May 1, 2014

Yik Yak

Yik Yak seems to be the new trendy app among our kids. This is an app that uses your phone's location services to connect you with other people in your area who are using the app.

With this app, users can post anonymous comments or questions. To put it simply this app is vile. The comments are crude and explicit. It's being used to bully and demean people.

Read what Common Sense Media says about Yik Yak -- Click Here

Watch what CBS 19 had to say about Yik Yak -- Click Here


Ask.fm is a social networking site where users post random questions. The site can be accessed via the web or its app. Because it's a social networking app, it is not allowed on student iPads.

The site has attracted a great deal of negative press lately when it was cited as a contributing factor in the suicides of several teenagers. A Google news search for Ask.fm, will give you far too many news articles of teenagers who committed suicide after being cyberbullied on Ask.fm.

The takeaway here is to talk to your son or daughter. Do they have an Ask.fm account? If they do, look at it. Talk about it. My warnming to parents is always to consider who you are allowing into your child's life. Ask.fm gives the world to unfiltered access to your child. That should set off warning bells for you.


Vine is a relatively new app that hit social media in January 2013. In its simplest form, Vine is an app that allows the user to create a 6 second video and share that video using social media sites like Twitter. In fact, Twitter liked it so much that it purchased Vine. In April 2013, Vine became the number one free app in the Apple Store.

Shortly after Vine was introduced, pornographers found it and began using it for their purposes. January 2013, CNET reported that pornographic videos were showing up on Vine. They also noted that Vine's terms of service, "do not expressly forbid sexually explicit content."

When first introduced, Vine had a 12+ rating from Apple. However, in February, after many users reported finding pornographic videos on Vine, Apple raised the rating to 17+. Read news article here.

This should remind you of your need to set restrictions on your son or daughter's iDevice so that he/she is not allowed to install apps with a 17+ rating.

Instagram in the News

Instagram found itself all over the news yesterday when they announced a change to their Terms and Conditions. To its user's surprise, Instagram's new Terms and Conditions stated that, "a business or other entity may pay us (Instagram) to display your username, likeness, photos . . . in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you." Today, they've backed away from this decision.

Regardless of Instagram's Terms and Conditions, if your child is using Instagram, please check their privacy settings. The safest route to take is to make their profile private. Next, check to see how many followers they have. You might be surprised to find that your son or daughter has over 1,000 followers. The only to get rid of unwanted followers is to block the follower. I've provided instructions for blocking followers below.

Here are 2 resources for you if you are interested in learning more about how to protect your child on Instagram.

Kids and Instagram

Block a Follower

Deleted Snapchats Are Not Deleted

In several of our parent meetings we discussed Snapchat. It's the app that allows the user to share pictures. It's like texting with pictures instead of words. The selling point for Snapchat is that the pictures disappear after a short period of time.

The problem with this is that the recipient can take a screenshot of the Snapchat picture before it disappears and share that picture with the world. Remember, nothing online is private.

New research shows that those photos you thought were deleted from your phone by Snapchat, are not really deleted. Read this news story to learn more.

Snapchat Application Is Latest Teenage Trend, But Do Photos Disappear?

Great Free App for Parents

The people at Common Sense Media have a free app that you might want. It's called Kids Media. Common Sense Media has a huge database of movie, music, books, and app reviews.

Now the power of the Common Sense Media database is in the palm of your hand. Check out the app here.

Extra Resources

Facebook Privacy Setting Guide - Click here

Raising Kids in a Pornified Culture - Click here

Internet Safety Resources - Click here