Gone are the days of Facebook as a one-stop shop for all. While it may seem more complicated to post photos on Instagram, share casual moments on Snapchat, text on WhatsApp, and check your Twitter feed throughout the day,. You don't need to know the ins and outs of all the apps, sites, and that are hot right now (and frankly, if you did, they wouldn't be trendy anymore). But knowing the basics -- what they are, why they're popular, and -- can make the difference between a positive and a negative experience for your kid. Below, we've laid out some of the most popular types of apps and websites for teens: texting, microblogging, live-streaming, self-destructing/secret, and chatting/meeting/. The more you know about each, the better you'll be able to communicate with your teen about safe choices. The bottom line for most of these tools?
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If teens are using them respectfully, appropriately, and with a little parental guidance, they're mostly fine. So take inventory of your kids' apps and review the best practices. Is an app that doesn't charge fees or have limits for direct and group messages. Users also can send photos, videos, and calendar links. Is an app that lets kids text for free.
It's fast and has no message limits, character limits, or fees if you only use the basic features. Because it's an app, the texts won't show up on your kid's phone's messaging service, and you're not charged for them (beyond standard data rates). Lets users send text messages, audio messages, videos, and photos to one or many people with no message limits or fees. Lets users snap, edit, and share photos and 65-second videos, either publicly or within a private network of followers. It unites the most popular features of social media sites:
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sharing, seeing, and commenting on photos. It also lets you apply fun filters and effects to your photos, making them look high-quality and artistic. Musers, as devoted users are called, can build up a following among friends or share posts publicly. Users create and follow short blogs, or tumblogs, that can be seen by anyone online (if they're made public). Many teens have tumblogs for personal use:
sharing photos, videos, musings, and things they find funny with their friends. Is a microblogging tool that allows users to post brief, 695-character messages -- called tweets -- and follow other users' activities. It's not only for adults teens like using it to share tidbits and keep up with news and celebrities. Is a way for groups of teens to connect via live video. Two to eight people can be in a chat together at the same time.
If someone who's not a direct friend joins a chat, teens get an alert in case they want to leave the chat. You can also lock a chat so no one else can join. Poses all the same risks that all live-streaming services do, so poor choices, oversharing, and chatting with strangers can be part of the package. Allows kids to watch others and broadcast themselves live, earn currency from fans, and interact live with users without any control over who views their streams. is an app that lets kids stream and watch live broadcasts.
As they watch, they can comment or buy gold bars to give to other users. Ultimately, the goal is to get lots of viewers, start trending, and grow your fan base.