Just when you thought you had Facebook, Twitter, and that Instagram-thingy down, several more social networks have emerged. While it’s unknown if any can stand up to the giants, it’s important to stay in the know as a parent and recognize these new online meeting places.
With more and more teens making an exodus from Facebook to more “parent free” online hangouts, don’t be surprised to find your kids landing in one of these new places soon.
Here are three new networks that could become hot spots for teens:
- Pheed. This social network combines features of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr and has a ton of celebrity octane behind it. You don’t need to be “accepted” as a friend but can create a profile and subscribe to anyone’s timeline on Pheed. Users can share text, photo, audio, video and live broadcasts. Users have the option to share for free or at a premium, either by applying a monthly subscription fee to their content, or setting up a pay-per-view live broadcast event. One cool feature: There is a “rating” system you can choose for your content: PG, PG-13 or R. So if your child is on Pheed, you can go into their settings and make that choice.
- Thumb.Thumb is a personal crowd-sourcing network (formerly Opinionaided), which means it thrives by soliciting contributions from a large group of people. Users can ask questions, post photos or thoughts and within minutes get a slew of “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” It’s impulsive and doesn’t require friends to comment in full sentences, so there’s a chance this niche network could stick around. This could be fun for kids but could easily evolve into a potential hot spot for cyber bullies. Keep your eye on this one.
- Chirp.This new social network is a bit like texting—only on steroids. Chirp (an app via your mobile phone) emits a high-pitched, two-second-long, robotic sound (yes, really). Other phones using Chirp within audio range pick up the sound and instantly—a “Chirp” is downloaded to those phones. Chirps can be shared at school, at a party, an event, event broadcast over loudspeakers to reach huge audiences or even embedded in YouTube videos. A Chirp can also be “shared” via other networks such as Facebook and Twitter. While this sounds crazy, sound may become the new text. According to Chirp, in the sound-to-text process, Chirp’s “audio engine tries to decode the sequence of notes into a sequence of letters which a server understands. The server then returns a link to the end user so they can go wherever the short code points: to a webpage, or a photo, or a video.
With new networks popping up daily, be sure to refresh your family on the ground rules to keep them safe, connected, and having fun online. The most important rule: Keep the conversation around Internet Safety open and honest with your kids.