What parents need to know when kids are on social media

Story highlights

  • Parents can often disable certain features of apps so they're no longer a problem
  • Most apps have a system for reporting abuse or violations of the terms of use -- but not all do

It can be hard to keep up with the latest apps that kids are using. Just when you've figured out how to talk to your kids about Facebook, they've moved on to Instagram or Snapchat. But here's the deal: Even when new apps come along, adding new features such as the ability to disappear or track your location, they're often not that different from other apps. And if you know what to look for, you can help your kid avoid some common social media pitfalls such as drama, cyberbullying, and oversharing.

Does a red flag mean your kid shouldn't use a particular app? Not at all. Most kids use social media apps safely -- and kids don't always use every feature of every app. Also, you can often disable certain features so they're no longer a problem. Finally, talking about using social media safely, responsibly, and respectfully is the best way to help your kid identify and avoid red flags. Here are the most common social media red flags, the apps they're found in, and tips for dealing with them.