DIGITALDANGERSHIDING IN PLAIN SIGHTHOW SOME OF YOUR CHILD’SFAVORITE SITES COULD BETHE MOST DANGEROUS ONTHE INTERNETA publication by
1. Burn Note• What is Burn Note?Users can post messages on the site and send them to aspecific e-mail address. After the recipient logs in to see themessage, she has 60 seconds to read it, at which point themessage is permanently deleted from Burn Notes servers andcannot be accessed again.• What Are the Dangers of Burn Note?Burn Note creates an ideal environment for cyberbullying, andmakes it nearly impossible to keep a record of such bullying.• What Can Parents Do?Talk to your child about the potential unintended consequencesof using such a site, and explain that there is never a foolproofguarantee that anything will be anonymous or that your childsmessage wont be memorialized via screen shots or photos.
2. Instagram• What Is Instagram?Instagram is a photo-sharing service that allows users toquickly post photos from their smart phones to the web.• What Are the Dangers of Instagram?Like most photo-sharing sites, the primary danger of Instagramis that kids will post photos that they later regret such assexually explicit images, images of drinking or drug use, orphotos of illegal or unethical activity such as bullying• What Can Parents Do?Get a Parental Intelligence system like uKnowKids, one of theonly ones that monitor Instagram, to understand how your childuses the site and make sure she is safe online, even when shewants to keep her activities secret.
3. Spillit• What is Spillit?Users can set up a profile, then post a few questions andask family, friends, and strangers to answer thesequestions. People can answer the questions anonymouslyor as themselves.• What Are the Dangers of Spillit?Spillit is rife with cyberbullying, and the anonymouscommenting feature means that anyone can say virtuallyanything to your child.• What Can Parents Do?Because Spillit creates an environment where bullying caneasily occur, it may be best to block the website and tellyour child you dont want her to use it.
4. Snapchat• What Is Snapchat?Users can upload photos and videos to chat partners, but theimages are deleted in about 10 seconds, meaning theres nopermanent record of them and users dont have to worry thattheir images will one day end up on a website or result inpublic humiliation… or do they?• What Are the Dangers of Snapchat?The primary danger of Snapchat is that it encourages users tosend photos that they dont want other people to see sincethere is a self-destruction aspect.• What Can Parents Do?Talk to your child about the risks of sending explicit picturesand explain that theres no guaranteed method that ensuresthat there wont be a permanent record of the photo created.
5. Vine• What Is Vine?Vine is an app for mobile phones that allows users to take shortvideos of up to six seconds. These videos can then be uploadeddirectly to social networking sites.• What Are the Dangers of Vine?Shortly after its release, Vine users began postingpornography, which some social networking websites – notablyTwitter – do not ban. Children can also use Vine to captureinappropriate or illegal behavior such as bullying, drinking, druguse, and sexually explicit behavior.• What Can Parents Do?Vine isnt always dangerous, and has been used for art projects, forsocial commentary, and even in advertising. Children who use ithave access to a creative outlet, so banning its use entirely isprobably not necessary. Instead, require that your child regularlyshow you her Vine account, as well as her social networking pages.
6. Ask.fm• What Is Ask.fm?Users can post questions of nearly every variety to the website. Questionsmight be of a personal nature, such as, “How can I get along better with mysister?” or could be general knowledge questions aboutschoolwork, science, the news, and numerous other topics.• What Are the Risks of Ask.fm?Like other question and answer sites, kids can post personal information.The site has also gained a reputation for cyberbullying because some kidspost questions asking about their relative attractiveness or use their friendsnames in their posts.• What Can Parents Do?Check your childs Ask.fm account regularly to see what shes beenposting. Set rules for using the site, and consequences for breaking thoserule. Sites such as Ask.fm can become the most dangerous when parentsdont know what their children are posting.
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