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Teen Online

Teen Online

 

Social media has become a norm in everyday teen life. At least 90 percent of teens have some kind of social media account. Furthermore, 97.5 percent of teens have been online in the last 30 days.

While more and more adults are using social media such as Facebook and Twitter, teens are moving to other social media sites to communicate without having a caring adult constantly reviewing their online lives.

 Several popular and well-known social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Instagram, YouTube, and Tumblr.  Although these sites are popular, teens are moving away from them as more adults are using and monitoring these sites.

Staying up-to-date on the latest forms of social media is important for adults to better serve teens and promote youth wellness. Social media sites and apps that are popular among teens include: Snapchat, Tango, TeenOnline.com, OoVoo, Omegle, Vine, Chatroulette and Ask.fm.

Snapchat is a photo/video messaging app that was developed by Stanford University students. It can run on iPhones, Androids, iPads or iPods. Users take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a list of recipients. However, messages are set to play for only one to 10 seconds and then are inaccessible and cannot be viewed.

Built-in features can configure the app to accept messages only from users on the “My Friends” list. Another safety feature is the option to block friends if desired. The set timings and deletion features offer users a false sense of security. Although messages cannot be reviewed, screen shots can be taken and saved.

          Tango is an app that offers video/audio call, texting and video sharing options. It can be used on smartphones, tablets and PCs but is geared toward Android devices. It is free and easy to download and is similar to FaceTime and Skype. Tango also offers free games embedded in the app to attract more users. Friends can be invited by linking personal contacts with the app, but location detection can be used to help connect with other nearby users. Searches can be set to find people nearby or popular people. Location detection reports how near each user is to each other and allows users to track others, so be careful when allowing location detecting devices to reveal your location.

OoVoo is an app that offers free instant messaging and video chat. It is similar to FaceTime and Tango because it allows videos, pictures and voice recordings to be uploaded and shared. This app has a mobile group video chat feature that can include up to 12 users in one group. Video status messages can be displayed on profile feeds or sent to friends. Be wary of linking personal contacts with OoVoo, as well as linking to other social media sites. Content that is meant to stay personal can be shared accidently on other social media sites if users link accounts and are not careful in monitoring their social media activity.

Vine is an app that was created in 2012 and is owned by Twitter. It was developed so users could create and share short video clips no more than 10 seconds in length for entertainment purposes. Vine contains a search engine to find popular videos. Specific channels such as “Dogs” can be searched to find themed videos. It quickly has become very popular with the adolescent age group. Twitter and Vine though have no guidelines forbidding pornography.

Chatroulette is a free online chat website with users from all ages from around the globe. It was created by a Russian high school student as an alternative to Skype. Chatroulette offers Web-based conversations complete with video, audio and text. Users are paired randomly with other users and chat with them while watching the other user’s webcam. To find a more desirable partner, users can “spin” to be paired randomly with another individual. Chatroulette has an average of 8.5 million monthly visitors. Users under age 18 are discouraged from using the site due to inappropriate content being shared. Even so, 30 percent of weekly visitors are minors.

Omegle was launched in 2008 by a Vermont teen as a free online chat website. It uses video and text chat and can be used as an app on iPads, iPods, iPhones or Palm webOS devices. No registration is necessary. All chats are anonymous and use the handles “You” and “Stranger.” Omegle randomly matches users with “strangers” to chat.

Filters are available to meet strangers with common interests. Users also can use the “Spy Mode” feature to post an anonymous question for others to answer.

TeenOnline.com is an online teen chat group created as a place for teens to interact without adult supervision. Few adults use and monitor TeenOnline.com. Teens can connect and flirt with others or anonymously post personal confessions. Other users then are able to read and respond to the confessions of others on a public feed. Only those 13 or older should use TeenOnline.com.

Ask.fm was launched in 2010. Ask.fm was created so users could ask embarrassing or uncomfortable questions anonymously and get a variety of feedback. Users create personal profiles but can choose to make replies anonymous. About 80 million registered users post 30 million questions and answers per day. Although ask.fm encourages users to be 13 or older, it does not have age minimum requirements.

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