beneficial for students (especially during the college or job application process). While it’s important for parents to talk about the dangers and risks of being online, it’s also important for kids to understand the positives of social media.
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.
Students of all ages have access to screen time, whether it’s Facetiming with relatives, or using social media to chat with friends. It’s important to help your student develop healthy screen time management habits and monitor them for red flags that might indicate that they are addicted to technology.
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.
Whether it’s toddlers playing with their parent’s tablet or teenagers keeping up their Snapchat streaks, excessive screen time can happen at any age. So, how can parents handle excessive screen time or help their younger kids avoid it entirely? 7 experts share their best tips for parents.
While having a family contract can help establish social media guidelines (and consequences for breaking those guidelines), that is only one piece of your family’s online safety puzzle. Parents must be vigilant about monitoring their kids on social media and having regular discussions about online safety.
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.
In this podcast episode, Josh Ochs interviews Justin Wren an MMA fighter, author, speaker, and humanitarian. Today, Justin is on a mission to tackle bullying through both awareness and prevention. Justin is passionate about sharing his story in order to break the lifelong chains of bullying.
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.
In this episode, Josh interviews Tracy who is a mom from Ohio raising sons. Tracy has two teenage boys and they needed to make lifestyle changes to ensure they were “growing up” in the best ways. Learn how she teaches her boys how to be gentlemen online (and in-person).
In this episode Josh interviews Janice Taylor of MazuFamily.com and they talk about how parents can help give their kids self worth on social media. Additionally, Janice talks about re-engineering social media to reduce the addiction and teaching parents how to model positive behavior for kids.
This is an excerpt from podcast episode #102 Josh Ochs had with Jennifer Zumbiel who created Togather (a game of family communication exercises). In this episode, Josh asks Jennifer to share tips parents can use to get their kids or teens to open up and talk around the dinner table.
Technology and teen social media trends change so quickly that it can leave parents feeling like they can’t keep up with their kids. Digital security can seem daunting to parents, especially if they feel like they aren’t “tech savvy” — but in reality it can be easier than you think.
This is an excerpt from podcast episode #101 Josh Ochs had with Kristin Gambaccini, a stay-at-home mom to 8 kids (18 months to 19 years old).
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.
According to a recent report from the Better Business Bureau, internet fraud has skyrocketed in recent years. With students having access to social media and the internet younger and younger, it’s important that they’re taught about online scams and how to avoid becoming a victim.
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.
According to a recent poll by CNN, 50% of teens feel they are addicted to their mobile devices while 59% of parents say their teens are addicted to screens. So, we asked 5 experts to share tips parents can use to help their children develop a healthy relationship with screens.
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.
Taking your digital resume to the next level is sometimes easier said than done (especially if this is your first resume). So, we asked 7 experts to share their best advice for creating a digital resume that stands out from the crowd.
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.