Tips Toward a Safe and Positive Social Media Experience
By Stephen Spengler 06/01/17
Family Online Safety Institute recommends that parents engage in “7 Steps to Good Digital Parenting”
1. Talk with your children.
2. Educate yourself.
3. Use parental controls. Check the safety controls on all of the Android and Apple devices that your family uses. On the iPhone, you can tap SETTINGS > GENERAL> RESTRICTIONS and you can create a password that allows you enable/disable apps and phone functions. On Android devices, you can turn on Google Play Parental Controls by going into the Google Play Store settings
parental monitoring software such as NetNanny, PhoneSherriff, Norton Family Premier and Qustodio.
4. Friend and follow your children on social media. Whether it’s musical.ly, Instagram or Twitter, chances are that your children use some form of social media. If you have not already, then create an account and get on their friends list.
5. Explore, share and celebrate.
6. Be a good digital role model.
7. Set ground rules and apply sanctions. Just like chore charts or family job lists, consider using a family social media or internet safety contract. These contracts establish ground rules for when devices are to be used; what they should and should not be doing on them; and to establish sanctions based on breaches of the family contract. A simple internet search for “family internet contract” or “family technology contract” will produce a wealth of available ideas and resources to help you implement rules and sanctions revolving around your family’s technology use. A good example of a social media contract for children can be found at imom.com/printable/social-media-contract-for-kids/.
Managing Your Digital Footprint
Your digital footprint, according to dictionary.com, is “one’s unique set of digital activities, actions, and communications that leave a data trace on the internet or on a computer or other digital device and can identify the particular user or device.” Digital footprints can be either passive or active. The passive digital footprint is created without your consent and is driven by the sites and apps that you visit. The data from a passive digital footprint could reveal one’s internet history, IP address, location and is all stored in files on your device without you knowing it. An active digital footprint is more easily managed by the user. Data from an active digital footprint shows social media postings, information sharing, online purchases and activity usage.
- Search for yourself online
- Check privacy settings.
- Use strong passwords
- Update software.
- Maintain your device.
- Think before you post
Keep These Apps on Your Radar
- Afterschool (minimum age 17) – The Afterschool App was rejected twice from the major app stores due to complaints from parents and educators. It is a well-known app that promotes cyberbullying, sexting, pornography and is filled with references to drugs and alcohol.
- Blue Whale (minimum age 10) – IF YOU FIND THIS APP ON YOUR CHILD’S DEVICE, DELETE IT. It is a suicide challenge app that attempts to prod children into killing themselves.
- BurnBook (minimum age 18) – IF YOU FIND THIS APP ON YOUR CHILD’S DEVICE, DELETE IT. It is a completely anonymous app for posting text, photos, and audio that promote rumors about other people. It is a notorious for cyberbullying
- Calculator% (minimum age 4) – IF YOU FIND THIS APP ON YOUR CHILD’S DEVICE, DELETE IT. This is one of hundreds of “secret” calculator apps. This app is designed to help students hide photos and videos that they do not want their parents to see. This app looks and functions like a calculator, but students enter a “.”, a 4-digit passcode, and then a “.” again.
- KIK (minimum age 17) – This is a communications app that allows anyone to be contacted by anyone and it 100 percent bypasses the device’s contacts list.
- Yik Yak (minimum age 18) – This app is a location-based (most commonly schools) bulletin board app. It works anonymously with anyone pretending to be anyone they want. Many schools across the country have encountered cyberbullying and cyberthreats originating from this app.
- StreetChat (minimum age 14) – StreetChat is a photo-sharing board for middle school, high school and college-age students. Members do not need to be a student in the actual school and can impersonate students in schools across the country. It promotes cyberbullying through anonymous posts and private messaging.
- ooVoo (minimum age 13) – IF YOU FIND THIS APP ON YOUR CHILD’S DEVICE, DELETE IT. ooVoo is one of the largest video and messages app. Parents should be aware that ooVoo is used by predators to contact underage children. The app can allow users to video chat with up to twelve people at one time.
- Wishbone (girls) & Slingshot (boys) (minimum age 13) – Both are comparison apps that allow users to create polls, including ones that are not appropriate for children. Many of the users create polls to shame and cyberbully other children, plus there are inappropriate apps and videos that users are forced to watch via the app’s advertising engine.
Texas Teen May Be Victim in ‘Blue Whale Challenge’ That Encourages Suicide
Isaiah Gonzalez, 15, found hanging from his closet after an apparent suicide, as allegedly instructed by macabre online game
Nationally, the Associated Press reports that educators, law enforcement officers and parents have raised concerns about the challenge, though these two back-to-back deaths mark the first allegations in the United States about deaths directly linked to the online game. Internationally, suicides in Russia, Brazil, and half a dozen other countries have already been linked to the challenge.
more on social media in education in this IMS blog
From MyFunCity to government-structured approach to “digital citizenship,” this is recent trend, which is seriously considered by educators as a must in the curricula. While habitually connected with technology classes, it is a much larger issue, which requires faculty attention across disciplines; it encompass digital and technology literacy, netiquette and online behavior (cyberbulling most frequently addressed), as well qualities and skills to be a functional and mindful citizen of a global world.
here is some general literature on digital citizenship:
Digital Citizenship: The Internet, Society, and Participation
Digital Citizenship: Addressing Appropriate Technology Behavior
Ribble, Mike S.; Bailey, Gerald D.; Ross, Tweed W.
