Social Media

 

Social Media is one of the biggest captivators of teens in today's culture.  We want this page to be a valuable one-stop-shop resource for parents to stay informed about what social media outlets their teens are diving into.  Scroll down for descriptions, benefits and dangers of each major social media outlet in today's market or just click on an icon to visit a specific social media excerpt.

Click on the icon to the left of each excerpt to visit each social media site.

 

 

small facebooksmalltwitter small insta small vine small youtube small vimeo small snapchatsmall pinterest small myspacetindersmall yikyaksmall twitchsmall wasmall

 

 

 

facebook

 

FACEBOOK

Facebook is an online social networking service founded in 2004.  By far the largest social network on the planet, Facebook boasts a reported 1.11 billion users worldwide (as of March, 2013).  The site allows anyone who is 13 and older to join.  Once you set up a profile, you are free to upload pictures, videos and share any and all media online.

BENEFITS

Many people use facebook to stay  in touch with friends and family.  It has also become a big marketing tool for businesses.  Facebook closely monitors and strictly prohibits any pictures, videos or other content with full nudity but inappropriate material can still be found.

DANGERS

With such a diverse and massive user base, you never know who you might find or who might find you.  It is all too easy for anyone to create fake accounts and hide behind deceptive info and pictures.  There are privacy settings that can be set and customized but there are often ways to work around them.  Also, with Facebook integrating increased location tracking, it's becoming much easier to know where people go and go often.  Inappropriate pictures can be found, although none with full nudity.

 

twitter

TWITTER

Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters.  Twitter boasts 200 million users worldwide.  Users can broadcast text-based messages and pictures through their account.

BENEFITS

Like Facebook, Twitter has privacy settings that can keep one's account private from the outside world.  Twitter users can select who sees their own content and likewise deny access to anyone they choose.

DANGERS

Since much of Twitter's content contains links to outside sites, there is virtually no way to monitor or censor what content is found through Twitter.  Twitter itself openly admits that it does not forbid pornographic material. There have been reports of children becoming exposed to drug-related and pornographic material through content shared through Twitter.  Since anyone can browse through Twitter with or without an account, there is really no way to monitor who is viewing this material.

 

instagram

INSTAGRAM

Instagram is an online photo-sharing and video-sharing mobile app.  It's a social platform that enables its users to take pictures, record videos and share them with friends and followers on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook or Twitter. Instagram boasts over 100 million users and is mainly used as an app on mobile phones and tablets such as the iPad.

BENEFITS

Many businesses have latched onto Instagram's platform for marketing and media purposes. Users can set privacy settings to restrict other users from viewing their pictures.

DANGERS

Instagram relies on its users to flag inappropriate material and doesn't have a solid in-house monitoring system.  This has opened the door for a flood of pornographic material to be easily accessed by any and all users, regardless of age.

 

vine

VINE

Vine is a mobile app that enables its users to create and post video clips. Video clips created with Vine have a maximum length of 6 seconds and can be shared or embedded on social networking services such as Twitter and Facebook.

BENEFITS

Vine allows users to set privacy settings and limit content publicity. The minimum age for Vine users is now 17 years of age.

DANGERS

Because Vine was acquired by Twitter in late 2012, it now shares Twitter's open stance on pornographic material.  Less than a week after Vine's debut, pornographic clips started appearing on the service. Much of this pornographic material features clips from adult films and clips of male genitalia.

 

youtube

YOUTUBE

YouTube is the world's biggest hosting site for user-created videos. Viewers can watch videos on YouTube without an account, on a computer or on the YouTube mobile app. Anyone may sign up for an account and once signed up can upload an unlimited number of videos.

BENEFITS

YouTube is used by some educational institutions for video lectures. Users can find good, wholesome and even education content on YouTube.

DANGERS

While YouTube's content is very diverse, there is a growing trend of popular, inappropriate material. Some of the most-watched videos contain inappropriate material.  YouTube claims it does not support pornographic material yet with any user-generated-content-site that type of material can be found if searched for.

vimeo

VIMEO

Vimeo is a video sharing site on which users can upload, share and view videos.  The site boasts over 65 million unique visitors per month and has more than 8 million registered users.  The site tailors to many Indie film makers and video graphic artists.

BENEFITS

Like YouTube, viewers can find good, wholesome and educational material on Vimeo.  Vimeo generally fosters and cultures a high level of creativity and most often spotlights much higher quality videos than YouTube.

DANGERS

Like YouTube, Vimeo claims to ban all pornographic material.  Unlike YouTube, Vimeo allows "nudity in non-sexual contexts."  While this may be true, many users have submitted complaints saying Vimeo openly features extremely explicit, sexually-pornographic videos.  Vimeo is perhaps one of the easiest avenues of obtaining video pornography on the internet today.

