With all the negative headlines and scary scenarios swirling around about social media, raising children in today’s digital world can be intimidating. Afterall, our sons and daughters are encountering a plethora of emerging dangers that were unheard of when we were young. Back in our day, we were concerned about teasing our bangs to unnatural heights or finding the perfect Kaboodle to stash our collection of lip gloss. However, our kids are facing social media oversharing, cyberbullying, sexting, and online predators.
Our digital natives might not bat an eyelash at these dangers, but all of this swiping and sharing is new to many of us who still remember when telephones had cords tethered to a wall. As we join the social media bandwagon by joining sites like Facebook or downloading other apps, our children are turning to the fast paced world of disappearing messaging apps. One popular social media app that our children are utilizing is Snapchat.
Snapchat is one of the leading disappearing messaging apps that continues to grow in popularity with our kids. It allows users to send images, photos, videos, or messages to select friends that automatically disappear after the receiver views the “chat”. The fleeting messages are a major draw to children, because many believe that it promotes more authentic forms of communication without creating a massive digital footprint full of selfies and memes.
For a more detailed account of the ins and outs of Snapchat, please watch the following informational video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuAedB1TmdE
Making Sense Of Snapchat Dangers Facing Our Kids
The self destructing message feature offers users a sense of security, but we do need to sit back and really analyze if this app is safe. The promise of disappearing messages can encourage children to take risks they would never attempt on regular social media or in real life. In fact, Snapchat is widely becoming known for cases of cyberbullying and sexting.
It is believed that almost 90 percent of our children have encountered digital bullying and 54 percent of surveyed students openly admitted to sexting before they turned 18. Widespread bullying is concerning, but we also need to realize sexting is now considered a normal part of development in adolescence. It’s the new version of “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours” for modern children.
This makes it vital for parents to monitor a child’s technology use. We need to stay on top of our child’s Smartphone, device, and interactions while teaching them appropriate social media etiquette skills. In addition, we need to challenge ourselves to begin an ongoing conversation about social media and the role it plays in our lives.
How do you protect children from disappearing messaging apps?
“Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance journalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics.”