Parental Advisory: Apps to watch out for

Having the opportunity to work with JH students, I see and hear about the social networks apps they utilize. It is hard work to keep up with the latest apps and how these apps function.

Common Sense Media has a fabulous blog post on some of the apps parents and teachers should watch out for. (On a side note, I use many of the Digital Citizenship lesson plans Common Sense Media has created. I find these plans to be very effective for teaching Digital Citizenship whether you have access to technology or not. Common Sense Media also has many other resources for teachers and parents. Check them out at commonsensemedia.org)

Of the apps listed in the blog post, the app I see the most is Snapchat. I first found about this app when I told a student to stop texting and put away her phone. She said, “I’m not texting, I’m Snapchatting.” My response was, “Texting, Snapchatting, same thing. Put it away!” At first I thought this was just one of those texting apps that allowed students to text from their iPods. After investigation I found the idea of being able to send fun pictures and then have them deleted sounds great, but it opens up a can of worms.

Here is more information curtesy of Common Sense Media.

Snapchat: A messaging app that lets users put a time limit on the pictures and videos they send before they disappear.

Why it’s popular:¬†Snapchat’s creators intended the app’s fleeting images to be a way for teens to share fun, light moments without the risk of having them go public. And that’s what most teens use it for: sending goofy or embarrassing photos to one another. Teens may pay more attention to Snapchats, knowing they’ll disappear in a matter of seconds.

What parents need to know:

  • Many schools have yet to block it, which is one reason¬†why teens like it so much.
  • It’s a myth that Snapchats go away forever. Data is data: Whenever anything is sent online, it never truly goes away. (For example, the person on the receiving end can take a screenshot of the image before it disappears.) Snapchats can even be recovered.
  • It can make sexting seem OK. The seemingly risk-free messaging might encourage users to share pictures containing inappropriate content.

Please take the time to read the entire article and keep and eye on your student/child. (The photo at the top of this post was taken from the blog post.)