I’ve been hearing a lot about OurPact and thought I’d give it a try to see how it compared with other parental control tools. OurPact is a free (yay!) service for setting time based restrictions on iOS and Android devices. Parents can install it on a child’s device, and control the settings from their device or from a web site to set device bedtimes, schedules, and block or grant access to apps at a moment’s notice.
I recently finished reading “American Girls: Social media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers” by Nancy Jo Sales. Sales, a journalist and mother of a teenage girl herself, spent over two years traveling the country to speak with over 200 girls ages thirteen to nineteen about their lives. And a big portion of teenage girls’ lives right now includes social media. Some might say their lives are lived ON social media. The book offers an insight into their lives and minds, and how social media is having an impact on their self-esteem, confidence, mental health, and relationships.
While it did take me a while to get through the book, I am glad I read it.
You may be wondering, what the heck is a “finsta”? No, it’s not the latest new app. Finsta refers to a fake Instagram account. Just add “F” to “Instagram” for “Finstagram” and shorten that to “Finsta”.
A finsta is a second Instagram account created for sharing with a smaller circle of followers. A finsta is usually a private Instagram account. While a teen’s primary account might also be private, a finsta is intended to be viewed by close friends only. Only your BFF’s, your baes. (I can imagine my teen daughter cringing as she reads this – if she reads this!)
PocketGuardian is a parental control service for Apple devices such as iPhones, and Android smartphones. PocketGuardian is different from some other solutions. It analyzes your child’s texts and social media posts and only alerts you when it detects a potential problem, such as cyberbullying or sexting. This way, you can address issues without feeling like you are prying completely into your child’s online life. For those who want the least intrusive monitoring method, Pocket Guardian is a good solution. PocketGuardian is also one of the only services that can monitor Snapchat.
musical.ly is an app for creating and sharing short videos. First introduced in 2014, musical.ly has become popular with the tween and teen set in their never-ending pursuit of popularity and fame, social likes and validation. Plus, it’s fun. While you can have a private account, most kids don’t. Here’s what parents should know about musical.ly.
I spent the last month or so using Circle by Disney, a parental control device used to manage internet activity on all devices in your home. Yes, all devices. Well, I should say all internet-connected devices. Which is a lot of them – computers, laptops, phones, tablets, gaming systems – if it connects to the internet, Circle can help you manage it.
I found Circle to be simple to install, easy to use, and would recommend it to any family seeking a little bit of sanity in a multi-device multi-user household. Sure, there are some things that Circle can’t do, and I’ll talk about that. But there is so much that Circle CAN do.
Have you heard of the After School app? It is like Yik-Yak for high school. Both apps are geared towards students at a school to communicate with each other anonymously. While Yik-Yak is targeted to college students, After School is targeted to high school students. After School was in the news last year due to concerns and incidents of bullying. Unfortunately anonymous apps make it far too easy for this type of behavior to occur.
I wanted to get a sense of what this app is like and how it is being used, so I downloaded the app. Here’s what I found.
Here’s the scenario – you’re sitting in the bleachers at your daughter’s basketball game. Her younger sister is sitting next to you and says “Mommy, I’m bored. Can I play a game on your phone?” You hand over your iPhone and the little one starts happily playing Angry Birds. You go back to watching the game. Next thing you know, she’s closed out of Angry Birds and all your apps are rearranged. Argh! Here’s how to use Guided Access in iOS to lock down a device to one app.
Happy New Year! I hope you’ve all had a great start to 2016. I wanted to start off the year with this list of technology mistakes I’ve made. Yes, even those of us with a lot of technical know-how make mistakes. The important thing about mistakes is how we overcome them. From e-mail to Instagram to parental controls, these have all been learning opportunities and I figured I’d share them with you. Maybe I can help prevent someone from making the same mistakes I have and in turn make your life a little bit easier.
Have you seen links to a website called “vsco.co” in your kid’s Instagram profile or that of their friends? If not you might soon and you’ll be like me, wondering, what the heck is VSCO? As is my nature, I immediately clicked the links, visited the website and downloaded VSCO to see what this photo app is all about. There is limited social interaction here, and little in the way of privacy.