How to Navigate Formspring, the Question-Asking Site

What is Formspring?

Formspring is a social network for asking and answering questions. Questions and responses range from funny to insightful to thought-provoking. It can help friends get to know each other in a new way, but it can also enable cyberbullying through its anonymous question feature.

How do you sign up?

People sign in with their Facebook account or register with an email and birth date. Formspring is open to users 13 and over, but any minor's account will be removed if requested by their parent.

Who can ask/answer questions?

Questions might be asked of only one person, a group of friends, or the entire Formspring community. People who ask questions can choose to include their identity or hide it. Both questions and responses can include photos, videos, and links.

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Everything You Need to Know About YouTube

YouTube Quick Facts:

  • Third most visited site on the internet (behind Google and Facebook)

  • 2,000,000,000 Video views per day, worldwide

  • 829,440 Videos are uploaded each day

  • The average internet users spends 900 seconds on Youtube per day

What is YouTube?

YouTube is a free video sharing site and social network. Anybody can watch and share videos on YouTube (the content ranges from music videos to how-to demos to amateur filmmaking) but to access additional features a person must register for an account.

Registered Users:

Registered users get a customizable homepage where for marking their favorites and queuing videos to watch later. They can comment on others' videos, subscribe to “channels” they like, or create a “channel” and post videos of their own. Their profile information is public by default, but can manually be set to private.

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Introducing Tagged: the "Social Discovery Site"

Tagged is a free way for users to meet and socialize, play games, and share photos. While other social networks are primarily for keeping in touch with current friends, Tagged is a “social discovery site,” organized mostly around meeting new people and expanding online social circles.

What is it used for?

Because of its emphasis on meeting new people, Tagged for a lot of users essentially amounts to a free online dating service or “hookup site.”

Through the MeetMe feature, Tagged users are encouraged to randomly browse other user profiles and send messages to the people they find. People who play MeetMe select their sexual orientation and a personal tagline, then use filters to specify what kind of person they're looking for (gender, age, location, etc).

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An Inside Look at Picture-Sharing Site Photobucket

Photobucket is a popular, free photo hosting site for people 14 and up. Users can upload and manage photos and videos, share images on blogs and social networks, and interact with the community of Photobucket users.

How does Photobucket work?

Users can upload and edit their photos and videos through Photobook, and share them by email or linking to their social networking accounts. They can also enter photos in contests, put them in categories of like images with other users, follow other users, or see how many people have looked at their pictures. They can search for images by keyword and leave comments on other users' pictures.

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4 Effective Ways to Safely Navigate Tumblr

Tumblr is one of the fastest-growing online social networks that are ideal for teens and young adults. The company itself was recently acquired by Yahoo! for 1.1 billion dollars. Staying safe on the blogging site is essential to protect your identity, whereabouts and other personal information that can be used by strangers, online bullies and predators. Knowing a few Tumblr safety tips will help you keep your account from being hacked, compromised, and from sharing personal information with potential threats.

Change Your Privacy Settings on Tumblr

Once you create an account on Tumblr, you can immediately access your account and privacy settings from the homepage after logging in. Editing your privacy settings is a way for you to create a password-protected blog or a private blog where users you invite are the only individuals who can see the content you post and share.

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To LOL, or Not To LOL? That is The Question

In the world of Social Media Etiquette, the acronym LOL is quickly evolving into a term with different meaning than "laughing out loud". Think about the last time you used LOL or saw it used: did it really indicate that you/they were literally laughing out loud? This article was originally published on USA Today by AP National Writer Martha Irvine.

If I thought something in a casual online conversation was funny, I typed it. If I wanted to let someone know I was kidding in an e-mail or an instant message, same.

I might've even felt a little cool, using inside lingo that, at one time, was exclusive to the online world. (You know I'm not the only one who thought so.)

Today, though, I'm sensing a shift, even in my own thoughts about LOL. Certainly, it's as ubiquitous as ever. Just search for it on Twitter or Facebook to see how often people use it. Not exactly deep and meaningful stuff, mind you, but there sure is a lot of it.

Perhaps that's why, at least in some circles, LOL has lost its cachet. And at its worst, it's making people a little cranky.

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What is Tumblr? Learn the Ins and Outs of the Popular Blogging Site

Tumblr is a free microblogging site where users quickly and easily post short snippets of text, quotes, photos, videos, links, music, or whatever else interests them in a rapid-fire fashion.

How does Tumblr Work?

Whenever users stumble across something they like online, they can click a “share on tumblr” bookmarklet to automatically post it to their blog. They can also publish new posts by emailing or texting them to tumblr. The result is a tumblelog: a microblog consisting of short, quick mixed-media posts.

