The news is buzzing with tons of digital safety updates this week. In this Parent University member newsletter we talk about why a teenager was charged for bullying others on Snapchat this week, why the Attorney General is issuing a warning about the Musical.ly app, what parents need to know about the new Instagram and Snapchat updates, how families can protect themselves from data breaches like Facebook’s, the negative effects of social media, how students can shine online, and more.
Listen to this episode on our podcast:
Watch this episode as a video:
3 Social Media Safety Stories For Parents
Teen Charged for Using Snapchat to Bully Another Teen
This week, an Australian teenager has been charged for using Snapchat to cyberbully another teen. An expert from an anti-bullying advocacy group told ABC News that teens are using Snapchat to cyberbully others because their parents don’t know how to use the app. Snapchat promises your kids that they can take a photo/video, send it to a friend, and the content will only be viewed once and then disappear. We as adults know that’s not true, but students feel okay sharing very personal moments on Snapchat as they begin to trust people. Learn what to do if your student has the Snapchat app and watch our Snapchat Parent App Guide.
Source: ABC Australia
Arkansas Attorney General Issues Warning over Musical.ly App
According to officials, there have been reported instances of predators contacting kids through Musical.ly’s messaging feature, asking for inappropriate photos. In addition to the stranger danger on Musical.ly, there is mature language and sexual content in the songs that are popular on the app. There is no way to filter the content on the app and videos can contain mature situations. Learn what to do if your student has the Musical.ly app and watch our Musical.ly Parent App Guide.
Source: NBC WMC Action News 5
Police Are Investigating Threats Made by Teens on the Houseparty App
According to a recent report, several teens boys used the Houseparty app to threaten 10 year old girls in their community. In addition to threatening other students, the teen boys used the Houseparty app to threaten a school shooting. While the threats weren’t found to be credible, the school was put on lock down and police will continue to investigate the issue. The school’s superintendent sent a letter urging parents to follow social media guidelines and not allow students younger than 13 years old sign up for social media networks. Learn what to do if your student has the Houseparty app and watch our Houseparty Parent App Guide.
3 Safety Threats You Need to Know This Week
What Parents Need to Know about the Facebook Data Breach
Over the past few weeks the news has been buzzing with updates regarding one of the largest data breaches in history. Over 50 million Facebook users had their private information collected by political data-mining and consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica. The information collected was used to target Facebook users with ads and messages for the 2016 election. What makes this data breach unique is that Cambridge Analytica had Facebook’s permission to collect users’ personal information (even though the information was used for purposes Cambridge Analytica didn’t have permission to use it for).
Tips for keeping your family’s data safe:
- Before giving your student access to social media, ensure that their device and account has parental control options set up (and that you understand the dangers of the app)
- Remind your children to never give out personal information without checking with you first
- Teach students to never share their passwords with friends
- Caution students against taking online surveys or quizzes, as this personal information can end up in the wrong hands
- Monitor your child’s digital footprint with our Footprint Friday tool, so you can address any issues right away. Footprint Friday lets you monitor your student’s online footprint in less than 5 minutes each week
Source: Chicago Tribune
Many Android Apps May Be Tracking Children Unlawfully
According to a recent study from researchers affiliated with the International Computer Science Institute, thousands of free apps on the Google Play store could potentially be violating federal laws by improperly tracking children.
- 5% of the apps included in the study collected users’ location or contact data (such as phone number or email address) without first obtaining parental consent.
- 1,100 of the apps (19% of those studied) shared sensitive information with third-party services whose terms of service explicitly prohibited their use in children’s apps, likely because they are engaged in behavioral advertising.
- 2,281 apps (39% of those studied) appeared to violate Google’s terms of service regarding the sharing of persistent identifiers (which provide unique information that can be associated with an individual over time and across platforms, apps, or devices.)
- 40% of the apps in the study shared users’ personal information via the internet without applying reasonable security measures.
- Of the 1,280 apps included in the study that integrated with Facebook, 92% did not correctly utilize the company’s configuration options in order to protect users under 13.
Source: Education Week
Consumer Groups Say YouTube Is Improperly Collecting Children’s Data
A coalition of advocacy groups is expected to file a complaint with federal officials which claims that YouTube has been violating a children’s privacy law. According to the complaint, the advocacy groups claim that YouTube is collecting user data from users under the age of 13, without first obtaining consent from their parents. The complaint asks for an investigation and penalties from the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces the law.
Source: The New York Times
Popular App Updates worth Noting This Week
Snapchat Introduces Group Video Chat and Mentions
This week, Snapchat is rolling out a new feature that will allow up to 16 users video chat together in a group. Users will be able to use filters in group video chats and have the choice to respond by audio or text only. In addition to group video chatting, Snapchat is introducing mentions to Stories. Similar to Instagram and Twitter, users will be able to tag other Snapchat users who will get notified if they are mentioned in a Story.
