Teens: Hello Instagram!

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There are more sites growing in popularity in social network paradise and you may have even experienced first-hand. Our teens are giving Facebook a wide berth and investing their time in other ‘hip’ sites such as Instagram and Snapchat.

Facebook even recently admitted that ’some of our users have reduced their engagement with Facebook in favour of increased engagement with other products and services such as Instagram.’

Mmmm. No surprise really. Teens are looking for a social media site that they can claim as home and is easy to make updates throughout the day. A site that isn’t complex or risky and most importantly, isn’t not swarming with parents!!  They are craving digital freedom and Facebook just isn’t cutting it for them. So, they are abandoning ‘old fashioned’ Facebook in droves and are turning to more ‘underground-style’ apps such as Instagram and Snapchat that are simple, fun and feel a little more ‘secretive’.

And isn’t it ironic! Facebook was once the underground for US college kids but now that it is used and accepted by everybody (including grandparents) it has lost its edgy ‘secret society’ vibe and is now feeling sanitised, according to our teens. Almost a little like Linked-In!

Some experts attribute the rise of Instagram to parents refusing to let their underage children join Facebook. When many of us prevented our kids from lying about their age and joining Facebook, they flocked to alternative sites such as Instagram and Tumblr. Many experts predict that Snapchat, the app that sends photos and videos that disappear, will in fact be the next Facebook. Currently an enormous 60 million photos are shared on a daily basis!

So, what does this all mean for us parents? More than ever, it is all about doing the groundwork. Think of it like preparing the soil in a garden bed before you actually plant your seedlings.  Yes, you can follow your kids on Instagram and Tumblr (if you can find out their names) but Snapchat maybe a little harder. So, you need to step up the messaging at home and weave in these cybersafety messages at every possible opportunity:

  • Observe the age restrictions. Instagram requires users to be 13 years of age.
  • Set your profile to private so you can approve friends and followers who see your photos
  • Don’t turn on Geotagging
  • Be aware that anything you post and share affects your online reputation
  • Only add friends and followers that you really know
  • Understand how to block users and report photos

And most importantly, join these sites. Understand how they work  – get yourself some ‘tech cred’! That way your kids will be more inclined to come to you if they have an issue or a problem.

Until next time,

Alex x


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