It can be hard for parents to keep track of all the latest social media channels and smartphone apps, but it’s important that they do. The world has gone digital, and teens are more connected than ever before. In fact, even though parents believe that their teens are spending around 3 hours a day online, the truth is they’re talking to friends, meeting new people and exchanging videos and photos for around 5 hours per day! In fact, one study found that 22% of teens log into social media channels more than 10 times per day!
These harmless activities that teens participate in on social media can soon lead to danger. Social media opens up the door for teens to be exposed to explicit content, predators, and cyberbullying. Think of the number of messages, photos, and videos that can be sent back and forth within five hours. All of this content is completely unmonitored and out of your control unless you step in to protect your teen.
How can you protect your teen from harm? It’s important that parents arm themselves with knowledge about the apps that teens are using in order to know how to monitor their usage and discuss the app’s dangers with their teens. Monitoring social media usage will help parents teach teens how to behave in the rapidly growing online world.
One app that is growing in popularity among teens is Snapchat, marketed as a “disappearing” messaging app that allows users to exchange photos that quickly vanish with friends and other contacts. Teens tend to feel safer and more protected on this app because the photos are meant to disappear, giving them more freedom to send provocative or hurtful messages under the impression that only the receiver will see it.
Start the conversation with your teen about Snapchat by first grasping the risks that are involved with using it. To help you understand this popular app used by teens, take a look at the following infographic: