A friend contacted me looking for some advice for keeping track of her daughter’s cell phone activity. Her teen is very active on her phone (not a big surprise!), and like many parents she had a few concerns and wondered what kinds of tools might be out there. I pulled a list together based on services I have either reviewed or bookmarked to review at a later date. I realized that Be Web Smart is lacking a list of resources for parents who want to monitor mobile activity. So here you go!
Here are three apps all parents should have on their radar. Meerkat, Periscope and YouNow are apps used to live-stream video from your phone. More than just recording videos and sending them, with these apps you hit “record” and people can watch you – live. Sound a little scary? A little voyeuristic? A little narcissistic? I thought so too! I downloaded all three to see what they were all about and yes, there are many kids and teens broadcasting their lives.
Thank you to all who responded to my recent reader survey. The feedback I received helped with my upcoming website redesign. I’ve been working on the new website for nearly a month and it is almost ready! I plan to launch it over the weekend. Here’s a preview along with some of the findings from the survey.
One of the biggest challenges parents face is how to manage their children’s online access and device use. Before the rapid adoption of mobile devices it was easier – install parental controls on the family computer and you’re done. While that is still recommended, it will not help when a child’s primary computer use is on their phone or tablet. And when each child has his or her own device it is even more complicated. Luckily there are a number of parental control tools available to help enforce a healthy “tech” balance. Here’s a review of Copilot Family, a parental control tool for smartphones and tablets.
Snapchat has added a new feature called Discover, which delivers curated content from the likes of CNN, ESPN, People, and Cosmopolitan. Between Discover and the previously added Stories, Snapchat is moving beyond its origins as a disappearing messaging app. Snapchat Discover includes some questionable content for the young teen audience.
Are your kids using these apps?
OoVoo is a video chat and messaging app, and is available for iPhone/iPod/iPads and Androids. You can also use OoVoo on a computer (PC or MAC). With OoVoo you can video chat with up to 12 people at a time; you can see four people at once on screen during these video chats. I think this is the feature that kids really like. While kids can use FaceTime on their iPods and iPads, FaceTime only allows for a two-way call. OoVoo will let them have a little video chat party.
Vine is a video creation app where all the videos are 6 seconds or less. The videos or “vines” as they are called play in an endless loop. Think Instagram, but with short videos rather than photos. From what I’ve seen, most of the “vines” being created are silly, stupid, inane, or insane. Some videos are cool and creative but there is far more inappropriate content to be found.