Do you know what is on your child’s personal technology device?
I am constantly baffled by the continuing changes in technology. Technology advances are so amazing and in so many ways, make our lives easier. However, as educators and parents, we really have to strive to stay ahead of our kids. I wanted to take an opportunity to share with you about a few apps and websites that have been popping onto our radar lately so you may investigate if your child is using this.
Snapchat –Site where students post photos, comments and videos. Students think they are deleted in 10 seconds or less, but they aren’t necessarily. See this review of Snapchat on CommonSenseMedia.org: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/app-reviews/snapchat
Instagram - Site to post instant pictures and like/comment on posts; Accounts are supposed to be for 13 yr olds and up. Direct messaging is available and unless you control privacy controls, anyone can access and see their posts/pictures.
iFunny –This site/app is all about jokes. However, there is a great deal of inappropriate content, especially for minors. Users are supposed to be 17 or older. PLEASE check this out!
Vine –This is a site to share video clips. The recommended age level is 15. According to CommonSenseMedia.org, “With the most basic creative searching, kids can find nudity, sex, drug use, offensive language, and more.” Please read more of this review at: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/app-reviews/vine
Vimeo – This is another video sharing site. Students should be 16 to use it. Outright pornography is banned, but students may stumble upon partial nudity, questionable language and themes through basic searches.
Twitter – Recommended for those 13 and up, this site is for 140 character “tweets” or posts to share thoughts, reactions, comments, etc. Although many consider this a harmless site, students need to understand they are contributing to their “digital profile” with every post. If students are going to have a Twitter account, please make them be private in their security settings and only add followers that they know are safe.
Tumblr- According to CommonSenseMedia.org, “Pornographic images and video, depictions of violence and drug use, and offensive language are easy to find.” Recommended for students 16 and older, it is very difficult to protect your privacy on this site.
Flickr- This is a site where students may share photos and videos and store them online. If you do not set your privacy setting to private, anyone may view what is posted on your profile. There are some guidelines for nudity, but they are not necessarily strictly enforced. The recommended age is 15-16 or older.
Students also have apps that enable them to text with others but not show up in the text message icon on devices. If you go to appcrawlr.com and search for apps that hide text messages, several will pop up like: I heart Pink, an app that looks like a harmless icon, but hides messages. Other apps provide alternate backgrounds and wallpapers for the device and can be slid to reveal other apps students want to keep hidden.
We all want to work together to provide a safe, educational, spiritually uplifting environment for our students, both on campus and off campus! We want you to know that we try to stay informed about technology so that we can educate students about the pitfalls and responsibilities associated with technology. If you have concerns or would like more information regarding technology usage, our firewall and filtering, etc. please let me know!
Carrie Beth Tigges, Principal