There have been a lot of digital safety updates in the news. In this Parent University member newsletter we talk about keeping students safe on Fortnite: Battle Royale, the new social media challenge that has teens snorting things up their nose, why Twitter banned a major parental control software provider from advertising on their platform, what Snapchat updated this week (spoiler alert: they made a lot of changes), how users can download their Instagram data, and more.
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The Top Social Media App Stories for Parents This Week
The 6th most visited site in the world has now surpassed Twitter (and your teens probably are on it) Learn what it is and how it’s bad for your teen
The latest global website ranking from Alexa – based on monthly site traffic – shows that Reddit.com is the sixth most-visited website in the world. Alexa’s data suggests that people spend more time on Reddit each day than they spend on the websites of any other top social platform. The average user spends 15 minutes 47 seconds on Reddit.com each day.
Reddit has a desktop site, mobile friendly site and a mobile app – Reddit: The Official App. Most accounts are anonymous, allowing people to speak more freely and insult/humiliate other users. Popular subreddits like r/roastme focus on writing mean comments about someone’s appearance. There is a lot of explicit content and teen focused subreddits. Learn how to keep your student safe with our Reddit Parent Guide.
Source: The Next Web (Warning: While the article linked above does not display any adult content, it does make reference to adult content in regards to the new report from Reddit.)
The Most Popular Video Game for Teens: Learn what this game is, how it works, and why a school is offering teens the promise of a college scholarship for playing this game
Scholarships for eSports have been growing in popularity over the past few years and has started to become more widespread. Ashland University in Ohio just announced the first Fortnite: Battle Royale college scholarship. If you’re a parent or an educator, chances are you’ve heard of Fortnite.
The reason Fortnite: Battle Royale is so popular with students is because silly humor is very much a part of the gameplay. Players can wear funny costumes and perform dance moves. Fortnite is designed to keep players coming back which can be difficult for teens and tweens who haven’t yet developed a healthy relationship with screen time. Learn how to keep students safe with our Fortnite: Battle Royale Parent Guide.
Learn what students are snorting up their nose in the latest teen Youtube challenge
The condom snorting challenge is a viral trend where teens post a video of themselves snorting a condom and pulling it out of their mouth. While this may sound like a joke, teens have been doing this challenge since 2007. Most videos of the condom snorting challenge are from 2007-2013. However, with one YouTube search our team was able to find videos that were uploaded in April 2018, of teens doing the challenge (2 teens had even live streamed it that same day).
This challenge can be very dangerous and can cause choking. Health experts warn of infection or allergic reaction. Viral challenges like this encourage teens to do dangerous things just for likes, views, attention, and subscribers. However, knowing about social media challenges and trends before your teen does can help you keep them safe before an incident occurs. Read our Condom Snorting Challenge Guide for Parents.
Source: USA Today
Learn what different features Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition Has
The Amazon Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, make calls, send and receive messages, and more. Last week, Amazon announced an Echo Dot Kids Edition. The device will function the same as the Amazon Echo Dot but will include Amazon’s parental control feature FreeTime for Alexa which allows parents to set time limits, filter out explicit song lyrics, and add educational or kid-friendly content to the device. FreeTime for Alexa praises kids for asking questions politely and gives more detailed responses while using less mature vocabulary. Devices will start shipping May 9th, 2018 and will cost $80.
Source: Business Insider
Safety Threats You Need to Know This Week
This network is allowing user data to be grabbed by third-party trackers
Why Twitter banned digital safety tool Kaspersky Labs from advertising
Due to alleged ties with Russian intelligence organizations, Twitter bans Kaspersky Lab from advertising on it’s platform. Moscow based Kaspersky Lab has been under scrutiny lately resulting in the U.S. government banning federal agencies from using the software. The U.S. government is considering sanctions against Kaspersky Lab which would ban the software from operating in the U.S. entirely.
Source: Digital Trends
Facebook, Snapchat & Instagram App Updates worth Noting This Week
Snapchat is updating their recent update. Find out what data they aren’t going to collect in Europe and more
A recent Snapchat update which separated user generated content from publisher generated content has received a lot of backlash this year. In an effort to redesign the update, Snapchat is testing adding user generated content on the Discover tab (similar to how the app worked before the recent update). As of right now, Snapchat is only testing the redesign on a small number of users but the update could roll out to all users in the near future. This week, Snapchat also released ‘Snappables’ which are AR games played using facial expressions, motion, and touch. New ‘Snappable’ games will be released every week and can be found alongside Snapchat’s other lenses. Some games can be played solo while other games allow users to play against one another. Snapchat also announced unskippable ads which will be 6-seconds and played during it’s TV-like shows but not during user generated or publisher generated stories.
