A tween or teen can go online or use his or her Smartphone to buy drugs and drug paraphernalia, learn how to get high, and find out what other kids experience without learning the negative consequences.
Traditional sites are changing. Because many parents scrutinize social networking sites or “friend” their children on Facebook, teens and tweens are turning to more secretive sites. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and MySpace are losing kids to other mobile apps.
Some popular apps include:
- Snapchat (create photo, video, caption)
- Pheed (combines text, video, music and pictures)
- Vine (create and post short video clips)
- Qooh.me (allows people to ask anonymous questions and answers are posted)
- ooVoo (video, chat, and instant messaging)
Did you know? Many of these apps are free to download from app stores. In addition, kids are often one step ahead of their parents in the latest privacy settings, allowing them to block their “friended” parents from viewing their activity on these sites until the parent figures it out.
How do you help a child develop skills to make good choices? Ensure they use their online privileges wisely? Avoid inappropriate behavior or inaccurate information?
- Talk to your child about the implications of their actions when using the internet and social media.
- Monitor what your children do online and on the phone by becoming acquainted with the websites and mobile apps they use.
- Block inappropriate content by using parental control features to monitor and manage your teen’s computer use. Buy parental control software that allows you to view recorded computer, smartphone and tablet activity from the internet.
- Enable the restrictions tab via Safari on your children’s Smartphone to block their browsing the internet, using the camera inappropriately, or spending money at an App store.
- Learn about webspeak, the abbreviated language that kids use while texting on their cell phone or Smartphone, and talking in chat rooms or instant messaging.
DOC Drug of Choice
PAL Parents are Listening
BRB Be Right Back
P911 Parent Alert
Find more information about protecting your child on the web.
Source: “Social Media: Understanding a Teen’s World.” Get Smart about Drugs, a DEA Resource for Parents, Educators and Caregivers. United States Government, Drug Enforcement Administration. www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com. August 19, 2014.