 

snapchat

SNAPCHAT

Snapchat is a photo messaging mobile app. Users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings and send them to a controlled list of recipients.  Users set a time limit for how long recipients can view their photos, up to 10 seconds, after which they will be hidden from the recipient's device and deleted from the app's servers. Snapchat's main demographic is users between 13 and 23 years of age.

BENEFITS

There is little benefit to an app that encourages hidden material involving pictures and videos.

DANGERS

This is potentially one of the most dangerous avenues of social media available today.  Snapchat has been hailed as "the best way to sext" and is virtually impossible to monitor by parents due to the hidden material and time limits. Snapchat should be approached with extreme caution.

 

pinterest

PINTEREST

Pinterest is a pinboard-style photo-sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based collections such as events, interests and hobbies.  Users can upload, save, sort and manage images and videos.

BENEFITS

Many Pinterest members use the service to foster creativity and obtain ideas for cooking, decorating, style and more.

DANGERS

Pinterest does have a "no nudity" policy but like any user-generated content site there are exceptions. Users have submitted many complaints regarding overwhelming amounts of pornographic material on Pinterest.  It can be easily found if looked for.

 

myspace

MYSPACE

MySpace is a social networking service with a strong music emphasis.  What was once the world's most-visited site is now a glorified musicians hub.

BENEFITS

MySpace can be used to find songs, albums and musicians.  As with any music-based site, there will be questionable material.  MySpace, in general does a good job of monitoring the site for nudity and explicitly inappropriate material.

DANGERS

One will find inappropriate material on MySpace but in general, it is very closely monitored for nudity and pornographic material.  Still, approach with caution.

 

tinder

 

TINDER

Tinder is a smartphone app that displays images of users that other users can either "like" or "dislike" based on the picture. If the corresponding person also likes the other user's photo, the app connects the two as a match. The app is targeted towards young adults (young teens to early 20s).

BENEFITS

There really are no benefits to this app. The app itself is branded as the new way to meet people but clearly there are much better ways to meet new people.

DANGERS

The dangers of Tinder far outweigh any benefits. The app is largely unprotected from nudity and pornographic material. Anyone on the app can connect as long as two users "like" each other's photo. This app really should never be used. It functions somewhat like an online dating service but is, in fact, much more dangerous than your average online dating site. Tinder is quickly becoming a place where sexually explicit material is commonplace. This is a very dangerous app.

 

yikyak

 

YIK YAK

Yik Yak is a smartphone app where users can post in public forums anonymously much like a chat room.

BENEFITS

The only benefit, if you can call it a benefit, is that it could be used for communication between a group of individuals. However, the fact that people can post anonymously dissembles any benefit that this app could be to a group needing to communicate via different locations.

DANGERS

A big danger of this app early on (early 2014) was bullying on high school campuses. Yik Yak did their best to ban their own app from middle school and high school campuses and the app is now popular mainly with college students. Popular christian blogger and author, Adam McClane, said this about the app:

"I live very close to San Diego State University, where the “Yik Yak game” is pretty active. I’ve been keeping tabs on campus usage for about a month now and I have to be honest in saying that I see Yik Yak as mostly harmless. It’s college students whining about early classes, talking up their fraternity, and bragging about their drug/sexual exploits."

The app seems pretty harmless but still be careful. At the end of the day, there's no reason to have this app.

 

twitch

 

TWITCH

Twitch is a video game streaming service used by gamers. Users log in to Twitch and watch their favorite gamers play their favorite games live (often with commentary from the gamer playing the game).

BENEFITS

The benefits aren't very apparents for Twitch. If your children are really into video games, Twitch would somewhat socialize their gaming experience. Beyond that, this service doesn't provide any other benefits.

DANGERS

There are not many dangers to twitch. The biggest things to watch out for are obviously explicit games themselves (games with sexual or violent subject matter - they do exist) and the people playing these games. Language would be a concern for any user - as they are more than likely going to be listening to other gamers talk while they play. Definitely be careful what kind of content is being streamed through Twitch. 

 

whatsapp

 

WHATSAPP

WhatsApp hasn't emerged into the teenager world yet but it could very soon. WhatsApp is basically a messaging app separate from the normal texting app on a phone. 

BENEFITS

The only benefit to WhatsApp is that it's used by many people across the world. If a user has a friend or family member in a foreign country this app could easily connect those people for free.

DANGERS

This app could potentially hide text messages and pictures/videos from someone trying to monitor those things. It's separate from the normal messaging/texting app on smartphones but it essentially does the same thing. Parents need to be careful with this app because anyone can use it and it can be used to send pictures and videos, which can, of course, lead to explicit material being sent back and forth. Be sure to check any phone in your home for this app and monitor it regularly.