There have been a lot of app updates since our last newsletter. In this Parent University member newsletter we talk about an app that has double the amount of daily users as Snapchat (hint: it’s not Instagram), a phishing scam on one of the most popular social media networks, how Snapchat is rolling back on their redesign (and how it affects families), the new YouTube update that promotes positive screen time habits, how Instagram is filtering against bullying, an investigation that revealed YouTube stars were paid to promote academic cheating, how a 9 year old’s Instagram posts got her mother fired, and more.
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Table of Contents
The Top Social Media App Stories for Parents This Week
This messaging app has twice the amount of daily users as Snapchat
According to Android Authority, the WhatsApp Status feature has double the daily users of Snapchat. The WhatsApp Status feature is similar to Snapchat’s Stories and it is reported that 450 million people use the Status feature daily. Unlike Snapchat Stories, WhatsApp Statuses can only be seen by contacts. Learn how to keep your student safe if they have WhatsApp with our WhatsApp Parent Guide.
Source: Android Authority
Android update will help users manage screen time
Last week new tools for the Android P operating system were announced. The latest tools help users manage their screen time. Some features include:
- A dashboard that tracks device usage. Users can track:
- how many times they’ve unlocked their phones
- how many notifications they’ve received
- how long they’ve spent on apps
- “Do not disturb” mode gets updated so that users can flip over their phone to activate “do not disturb” mode
- Before bed, the “wind down” mode will slowly turn the brightness of the phone screen down and change the color to grayscale
- Apps can be assigned time limits. Users will receive a notification when they’re approaching their time limit, once the time limit has been reached the app is grayed out in the launcher
Amazon launches a subscription service for kids’ books
Amazon announced a new Prime book service for $23 per month which sends members hardback kids’ books, selected by Amazon editors. Books are categorized into age groups and users can choose to receive books every 1, 2, or 3 months. According to TechCrunch, members will be able to swap books to avoid receiving duplicates of books they already own. Services like these can be a great way for kids to develop a healthy relationship with screen time by finding offline hobbies they enjoy.
Safety Threats You Need to Know This Week
Ad on popular social media network was a phishing scam
An ad offering to verify users on Twitter was found to be a phishing scam, according to Slate. Phishing is when fraudulent companies pose as reputable companies to obtain personal information from users. Using language from Twitter, the ad posed as Twitter and directed users to enter their personal information. Read our Twitter App Parent Guide to learn how to keep your students safe.
Facebook shuts down 200 apps for improperly using and collecting personal data
Due to an ongoing investigation into the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has suspended 200 apps for improperly collecting or using user’s personal information. As of this article, Facebook has not disclosed which apps have been shut down. Thousands of apps have been audited by Facebook during this investigation. According to The Washington Post, the myPersonality app is one of the apps to have been shut down by Facebook.
Source: The Washington Post
Twitter discovers bug that leaves passwords vulnerable
After discovering a bug in its hashing process that caused passwords to be stored in plain text in Twitter’s internal logs. Twitter is now recommending that users change their password especially if used on other networks. The social media platform says that there should be no threat of 3rd parties getting access to the data. Get password security tips to learn how to keep your family safe online.
Source: Venture Beat
Facebook, Snapchat & Instagram App Updates worth Noting This Week
After receiving criticism for their recent update, Snapchat is rolling back their redesign
Snapchat announced that it will be rolling back some changes from their recent redesign. The announcement comes after Snapchat received backlash from their users which resulted in slow growth in 2018. Some of the changes Snapchat announced:
- Snaps and chats will go back to being in chronological order
- Stories from friends will go back to being in the right hand tab
- A separate subscriptions feed has been added to help users find content from popular contributors
Read our Snapchat Parent Guide to learn how to keep students safe on the app.
Source: Ad Week
Instagram is adding a new filter to protect users from bullying
Instagram announced that it will filter bullying comments intended to harass or upset people in the Instagram community. In their announcement, Instagram states that the new filter hides comments containing attacks on a person’s appearance or character, as well as threats to a person’s well-being or health. The new feature will also alert Instagram of repeated bullying so that they can take action.