Instagram Is Testing a New Feature Similar to Snapchat’s “Snapcode”
Instagram is testing a new feature called “Nametags” that would make it easier to find friends on the app. Similar to Snapchat’s “Snapcodes”, users create a custom “Nametag” so that they can share it with other users. As of this article, users cannot scan or share their “Nametags” but once Instagram updates the app users will be able to follow others by scanning their custom “Nametag”.
Teens Prefer Snapchat over Instagram
According to a new survey from Piper Jaffray, teens deeply prefer Snapchat to Instagram. While the percentage of teens who open Snapchat and Instagram once a month are roughly the same, the teens surveyed said that Snapchat is their favorite social platform. Of the teens surveyed, 45% said that Snapchat is their favorite app, while 26% said Instagram was their favorite.
While Facebook continues to be less popular with teens, the survey shows that 18 year olds who adopted Facebook when they were 13 are not abandoning the social network.
Source: Business Insider
Whatsapp Allows Users to Download Deleted Media Files
A new feature from Whatsapp allows users to download media files from chats, even if that media was deleted from local storage. Security experts are concerned over this new feature because it highlights how Whatsapp is storing media on it’s servers long after the user has deleted it. Some users have been able to recover deleted media from over 3 months ago. However, any request to download older media results in the user having to request permission from the other person in the chat. The new feature is currently only available to Android users. Learn what to do if your student has Whatsapp and watch our Whatsapp Parent App Guide.
Source: Business Today
3 Stories About the Negative Effects of Social Media
Student Expelled for Posting about a Teacher on Instagram
A freshman high school student said something inappropriate in class, the student was suspended and sent home (it was not the first time they had had this type of behavior). The student found a teacher’s Instagram photo and put it on their page saying that this was the teacher who sent them home. Then, the student talked about how they wanted to harm the teacher which is considered a criminal threat by the state of California. Even though the student had no intention of hurting their teacher, (he was angry, and in his mind, this was the only way that he could handle this situation) officials had to write a crime report which resulted in the student being expelled.
How 1 Snapchat Post Got a Student Expelled and Halted Their Sports Recruitment
Recently a teen damaged their future with a single Snapchat post. Before the post, the student was the star quarterback and division 1 programs were starting to recruit him. Even though the student deleted their original Snapchat post, screenshots of the post were circulated throughout the community which resulted in the student being expelled and decreasing the likelihood of him being recruited by a division 1 program.
Source: USA Today
Harvard Rescinds Admissions from Students over Private Facebook Group
Last year, many of the 2,000+ incoming Harvard freshman students were invited into a private Facebook group to get to know each other. Some of the incoming freshman invited others to be a part of a sub-group for sharing funny memes. Harvard found out about the sub-group (and it’s racists posts) and rescinded acceptances for at least 10 students over their behavior in a PRIVATE Facebook group. Harvard took screenshots of the content and revoked their acceptances.
3 Examples of How Your Student Can Be Positive on Social Media
How YouTube Improved a Student’s Google Results
At SmartSocial.com, we had an intern in high school named Jamie. When Jamie first started working with us she had almost no Google results under her name. When you would search for her name there used to be a lot of other people that would show up. Now if you search for Jamie, you get a three-dimensional view of who she is. Her YouTube account comes up first. Next, in her search results are her three videos that she posted. Below her videos, you will see her Google Plus account because it’s connected to YouTube and Google.
Teen Uses LinkedIn to Change Their Future
Cryptocurrency venture firm Redwood City Ventures was in the market for a new app, so they took to LinkedIn to find their next acquisition. The venture firm posted an ad on LinkedIn and one of the respondents was a teenager from India who developed the Crypto Price Tracker app and launched it on the Apple App Store in January. Using LinkedIn, the venture firm contacted the teen and struck a deal. While the teen is relatively new to computer coding and cryptocurrency, her passion for the two is what drove her to create an app and utilize LinkedIn to highlight her thought leadership.
Blog Helps Position Teen as Thought Leader and Advocate
If there’s such a thing as a social-media prodigy, Hannah Alper is it. Hannah, who is from Toronto, launched her blog “Call Me Hannah” when she was just 9 years old. Her father, Eric Alper, says Hannah’s passion for speaking out about important causes started early on with her love of animals, which quickly spread to concern for threatened habitats and the environment as a whole.
Fast forward a few years, Hannah has not only built a huge following for her blog but gained influence through public speaking and so much more. She has 34,000 followers on Twitter, writes for The Huffington Post, and serves as both a Me to We Motivational Speaker and Free the Children Ambassador. Meanwhile, her advocacy has expanded to also include anti-bullying efforts and celebrating other young role models, including Malala Yousafzai.