House Party is the latest app you’ll want to have on your radar. House Party is a video chat app, developed by the team who built and then shut down live streaming app Meerkat . You can chat with up to 7 other friends at a time within the app. While Live streaming apps let you transmit to the masses, House Party is different in that these are closed conversations. Well, sort of – and that is where you might want to be aware of how House Party works before you determine if it’s a good choice for your tween or teen.
Here’s a tip for parents who are worried about kids using up all their data. You can restrict apps so they’ll only function when using a WiFi connection. This method is also useful if you use a parental control solution at home that only works when using your WiFi – make sure the kiddos can’t bypass by switching to 3G on their phones. I’m not sure why I haven’t thought of this before! Maybe others have and you already know – but if not here’s how you do it.
Last year I mentioned Periscope, Meerkat, and YouNow as three apps that parents should be familiar with. At the time, Meerkat (now defunct) and Periscope were fairly new. People using the apps at that time were the early adopters. But now, live streaming has gone mainstream, especially now that Facebook is in on the action with Facebook Live. And, live streaming is attracting a younger audience due to live.ly, from the makers of popular app musical.ly. It’s important for parents to be aware of these apps and services due to the risks involved with live streaming.
Recently I had an interesting discussion on my personal Facebook page. I had shared a picture with my friends – the Mail icon on my phone which showed I now had over 1,000 unread messages.
This started the most spirited discussion I’d had on Facebook for a while. For some friends, seeing that red alert with a large number throws them into a pit of despair – the unread email signifies incompletion and causes stress. Some of us just don’t like to see a visible indication that something is unfinished.
Here are some tips for those who stress out when that red indicator lights up with a growing number of unread messages day after day.
NetSanity has been on my list of parental control products to review for quite some time. It has many of the tools that parents are looking for in their “digital parenting toolbox” to help them with managing screen time and keeping young eyes away from inappropriate content.
With NetSanity you can set a device bedtime, block content by category, enforce safe searching, restrict features such as the camera or taking screenshots, and block specific apps such as Snapchat or Instagram. I was really interested in seeing how that last feature works, because it is fairly unique. Not many parental control services let you block a specific app or game.
Here’s how things went with NetSanity.
When I first heard about the social sharing site Pinterest back in 2012, I couldn’t figure out the name. I kept reading it as Pine-Rest. But then I took a closer look and split it up this way: “pin”-“interest”. Oh, PINterest. As in a place to “pin” (or share) your interests.
When Pinterest first started, all your pins and boards were public and available to anyone viewing Pinterest. I remember a friend who at first thought Pinterest was pretty cool and saved some ideas for furniture and clothing to a few boards. But once she realized that other people – including her Facebook friends – could see what she had saved, she lost interest. If you tweak a few settings, it is possible to maintain some sense of privacy and anonymity while using Pinterest. Here’s how.
In case you missed the memo, or didn’t hear the grumblings or sighs of indignation from a nearby teen, I’m here to let you know that Instagram has added a new feature called “Stories”. This new Instagram feature allows you to share photos and videos within Instagram that disappear after 24 hours. Sound familiar? Instagram Stories are basically a copycat of a Snapchat feature called – you guessed it – Stories. Here are the basics of Instagram Stories, along with some privacy tips.
The other day I came across an article in the New York Times, “What’s the Right Age for a Child to Get a Smartphone?” While reading it I thought about one of my first articles here on Be Web Smart, and thought it might be a good idea to revisit the question.
I first wrote this post back 2011. At the time, I had a 5th grader, and I thought she’d probably get a cell phone in 7th or 8th grade. Now she’s almost 16. She got her first basic cell phone (not a smartphone, just calling and texting) in 6th grade. We gave her a smartphone after 8th grade graduation (one of the last in her class, or so she told us at the time!)
So what has changed in the last four years?
Yeah, I did it. I downloaded Pokémon Go. I’m not much of a gamer, and I usually don’t jump on bandwagons. When a new app or technology is hyped up to the extent that Pokémon Go has been, I tend to rebel and stay away until the fervor has died down. Usually I can wait a while to see if an app is going to take off before installing and testing it out. But, alas, I went ahead and downloaded Pokémon Go about a week after its release – after dead bodies had been discovered by people playing the game, after police stations were putting out warnings, after two men fell from a cliff playing the game, after a man crashed his car playing the game, and after a man was lured into a robbery at gun-point while – you guessed it – playing the game.
If you do a Google search right now for Pokémon Go, you’ll see over 36,100,000 results. So there’s a lot of information out there already about this app. This is not a comprehensive tutorial. (I’d have to get much better – I’m pretty dismal, I’ve only caught 2 little monsters so far!) But I wanted to highlight a few key facts that parents will want to keep in mind when evaluating whether their kids should be playing Pokémon Go.