Learning & Leading with Technology, v32 n1 p6-9, 11 Sep 2004
Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology
Volume 9, Issue 1, Fall 2005. Education and Citizenship in the Digital Age
Isman, A., & Canan Gungoren, O. (2014). Digital Citizenship. Turkish Online Journal Of Educational Technology – TOJET, 13(1), 73-77. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1018088
PR, N. (2014, April 3). MyFunCity is a revolution in digital citizenship. PR Newswire US. http://login.libproxy.stcloudstate.edu/login?qurl=http%3a%2f%2fsearch.ebscohost.com%2flogin.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26db%3dkeh%26AN%3d201404031549PR.NEWS.USPR.BR98059%26site%3dehost-live%26scope%3dsite
Couldry, N., Stephansen, H., Fotopoulou, A., MacDonald, R., Clark, W., & Dickens, L. (2014). Digital citizenship? Narrative exchange and the changing terms of civic culture. Citizenship Studies, 18(6/7), 615-629. doi:10.1080/13621025.2013.865903
http://login.libproxy.stcloudstate.edu/login?qurl=http%3a%2f%2fsearch.ebscohost.com%2flogin.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26db%3dkeh%26AN%3d98053478%26site%3dehost-live%26scope%3dsite (please ask for copy of the article)
College students love snapchat!
It’s personal, creative, quick, fun, and free.
“According to research by Sumpto…as much as 77 percent of college students use Snapchat every day.
37 percent of the study respondents cited “creativity” as their main use of the app. “Keeping in touch” and “easier than texting” were reasons for 27 percent and 23 percent, respectively.”
Reasons young adults ages 18-26 use snapchat:
- “I like sharing weird things I see when I’m out…When you get ugly selfies from someone, that’s how you know you’re good friends.”
- “I only ever use it for funny pictures or to show what I’m doing to my friends, but I have people that use it as a replacement for texting.”
- “Snapchat is the ultimate social media tool — users want to share their lives to anyone they choose to elicit possible feedback, but without the necessity of it being stored…Snapchat provides an easier answer to Facebook’s ‘What are you doing right now?’ I use it personally to stay in touch with friends and show people what I’m doing.”
Colleges are also starting to get on the bandwagon — Snapchat launched Our Campus Story in October 2014 to four schools.
How Colleges are using snapchat:
- Orientation: (Tennessee Wesleyan College) “Where’s Wesley” scavenger hunt
- Updates: (Tennessee Wesleyan College) Sharing updates about events and activities on campus
- Recruiting: (Eastern Washington University and the University of Kansas) communicating with young athletes interested in joining their teams
More IMS blog entries on Snapchat and its use in education:
Peer-reviewed and popular literature:
Robbins, S. P., & Singer, J. B. (2014). From the editor—The medium is the message: Integrating social media and social work education. Journal Of Social Work Education, 50(3), 387-390.
Waxman, O. B. (2014). Snapchat Grows Up: How College Officials Are Using the App. Time.Com, 1.
JO, M. (2014, March 22). Teacher sees value in online connection. Dominion Post, The. p. A2.
Couros, G. (n.d.). Snapchat and Education. Retrieved from http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/4866
Wiederman, K. (2014, May 2). Snapchat: The Newest Higher Ed Communication Tool | Merge. Retrieved from http://www.mergeagency.com/digital-marketing/snapchat-newest-higher-ed-communication-tool
Privacy and security:
Stretton, T., & Aaron, L. (2015). Feature: The dangers in our trail of digital breadcrumbs. Computer Fraud & Security, 201513-15. doi:10.1016/S1361-3723(15)70006-0
YOUNG, D. (2014). NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON’T… OR DO YOU?: SNAPCHAT’S DECEPTIVE PROMOTION OF VANISHING MESSAGES VIOLATES FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION REGULATIONS. Journal Of Information Technology & Privacy Law, 30(4), 827.
Ekman, U. (2015). Complexity of the ephemeral – snap video chats. Empedocles: European Journal For The Philosophy Of Communication, 5(1/2), 97-101. doi:10.1386/ejpc.5.1-2.97_1
Flandez, R., & Wallace, N. (2014). Nonprofits Must Guard Against Imposters. Chronicle Of Philanthropy, (09),
O’Neil, M. (2014). Oh, Snap! A Q&A With DoSomething.org’s Snapchat Strategists. Chronicle Of Philanthropy, (01),
MESSITT, M. (2014). Cyberbullying Happens in Code. Break It. Education Digest, 79(9), 51.