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.
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.
Are your kids using these apps?
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.
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.