With all the social media apps kids are using these days to chat and share photos and videos it’s hard to keep up with what each of them is used for - and more importantly what dangers each of them pose.
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Most social media apps are developed with good intentions and an aim to connect individuals and groups in a fun, creative and exciting way however these good intentions are often misused by online predators. Social media also takes up a significant amount of time and focus amongst young people who view the amount of likes and followers they get as tantamount to their self worth.
Depending upon your child’s age, some social media apps can be safely used with a certain degree of trust that they will practise responsible social media behaviours. Others, however, are purely dangerous for use by teens or tweens, as the fun or entertaining purpose the app was intended for has been subverted by a negative subculture. For example, Instagram which was developed as an app for sharing personal photographs with a selected audience of approved followers, can have nasty undertones of vanity, bullying and adult content. Whilst Snapchat is frequently used for sharing ‘sexting’ pictures between teens, and Live.ly is used by kids to broadcast themselves live to a world of strangers.
Unfortunately most parents aren’t in a position to completely block their child from using social media, as many tech savvy (read: sneaky) children simply create multiple accounts - one for their parents to see and one for everyone else. Or, they intentionally filter their account’s content to different groups of followers.
The good news is, Family Zone keeps ahead of social media trends and risks - so that you don’t have to. Family Zone provides the most comprehensive parental controls over social media available, with the capability to restrict downloading and limit use of popular social media apps - either at a category or specific apps level. You may allow your 15yo to access Instagram, but not Snapchat; or to have Facebook, but not Kik. As the parent, you get to decide with them.
One of the great features of Family Zone is it’s fully customisable - it’s not “one size fits all” for the whole family, you can tailor age appropriate settings by child. You can block your 10yo from having social media access, whilst allowing your 16yo to use apps you approve of. It even lets you schedule restriction levels by times of day - so you can switch off social media during school and study times, but allow it during relaxation time. The difference with this level of parental control is that rather than be forced to block social media as an entire category, you can put the trust back into your kids by allowing access to the less harmful apps during appropriate times.
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If BYOD and 1:1 device policies are in place - as they are in nearly every school across Australia - the answer is most likely ‘yes.’