- These apps tap into teens' natural desire to connect, relate and belong
- There are some concerns, such as chasing fame, oversharing and even criminal behavior
Tweens and teens have always craved time with their friends. But with a smartphone in hand, their communication keeps changing. Instead of talking, they text. Instead of texting, they send an emoji. And now, with apps designed for social video-chatting and live video-streaming, kids don't have to settle for sending static images and words. They can watch, create, and share video -- preferably live video. Not only is it authentic and spontaneous, but it's also the closest thing to hanging out in person.
Social Video-Chatting Apps
- Though for many parents, Snapchat feels like the most impenetrable app out there because there's no feed to check and messages aren't stored, it's actually somewhat contained.
- Instead of broadcasting to random strangers, teens can use the video feature with real friends or -- if they've been too friendly in sharing their handles -- ignore calls from those they don't know.
- Encourage kids to use Snapchat's built-in privacy settings.
- The biggest risks with an app like this are not things like predators or mature content. Instead, it's kids being constantly connected and trying to multitask while chatting.
- There's also a risk of kids using it at odd hours, such as when they should be sleeping.
- Set limits around device use in general so kids know when and where it's OK to use devices.
- There's no mystery why teens love AirTime, since sharing music and funny videos in real time is really fun.
- To keep out random people, parents might want to go through the settings on each room kids create so they're aware of who's able to access each one.
- As with all the other apps, multitasking and sharing content can get kids into trouble, and mature content is only a click away, so make sure your kid knows how to use this app safely and responsibly.
- As with all live-streaming apps, privacy and safety are major concerns.
- Since kids are often motivated to broadcast themselves to get approval, they may share personal information when asked or do things they wouldn't otherwise.
- In terms of viewing, live streams are extremely difficult to moderate and control, so upsetting, racy, or otherwise iffy content can easily come through.
- Talk with your kids and set expectations around creating and watching. Also, go through your kid's settings with them and make sure only friends have access.
- As with other live broadcasts with no delay, the main concerns are what kids might see or what they might do during a stream.
- Though many videos are related to politics or celebrity promos, criminal activity and violence do occasionally show up.
- Before they jump in, discuss the possibility that kids could see disturbing videos.
- Other than what a kid might see, the biggest risk here is oversharing.
- Since users are often broadcasting from their homes -- and even bedrooms -- they're comfortable in their own spaces, staring into a tiny camera. When viewers ask for a Snapchat handle or phone number, kids often oblige without knowing who's doing the asking.
- Talk about what not to do or share, even if someone asks.
- Take a spin through some videos to see what people are streaming, even if it gives you the creeps.
- Though all the risks that exist with live video still apply here, YouNow seems to have a bit more oversight and follow-through with noncompliant users.
- Kids still share personal information, and they're still broadcasting from personal spaces.
- It's important for parents to talk to kids about spending real money, since it's possible for them to shell out a lot of real cash.
- If your kid is itching to get famous, discuss the risks and pressure that come along with that ride.
- Though the risks and concerns with this app are very much the same as those with other live-streaming tools, the other potential pitfall is that if a user logs in with a Facebook account, the Facebook profile name will appear, which is often someone's full name.
- If your kid is going to use Hype, have them create a unique login name instead of using an existing account.
- Live.me has a racier feel out of the gate.
- The emphasis on getting followers and fame is even embedded in the title, which may propel people into doing more outrageous things.
- Overall, it's not the best choice for kids. Steer your kid toward a safer app, such as YouNow.