Social Network Monitoring: The Rise Of Instagram and Snapchat

December 11, 2012 at 1:40 PM

dangerous snapchat appNot only does your child have an incredibly active social life, but now a huge part of their social life happens online, away from the prying eyes of parents.  It's probably unknown to you how many hours your child spends hiding under her covers after the lights are supposed to be out, texting away, or browsing through her friends' status updates.  And now, as if Facebook and Twitter didn't give you enough to worry about, there is Instagram and Snapchat; yet one more reason why social network monitoring needs to be a priority for every parent.

Remember Kodak cameras?  When you were a kid, your family probably had one of these amazing little machines that was capable of taking pictures and giving you an instant photograph to show all of your friends.  Instagram offers your child the same convenience.  However because it's a social network, those Instagram photos your child receives or shares can be kept a complete secret.  Unless of course, you are able to monitor their activity.

Taking things to a whole other level is a new phone app called "Snapchat". Snapchat allows users to send pictures to other users with a pre-determined amount of time that the sent picture will remain visable on the app. From a parents persepctive, this app might as well be called "Sexting app". 

fun instagramsDisclaimer - Snapchat has a little known and incredibly stupid feature: Every user has a public Web profile that shows their top three most-messaged friends and which saves recent pictures. Whoops?

Encourage your kids to use instagram. There are many services and products that allow you to monitor your child's instagram profile to see what they are posting and commenting on in a public forum. App's like Snapchat open the door to sticky situations and big parenting difficulties, stear clear if you can.

It's never a good idea to allow children to have "secretive" activities, and the ability to share pictures secretly can lead to problems that you don't want to face.  By monitoring your child's activities on Instagram, you're removing the secretive nature of this social network and providing your child with an opportunity to enjoy it for what it was meant to be enjoyed for--a chance to take cool (appropriate) pictures and quickly share them with your friends. 

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Tim Woda

Posted by Tim Woda

Tim Woda is an Internet safety expert, and a passionate advocate for empowering families and protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers. Woda was on the founding team of buySAFE, an Internet trust and safety company, and he started working on child safety issues after his son was targeted by a child predator online. While his son was unharmed, the incident led Woda to kick-start uKnow.com. You can follow Tim on Twitter or on his blog.

Topics: iPhone, Snapchat, social media, Parental Intelligence, Android, parental monitoring, instagram, monitoring, monitoring apps, Mobile Phones/Apps, Spying vs Engaging, other social networks

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