Saturday 21 October 2017

The complete parents' guide to social networking and gaming apps

Many parents who are online restrict themselves to Facebook or Twitter and are often unaware of the services favoured by kids and teens.
Many parents who are online restrict themselves to Facebook or Twitter and are often unaware of the services favoured by kids and teens.
Yik Yak app
Kik app
Photo: depositphotos
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

With fewer than one-in-five Irish parents monitoring their children’s social media use, do mothers and fathers know what their children are up to online?

If new figures from DCU’s National Anti-Bullying Centre are anything to go by, the answer is no.

Many parents who are online restrict themselves to Facebook or Twitter and are often unaware of the services favoured by kids and teens.

Here’s a quick guide to the social networks and messaging services your child is likely to use.

 

Snapchat

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Snapchat

What it does

It’s a phenomenally popular phone messaging service that also lets you post short videos and photos for followers to see. Messages auto-delete after between three and 10 seconds while posted videos and photos last for 24 hours.

 

Why kids love it

None of their parents is on it; lack of online record leads to spontaneity.

 

The worst that can happen

It’s fairly easy for strangers to message you.

 

Minecraft

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Minecraft

What it does

Hugely popular downloadable game that lets kids construct mini-universes. Probably the most parent-approved app on the market.

 

Why kids love it

Lets them show off creativity, endless variations on building houses, castles, towns and other virtual environments.

 

The worst that can happen

Some online tutorial videos are inappropriate for younger children.

 

Kik

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Kik app

What it does

Messaging app that lets people send photos, videos and text messages.

 

Why kids love it

It’s ‘bolder’ than other messaging apps as it is easier to sign up to anonymously.

 

The worst that can happen

Kik has become synonymous with “sexting”, including the sending of nude photos. It is one of the most parentally-concerning messaging apps for children.

 

Yik Yak

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Yik Yak app

What it does

A social networking and messaging app based on your geographical location, it’s particularly popular with college students.

 

Why kids love it

It gives them a look at what older teenagers get up to.

 

The worst that can happen

Frequent references to sex and other adult-themed topics.

 

Whatsapp

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Social Media

What it does

World’s most popular online messaging service that lets you send photos, texts and videos. Has ability to let you form “groups” for group texting and banter. It is regularly used by all sections of society.

 

Why kids love it

Easy to sign up to and understand. For teens, almost everyone has a Whatsapp account.

 

The worst that can happen

Bullying through group sharing of unflattering photos or snide commentary.

 

Instagram

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Photo: depositphotos

What it does

World’s most popular dedicated photo-sharing service for phones.

 

Why kids love it

Lets you easily share photos among friends, not complicated by long text updates or links to web pages like its parent company,

Facebook.

 

The worst that can happen

Inappropriate sharing of images; also, issues of self-esteem related to body image, especially among teenage girls.

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