Smartphones have completely changed the way we operate in our day-to-day lives. We now have the capacity to communicate on a scale that’s never been possible before, with everything from regular phone calls up to video chat. While this technology is technically available to everyone, teenagers are the ones who use it more than almost anyone else. And because there are more apps than ever before that allow teens to connect with the world at large, it’s now easier for teens to get embroiled in drama, and worse, than at any other time in history.
There are a lot of apps out there responsible for causing drama, particularly with younger users. While Facebook is responsible for its share, newer apps like Ask.FM, YikYak, AfterSchool, and others are stealing the trouble-causing spotlight.
So what’s wrong with these apps? Are they set up to cause drama, gaining their popularity from the spectacle of watching the keyboard wars between teens? Not exactly. You see, while these apps are made for members to communicate with each other, the Internet offers the opportunity for users to be the invisible man. Even if users aren’t posting anonymously, though, people are a lot more likely to let fly with awful things if it’s done virtually, rather than if it’s done in-person.
In the old days, people thought of cyberspace as some imaginary world. It was like a video game, where nothing that happened really mattered. However, with so much of our lives happening in this virtual space, that kind of attitude isn’t one that can be maintained. Not when students can get their degrees, professionals can work, and couples can meet their future partners online. In today’s modern age, the Internet isn’t a separate world from the “real” one we live in; it’s just another method of expressing, meeting, and living.
Which is why apps like the ones mentioned are double-edged swords. Because they allow everyone, but especially teens, to keep in touch with the rest of the world. They let people communicate, make friends, and find peer groups to share their likes and interests with. On the other hand, though, these sites expose teens to negative influences. In extreme situations it could lead to trolling, cyber-bullying, and even stalking.
Keep Lines of Communication Open
It would make any parent nervous, exposing their teens to a potentially negative environment like that. However, while the first urge is to ban your tweens and teenagers from downloading apps like this, it’s important to remember that they have positive aspects as well. It’s more important to remember that, sooner or later, teens are going to have to make their own decisions when becoming adults.
That’s why it’s a good idea to sometimes allow access with various apps, but to keep an open and ongoing conversation on the subject.
If you do allow your tweens or teens to use a particular app, I always recommend that parents explore it first because there are many inappropriate apps out there. Setting boundaries with the types of apps that your children of all ages are exposed to is easier when you use a trustworthy parental control software. Netsanity offers a suite of services “ their Appblocker, where certain social media and other apps are profiled and parents can one-click block them, making apps that you may find inappropriate such as Grindr, Down, or Hot or Not, and many others a one-click solution. They have a free trial, so it’s worth checking out if your teen has a mobile device.
Again, honest ongoing conversations about staying safe and being kind online will do more to keep your tweens and teen safe and drama free more than any other action that you can take!
Netsanity was made by parents for parents. With easy to use software designed to give control and sanity back to parents, Netsanity enables a safer and healthier mobile experience for kids. See for yourself with a free trial!
Netsanity is available for both Apple and Android devices.