Social Media: Where Are The Kids Going?

It’s a fast-paced, tech-crazed teen world. #stayinformed.

With three-quarters of 13 – 17-year-olds now owning Smartphones or tablets, U.S. parents’ cyber responsibilities go way beyond befriending their kids on Facebook. In fact, new studies from both Pew Research and Piper Jaffray show that although nearly all teens have an active Facebook account, their enthusiasm for Zuckerberg’s brainchild is waning; they reportedly dislike the site’s adult (think: parental) presence.

Growing in popularity? Instagram and some sites you might not have heard of—one reason why kids like them. Here’s a rundown of the trending sites (in alpha order) that your teen (and possibly tween) is likely clicking on. With many, danger lurks.



It’s animage-based bulletin board where anyone can post comments anonymously and share images. Site topics are wide-ranging and include a whole lot of “adult;” users are supposed to be 18 or older. Still, in surveys younger teens “self-reported” loving this site.

This app has 57 million users, half under 18 and many in middle school, who post questions to members anonymously, often viciously, and visible to all on default settings. It’s a set-up tailored for cyber bullying, and has been blamed for multiple tween and teen suicides. Plus extensive personal information published on site attracts predators.


The immensely popular photo-sharing app is now joined by a video-sharing app. The default “public” settings combined with their camera or device’s geotagging allow anyone to see your child’s pictures and determine precisely where they were taken.


The instant messaging app has caused concern because of its open access. It’s even more worrisome when combined with Instagram: predators can seek out pics and then ask unsuspecting posters to “Kik me at (user name)” to take the once-visible Instagram conversations to private Kik messaging.


The brand-new social media app provides teens with their own “channel” for uploading photos, videos, audio, and live broadcasts. Channels can be closed (private), open (public), or even “pay-per-view.” Users rate their content (G, PG, PG-13, or R) and parents can restrict accounts; but kids can remove restrictions easily, and parenting software won’t work with this app.


It’s a community bulletin board, allowing subscribers to post original content or links within subreddits—areas of interest; stories move up or down based upon reader votes. Links, comments, and entire subreddits can expose teens to offensive or sexual content.


App users, comprising mostly teens, send more than 200 million snaps (pictures) a day. The snaps disappear from the recipients’ phones after a preset time (usually 15 seconds), making this a popular “sexting” app. It gets worse: recipients can still take a screenshot of the picture before it disappears and share it among the masses.


It’s another social media/microblogging site. While users can control privacy settings on their accounts, they have easy access to adult content within the Tumblr community.


Teen users of the social microblogging site doubled last year. Most have their accounts set to public and many use the platform for “subtweeting”—directly referring to a particular person without mentioning their name.



Twitter’s video-sharing service, intended for ages 17 and up due to adult content, had been red-hot until the introduction of Instagram’s video this past summer. Now Vine has launched updates including protected posts and the ability to “revine” others’ posts.


An instant messaging app, it’s predicted to become the next big thing. It is invasive and pushy, pulling contacts from users’ phones to see who else has the app and connecting to them automatically.


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