It can be challenging for parents to find all of the important security and safety information they need to know to keep their family safe. So, we created this bi-weekly newsletter to bring you up to speed on all of the things happening in digital safety and popular teen trends.
In this Parent University member newsletter we talk about which social media network is more popular with teens than Snapchat and Instagram, where teens are seeking advice online, which social media habits are linked to depression, and more.
We spend countless hours each week researching (and summarizing) the latest digital safety tips parents and educators need to know, join Parent University to get access to our best research and resources.
Table of Contents
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The Top Social Media App Stories for Parents This Week
This social network is more popular with teens than Snapchat and Instagram
According to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, 85% of teens ages 13–17 say they use YouTube (which is more than Instagram with 72% and Snapchat with 69%). The study also shows that teen cell phone access is at an all time high with 95% of teens reporting they own or can access a smartphone. Since most students use YouTube regularly, it’s important for parents to learn how to keep them safe by watching our YouTube Safety Guide for Parents.
Source: The Verge
Facebook announces gaming video platform
With more and more teens watching gaming videos on platforms like Twitch and YouTube, Facebook has announced their own platform Fb.gg. According to TechCrunch, Fb.gg will show the user videos based on the games and celebrities they follow, their Liked Pages and Groups, and it will showcase featured creators, competitions and gaming events. Learn more about the video games your student plays or engages with online in order to keep them safe. Fortnite: Battle Royale is incredibly popular with students right now, learn how you can keep them safe by watching our Fortnite Guide for Parents.
Popular social network bans users under the age of 13
In an effort to comply with GDPR, Twitter is suspending the accounts of users who were under the age of 13 when they signed up. Even if a teen is now over the age of 13, if they were under age when they signed up then their accounts and content will be deleted. If your student has an account, read our Twitter Safety Guide for Parents to learn how they can use the app in a safe and positive manner.
Teens are seeking advice from Instagram instead of Google
The latest viral trend on Instagram is the “thread account.” Thread accounts share helpful info using the gallery post option on Instagram and are typically run by college age students. Teens are flocking to these accounts to seek advice about the things they struggle with. Instagram makes it easy for teens to engage, comment, and tag their friends (which in turn helps the content be seen by more people). Each post has a topic and each image in the post has a quick tip associated with that topic. Thread accounts cover a wide range of topics, like:
- Outfit ideas
- Sore throat remedies
- Acne advice
- Things to talk about with your crush
- How to stop comparing yourself to others
- Tips for texting your crush
Although they’ve been around since 2017, thread accounts are becoming increasingly popular gaining hundreds of thousands of followers. And according to The Atlantic, one teen said “The [thread account] format is just a lot easier to read than stuff like Google. You can read longer things in little chunks. It’s not like reading this giant paragraph at once. No one wants to do that.”
Parents should be aware of thread accounts and discuss them with their children. Ask your students if they follow any thread accounts, which topic did they find to be the most helpful, and do they think the information is reliable. Remind your student that they can always come to you or a trusted adult if they’re seeking advice or are struggling. Please watch our Instagram Safety Guide for Parents to learn how to keep your students safe on the app.
Source: The Atlantic
Safety Threats You Need to Know This Week
Several private Facebook posts were made public due to privacy bug
Facebook experienced a bug in May for 10 days which resulted in 14 million updates going public that were intended to remain private. The bug changed the privacy settings of posts from private to public without warning. The issue has now been fixed and privacy settings have been restored. Bugs like these are a great reminder that everything we do online can go public — even if we intended for it to remain private. Consider using this security mishap to start a discussion with your children about being positive on social media and the consequences of being negative online. Learn how to keep your student safe by watching our Facebook Safety Guide for Parents.
Facebook & Apple Updates worth Noting This Week
Facebook rolling out features similar to Musical.ly
Facebook announced that it will be rolling out a new feature called “Lip Sync Live.” Similar to Musical.ly, users will be able to record video of themselves lip syncing over popular songs. To access the feature, users start a live video and select the lip sync option. Users can include text, add masks, or change the background of their videos. Features like this are popular with teens because they like to be silly and have fun on social media. However, it’s important for parents to learn about the dangers of these features in order to keep their family safe on social media.
Source: Rolling Stone
Apple announces new features to limit screen time and updates Facetime
Screen Time is a new feature from Apple that will allow parents to have a better understanding of how their children are using their phones. Parents will be able to monitor and limit their children’s activity on apps and websites. Additionally, parents will be able to see if their child has used their phone after bedtime and for how long. New features will also make it easy for parents to configure notifications so that students aren’t distracted during school or down time.
Similar to the Houseparty app, the iOS update will also allow users to Facetime with up to 32 people at the same time. Users will be able to easily start a Facetime in a group message or join one. Stickers, filters, text and emojis can be added to Facetime.
iOS updates will be rolling out to users this fall.
2 Stories We Heard about the Negative Effects of Social Media
Social media habits that are linked to depression
A recent study presented at the Association for Psychological Science used information from about 500 students who use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or Snapchat actively. The study found habits on social media that are linked to depression. In the study, researchers found that the reason why students were using social media (reasons like boredom or reading the news) was not linked to depression; instead how students used social media was linked.
These social media habits are linked with depression:
- Comparing yourself to others
- Getting bothered by being tagged in an unflattering photo on social media
- Rarely posting pictures of yourself with others
- Scoring highly on a survey of social media addiction (which included options such as “You have tried to cut down on the use of social media without success,” and “You use social media so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies”)
The study has yet to be finalized but they are working on researching age groups outside of students.
Source: Live Science
Research has found that smartphones may be making kids more depressed and social media may cause increased anxiety
According to NBC News, research has found that smartphones may be making kids more depressed, social media may cause increased anxiety, and there’s a possible connection between gaming and lower grades. So in an effort to help parents manage screen time, NBC asked tech executives how they manage screen time at home and they recommend:
- Once dinner and homework are finished kids can have one hour of screen time
- Siblings can watch one hour of TV together on Saturdays
- Half hour of reading earns screen time
- Discuss apps before downloading
- Unlimited educational screen time
- No social media and no screen time during the week
- Children 2 and younger don’t get any screen time
- No private messaging
- Streaming videos on Amazon is okay but no YouTube
- No devices in their bedroom
An Example of How Your Student Can Be Positive on Social Media
Teens find the positive in social media
According to Pew Research, given the opportunity to explain their views in their own words, teens who say social media has had a mostly positive effect tended to stress issues related to connectivity and connection with others. Roughly 40% of the surveyed students said that social media has had a positive impact because it helps them keep in touch and interact with others. Some additional reasons students say social media has a positive impact:
- Easy to communicate with friends and family
- Greater access to news and information
- Offers a space for self-expression
- Allows teens to get support from others
- Learn new things in general
Social media can be used in a positive way to help your student with their college and career opportunities. When you’re ready for your student to be online and on social media, read our Parent App Guide page and encourage your student to use the apps in our Green Zone.
Source: Pew Research