10 Apps Teens are Using that Parents Need to Know

April Requard appsolutelyapril.com

March 20, 2018

Not all social apps are bad. Most of the apps our kids use are truly an extension of your child’s “real world” social life. For the most part, our kids talk to people they only talk to in “real life.” With the influence of technology in our kids social lives, we can’t panic or over think every single thing, but we do need to empower each other and be aware of what our kids are doing when they are online and engaged in these apps. We teach our children how to swim so they don’t drown and the same is true for online social behaviors. We have to talk to our kids and teach them how to navigate through this rapidly-changing online world. I believe strongly in not blocking everything, but in my opinion, there are certain apps that are just off-limits. I will share some those with you in this post. The problem in most cases is that parents just don’t know how bad some of these apps can really be. The truth is told so perfectly by Kevin Honeycutt when he says, “Our kids are growing up on a digital playground and no one is on recess duty.” So true.

It’s not all bad…

For every heart wrenching story about cyberbullying, there are many stories of teenagers and adults using social media for good. When people come together on social media to start a movement or create awareness for something they believe in, change really does come and that’s amazing. As an educator, I have witnessed teachers using social media to change their teaching practices, gain new perspectives, and completely transform who they are as teachers as a result of being connected to other educators.

It’s all about parent empowerment!

It’s our job as parents to help our children navigate through this world that changes so fast as a result of our ever-changing technology ecosystem.

Here’s a blog post I wrote a year ago about a fabulous app that I use every single day as a time-limit allowance for my kids using their phones. You can read about it here. I HIGHLY recommend this application.

Enabling Parental Restrictions for iOS:

Step-by-step guide to enabling parental controls and restrictions on an iOS device:

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Click here for an article for Android devices.

Location Services:

If location services are on, chances are your child’s location is being shared while using one of the apps. This is an important feature to turn off in specific applications.

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Multiple User (Fake) Accounts:

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Many social media platforms allow for more than one user account. Kids will use one profile to interact with their friends and the other one is their “angel” account where they’d only post what they’d want their grandmother to see. In Instagram, kids call it a “finsta” which means “fake Instagram” account. In order to find out if your kiddo has multiple accounts, you need access to their phone and you need their passcode. If you don’t know their passcode, it might be time to have a whole other conversation. 😬 Once you are in the phone, open Instagram. Tap the head icon and that will open the profile. Tap on their name at the top of the screen. If there are multiple accounts, you will see them, if not, you won’t see any other accounts. It’s really easy to create a secondary account, so just watch for this and do periodic phone checks!

Secret Apps:

These apps are a photo vault that hides many types of photos when you open the app, it functions like a regular calculator, but when you type in your passcode, your secret photos come up.

There are child predators who know about these apps and try to engage with your child. Additionally, your child could be keeping secret photos (sexting or otherwise) that they don’t want you to see.

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Hope you all find this helpful! #themoreyouknow #ittakesavillage

 

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Parental Power with Our Pact


I am the mom of two heavy technology users (ages 11 and 14). They love surfing the web, playing games, being social, texting friends, and watching videos. They are active boys, but during these summer days, they can become quite lazy and at times they want to do nothing but be on their devices. I take the devices away, hide them, you name it. Until now. Now I hold all the power. Is it bad that I secretly love this? “You want me to give you your apps? Take out the trash, wash the dishes, make your bed, brush your teeth, then I’ll grant you access for 45 minutes.” It’s amazing how all of these daily chores are magically completed if they want to use their device. What’s even better is that I can control their iPad and iPhone ANYWHERE! Let me say that again…anywhere! It’s parental bliss! If I sound somewhat evil, it’s because I totally am! 😜

Here’s the first text I received from my youngest son once he figured out what was going on! I almost wish I would have taken video of the reaction I received from my 14 year old. I think there was a “you’re ruining my life” thrown in there!  It was then that I realized I was doing my job as a mom to find a sustainable way to limit their screen time, especially with social media. However, now they’ve come to terms with this new sheriff in town and they’ve accepted the rules. 

My son’s first encounter with Our Pact 😜

All joking aside, I think this is by far the best parental control of any app that I’ve tried. You can put restrictions on your child’s iOS device, but you can’t limit their time like this. I like the ability to grant or block them from being able to use their devices…anytime, anywhere.

What happens when you block their access?

Well, it’s like magic! All of their purchased apps, including Safari, go away. Only the native iOS apps remain. I’d assume it works the same way on an Android device. You can grant or block them access “until I say so” or for a set amount of time. Additionally, you can set rules for bedtime so that your kid isn’t Snapchatting until 2 AM on a school night! 

Here’s how to set it up:

Download the app onto your phone. Click here for the link to the iOS App Store.

Once you download the app, then create a profile for each of your children, or if they have multiple devices, create a profile for each device.

Then, you go to this address on your child’s device and follow the instructions to install a device profile on their phone. This is what manages the device and allows you to grant or block access. There are some paid features, which I have yet to explore, but I did upgrade so that I can have more access. I’d recommend upgrading because the free subscription only allows for a set number of blocks/grants. The premium features look really great and include blocking specific apps, including text messages. 

Hope Our Pact will be as useful for your family as it has been for mine so far! Happy summer!! 🏖