Instagram also launched an interactive emoji slider that users can use in their Stories. The slider can be accessed as a sticker in Stories and can be used to poll users. Read our Instagram App Parent Guide to learn how to keep students safe and smart on the app.
A new YouTube feature promotes positive screen time behavior
YouTube has just introduced new controls which will allow users to set time limits and receive reminders to “take a break” on the mobile app. Users can set “take a break” reminders every 15, 30, 60, 90 or 180 minutes. Receiving a reminder will pause the video the user is watching and ask them to either dismiss the reminder and keep watching or close the app. By default, the “take a break” feature will not be enabled.
- Remind students that having a cell phone, tablet, or computer is something to use in moderation
- Encourage your children to find offline activities that they would be proud to share on their college resume. Spending time on those activities will give students positive content they can post online
- Teach students to prioritize positive offline hobbies, school, social activities, sports, and family time above screen time
- Get students in the habit of following screen time guidelines and self-regulating their screen time
- Support your children in finding activities they can do digitally while still being productive, like:
- Learning how to program
- Building an online resume
- Monitoring their digital footprint
- Have an open and ongoing discussion with your children about screen time and new apps they’re using
- Help your children find an offline hobby that colleges will find interesting, such as:
- Building model airplanes
- Playing music
Facebook to add dating features, a “clear history” feature, and group video calls on Whatsapp
Later this year Facebook will roll out dating features. Through the Facebook app, users will be able to create a separate dating profile that won’t share on their news feed. Users will not be matched with people they are friends with on Facebook. Facebook dating users will be able to use an “unlocking” feature which makes their profile visible to members of groups or attendees of events.
At the F8 Conference, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook users will have the ability to clear their browsing history on Facebook. Once rolled out, users will be able to see information about the apps and websites they’ve interacted with, and they’ll be able to clear this information from their account.
Although many apps have offered group video chatting for some time, WhatsApp is adding group video chatting features in the coming months.
Learn how to keep students safe with our Facebook Safety Guide for Parents.
2 Stories We Heard about the Negative Effects of Social Media
BBC investigation reveals YouTube stars were being paid to encourage academic cheating
The BBC investigation uncovered more than 1,400 videos with a total of more than 700 million views containing EduBirdie adverts selling cheating to students. EduBirdie is a Ukrainian based company sells essays to students. According to BBC, the ads not only targeted university students but students as young as 12. The ads can be found on channels on all different topics. Unlike typical YouTube ads which standalone and are played before or after a video, these ads were promoted by the YouTuber in their video. Most of the ads feature the YouTuber talking about the benefits of the essay service in their video. This can be dangerous because it can normalize or even encourage cheating to young students. YouTube warned some channels that they would take down the videos if the promotion wasn’t edited out. In their investigation, BBC stated “Google’s own research found YouTubers were more influential than celebrities when it came to promoting products.” Learn how to keep students safe by reading our YouTube Safety Guide for Parents.
Mother fired over an Instagram video posted by her 9 year old
A 9 year old’s Instagram account went viral after they posted videos which featured the student using profanity, throwing around stacks of money, and showing off expensive cars and jewelry. After the videos went viral the student’s mother was fired from her real estate job. The firm she worked for issued a statement saying, “our firm does not condone this type of behavior and has no place for this in our business.”
This story is another example of how negative behavior online can result in serious consequences offline. Learn how to teach students about how their digital footprint impacts their college and career opportunities.
Source: The Verge
2 Examples of How Your Student Can Be Positive on Social Media
Student uses Instagram to inspire other teens
When one teen was diagnosed with scoliosis she didn’t let that stop her from achieving her dreams. The student posted pictures of her endeavors as a ballet dancer while wearing a back brace. Due to the content she has posted she has become a positive inspiration for students with scoliosis.
How teens are using social media to change the world in a positive way
Most parents and educators know the negative side effects of social media but there is rarely a discussion around how social can be used in a positive way. In this Washington Post article, they highlight how social media can be used by teens to create a positive impact on their community, strengthen friendships, build a genuine support system, and promote expression.
Source: The Washington Post