Ever wondered what your teenager is really doing on their cell phone? You think they are texting and chatting with friends … or are they? Are you aware of other apps besides WhatsApp?
My son is always always always on his cell phone. It sleeps on the pillow next to him. It goes to the bathroom with him. It feeds the dog with him. In other words, he is never ever without it.
So what’s the fascination about this little device (well his is not that little but still …)? Why are teens fixated literally to their cell phones? Well here’s what I learnt recently about apps from an article entitled: Parenting, Media, and Everything In Between. There are loads and loads of apps – other than Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as you can see from the image below (many of them I had never even heard of) but what was great about the article was that it didn’t only offer a description of the app, it outlined what we as parents should be aware of as well.
For example, the Skout app (I’m assuming that’s a cool new way of spelling ‘scout’??) is described as:
“Skout is a flirting app that allows users to sign up as teens or adults. They’re then placed in the appropriate peer group, where they can post to a feed, comment on others’ posts, add pictures, and chat. They’ll get notifications when other users near their geographic area join, and they can search other areas by cashing in points. They receive notifications when someone “checks” them out but must pay points to see who it is.”
And what about Yik Yak? For sure, this was another new one to me but I went “yikes!” after seeing that this particular one had actually been banned in schools. Here’s the scoop:
“Yik Yak is a free social-networking app that lets users post brief, Twitter-like comments to the 500 geographically nearest Yik Yak users. Kids can find out opinions, secrets, rumors, and more. Plus, they’ll get the bonus thrill of knowing all these have come from a 1.5-mile radius (maybe even from the kids at the desks in front of them!).
What parents need to know:
- It reveals your location. By default, your exact location is shown unless you toggle location-sharing off. Each time you open the app, GPS updates your location.
- It’s a mixed bag of trouble. This app has it all: cyberbullying, explicit sexual content, unintended location-sharing, and exposure to explicit information about drugs and alcohol.
- Some schools have banned access. Some teens have used the app to threaten others, causing school lockdowns and more. Its gossipy and sometimes cruel nature can be toxic to a high school environment, so administrators are cracking down.”
My personal take
Got teenagers? Then click here on the article’s title Parenting, Media, and Everything In Between to read more and then be aware. There’s also a second article you can check out: Snapchat and 7 More Iffy Messaging Apps Teens Love (although someone commented the apps noted in this one were rather old). Now if only I could find my cellphone and keep it on me 24/7 … maybe then I’d better understand life as a teenager i n today’s hyper-interactive world.
Food for thought and comment sharing
- Are you a parent of a teenager?
- Does he or she always have their cellphone attached to their body every single moment?
- Are you aware of their social media activities?
Tell us; leave a comment or two … because we’re all in this thing known as life together.