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.
Are your kids using these apps?
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.
Flinch is an app by the makers of OoVoo. The premise of this app sounds fun – it’s basically the digital version of a staring contest. The first person who smiles, loses the game. While the technology behind the app is impressive, parents should know that kids using Flinch can stare down with complete strangers.