A new update to the EU’s data protection rules is requiring a lot of social media networks to change how they collect data from minors. In order to comply with the new rules, Snapchat is changing how the Snap Map feature stores location tracking data for children under 16 years old in Europe. The Snap Map feature will not be disabled for teens but the company says it will no longer store location tracking data for users under 16 years old. These location tracking changes will not affect non-European Snapchat users. Be sure to watch our new Snapchat Parent Guide for Parent University members, where I walk you through all of the parts of Snapchat you need to know about to keep your students safe.
How to download your data from Instagram this week
Instagram update allows users to download a copy of their data
In an effort to be transparent with users, Instagram announced an update that will allow users to download a copy of their data. Users enter their email address to receive an email with a link containing all of their photos, comments, and profile information. To access this feature on the mobile app, users can navigate to their privacy settings.
YouTube Kids is getting an important update with more control
In order to give parents more control over what their children can see, YouTube is adding new parental settings. Parents will now have the option to approve certain channels and subjects as well as filter videos based on approved content. There have been several reports of disturbing videos making it past YouTube’s filters so it’s important for parents to be actively monitoring their children’s YouTube content. Watch our YouTube Student Guide to learn how parents can work with their students to create a positive digital footprint using YouTube.
Source: CNN Money
Why we don’t like Facebook Messenger Kids (and what updates they are making to make the app less bad)
Facebook announced a new feature called “Sleep Mode” for Facebook Messenger Kids which will allow parents to determine how much time their children can spend on the app. Students will receive a 10 minute countdown on the app before the “sleep mode” takes effect so that they can wrap up their conversations. Facebook Messenger Kids is a video chat and messaging app that’s built for kids and designed to give parents more control. If your children have the app, read our Facebook Messenger Kids Parent Guide to learn how to keep them safe.
Find out what type of links Twitter is starting to promote
In it’s continued effort to step away from being a social media network and become a news platform, Twitter has started to give more prominence to news links shared by your network. Tweets that mention the same news article will be grouped together in timelines. The new feature has already been rolled out to iOS and Android devices, as well as Twitter’s desktop site.
Source: The Verge
Why it’s important to look at the new minimum age for WhatsApp in Europe (and what that age is)
The popular messaging app owned by Facebook has announced that it will raise the minimum age for European users from 13 to 16 years old, in order to comply with new data privacy rules. At this time it’s not clear how the age requirement will be verified. For non-European users, the age requirement will remain 13 years and older. WhatsApp is a mobile messenger that allows students to use wifi to bypass their SMS/Text messaging feature and directly message other users on the app. Learn how to keep students safe on the app with our Whatsapp Parent Guide.
3 Stories We Heard about the Negative Effects of Social Media
New data shows social media is to blame for increase of school expulsions in Illinois
A school district in Illinois has seen a spike in expulsions this year. This year, the school district has expelled 12 more students than were expelled through all of last year and 11 more than during the 2015-16 school year, according to data obtained by the Beacon-News and public school board documents. The superintendent says social media in-part is to blame for the increase of expulsions in the district. Some students who were expelled this year were expelled for fighting and making threats on social media.
Source: Chicago Tribune
Students kicked out of sorority over video posted on social media
Four Miami University students were kicked out of their sorority after posting a video of themselves singing a song and repeatedly using a racist slur. The video circulated on social media which gained the attention of their sorority. After seeing the video, the sorority immediately expelled the students due to the discriminatory nature of the video and the student’s behavior.
Source: Journal News
What is Digital Self-Harm and how are students using it?
New research suggests that teens and tweens are engaging in digital self-harm. Digital self-harm is when students post mean or derogatory comments about themselves on social media. Child psychologists warn that it is a growing problem among teens and tweens. Some students will engage in digital self-harm in an effort to avoid being bullied by their peers, to encourage their friends to worry about them, or to gain attention from their parents. Digital self-harm shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Here are some tips to keep your students safe:
- Monitor your student’s digital footprint consistently to see if they are engaging in any digital self-harming behavior. Sign up for Footprint Friday to monitor your student’s digital footprint in less than 5 minutes each week
- Use the apps your student uses. When children know that their parents are a part of their audience, they tend to behave more positively online
- Remind your student that they can always come to your or a trusted adult if they are having any issues
2 Examples of How Your Student Can Be Positive on Social Media
How one teen used social media to build a thriving business
A 12 year old in California created a family friendly social media network designed for children to use before getting access to Instagram or Snapchat. The social networking site called Grom Social now thrives and was created out of frustration when the student’s father made him delete his Facebook profile. The goal of the social network is to teach students good digital citizenship before joining bigger social media sites.
Source: LA Times
Helpful YouTube reviews changed the course of this teen’s life
Marques Brownlee started making YouTube videos with his parents permission when he was in high school. In the beginning, he was posting tech tutorials but quickly became a resource for tech reviews. Marques made a positive reputation for himself by responding to his audience’s questions and demonstrating a deep knowledge of technology. With more than 5.8 million subscribers, his channel is considered one of the largest tech channels on YouTube. Posting helpful videos on YouTube has earned Marques many career opportunities including interviewing Kobe Bryant and presenting at the 2016 presidential debate.