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Keep Up With Your Kids On Social Media

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(Source: CBS4)

(Source: CBS4)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Remember when the best way to keep your kids safe on the internet was to make sure the computer was in a common area? Now, kids can carry the Internet in their pockets and keep moving to social networks many parents don’t even know about. So, how can parents keep up?

The newest app is called Snap-Chat, which allows users to send private messages that disappear in seconds. That makes it easy for sexting and hard for parents to track.

Just ask Scott Bohnson who is having a hard time keeping up with the technology being used by his kids.

He has an 18-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter and he’s worried about security, stalkers, and creeps who use the same technology.

“I’m in technology. I think I’ve got the latest greatest wherewithal but as soon as I get on top of it they’re on to some other means of social networking,” explained Bohnson. “I mean I don’t think adults can keep up with it, so even if they do, they’re late to game and need to find the next thing to keep up on.”

The same technology that keeps the kids connected with their grandparents in Arizona, gives them the freedom to move to sites their parents haven’t discovered.

Like comment streams in Instagram, a photo-sharing site, where the comments often stray far from the pictures.

Cinemagram is also hot. It’s a site for sharing short videos. But the scariest sites may be Snap-Chat and Facebook Poke where private video messages disappear after one to ten seconds.

Maggie Bohnson said more than half of her friends are on Snap-Chat because they like the idea of disposable videos. Her father doesn’t like the idea at all.

“Is this the one that disappears? And they can never get to that again? That’s scary,” said Scott to his daughter. “I don’t know. Sexting and things like that worry me. It has the potential to be a sexting machine, because the belief in the kids is ‘wow, there’s this new thing where it disappears’.”

Parenting expert Dr. David Walsh thinks the disposable video feed is a false sense of security, because nothing on the Internet is truly private.

“If the head of the CIA can’t keep a secret on the Internet, then the rest of us don’t have a chance,” said Walsh.

Greg Swan tracks social media trends. Even he can’t predict where kids will end up next, but he says parents should still try. It should be not to spy, but to understand the issues their kids face as new apps keep emerging.

“There are definitely some apps parents are not going to find any reward in: poking each other or sending snap shot pictures of each other, but I encourage them to try it and figure it out,” said Swan.

That may be the key to security in this new media world: focus less on backseat driving, and more on teaching the rules of the road.

“How do we want to be perceived? What kind of values do we want to have? Respect, decency, honesty, integrity: those are the things that all of us parents want our kids to have and we need carry those values into the cyber world as well,” said Walsh.

Walsh said the key is having lots of conversations about social media and expectations, not just laying down rules.

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