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Trend Alert: 6 Messaging Apps That Let Teens Share (Iffy) Secrets

Information-sharing apps are becoming increasingly popular among teens. Learn about which ones are currently trending! This article was originally published on Common Sense Media by their Senior Content Specialist Kelly Schryver.

You probably never thought you'd see the day when Facebook wasn't the center of teens' universe. But keeping up with Facebook friends through ad-filled newsfeeds and lengthy profiles, especially given the fact that everyone knows your name, is starting to feel tiresome to many teens.

Facebook is still a go-to place for many things, such as wishing someone a happy birthday or stalking a crush. However, newer social apps make it easier, faster and more fun to capture and share fleeting moments -- sometimes anonymously. These temporary and anonymous-messaging apps provide an environment that feels more appropriate to the random, silly, saucy, and experimental sides of the average teenager.

Perhaps most importantly to teens, these apps can feel consequence-free. But of course they're not. Data never really disappears, and anonymity carries big risks. If you don't recognize the apps your kid is currently obsessing over, here's what you need to know:

Temporary Apps

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Anonymous Message App Yik Yak Faces Backlash From An Entire City

We have provided a few resources to you about the new anonymous app Yik Yak and how it is dangerous for tweens and teens. Now one entire city has taken notice of its danger and responded by disabling and discouraging kids from using this app. At least 4 schools in the Chicago region have issued warning about this dangerous app that is so often used for cyberbullying. We applaud these schools that are stepping up to protect their students. 

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All About Yik Yak, the Newest Viral App

There is a new app on the block for Android and Smartphone users. The app, Yik Yak, allows users to post anonymous comments and thoughts. The app also takes into account the geographical location of the phone, using the location services of iPhone and Android phones to feed users comments that have been posted close by. The purpose of the app is to start anonymous conversation, but in the age of digital parenting it can be seen as far more sinister. 

Yik Yak and It's Growth 

Yik Yak debuted on Google Play in January of 2014, and entered the iPhone market in December of 2013. Since its introduction to each platform it has grown quickly. It is currently listed as the 70th most popular social networking app on the Apple App store. It has been downloaded over 6,000 times from the Google Play store and is growing by 38% each month. The free application offers young adults a platform to comment and chat anonymously with those around them. Because the application uses a phone's location services to find where the comments are being posted from, it also allows users to see comments from people that are close to them, often within a few blocks or even feet from them. The location aspect of the application has made it increasingly popular with young users, specifically those in middle school and high school, even though the application insists it is only intended for people over the age of 17. While the application restricts the age, in theory, the entire interface is skewed towards young users, with a colorful interface, cartoon-like graphics, and an easy to navigate platform. 

Yik Yak's Policies and Guidelines 

According to the rules and regulations of Yik Yak, users are to be aged 17 or older. Bullying, according to the app developers is strictly prohibited, and users are also prohibited from posting full names and phone numbers in their comments. Inappropriate content can be tagged for removal, but opponents of the app claim that content is not being monitored, nor are the users that are currently logged into Yik Yak. If someone wishes to have inappropriate comments removed it can be done in one of two ways;

  • Two users can flag the content for removal. If two flags are received the content is removed.  

  • A single user can send a screenshot to Yik Yak and the team will consider the comment for immediate removal. 

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Are You Really Anonymous on Snapchat?

This article from the CEO of Hootsuite, Ryan Holmes, is a great look into the security of something that permeates our everyday life: social media. This article speaks about the recent breach in security that Snapchat experienced, along with the danger (and importance) of companies using social media. There are a variety of take aways, but the main one should be if corporations face these kinds of security breaches, so do consumers. Parents and their children are exposed in two ways: 1) as users of Snapchat and 2) as customers of companies that have adopted social media as part of doing business.

This is a not-so-subtle reminder that in the interconnected digital world there are consequences regarding security that could have a direct impact on all social media users. Just as hackers impacted millions of credit card holders through the Target breach successfully stealing their private financial information, we now see millions of SnapChat users impacted by hackers stealing their private personal information. Read the full article below. 

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Digital Parenting: Social Media Networks to Watch Out For in 2014

Raising teens can be an uphill battle sometimes. You want to be a fair, and respect boundaries. This will give them freedom to make their own choices, and learn from their mistakes. Yet, it's your responsibility as a digital parent to protect your kids as best you can.

Popular Social Media Networks Teens Use

Every parent has heard of Facebook and Twitter. Most even have their own profiles on one or both. But, would you be shocked to find out that your teen is probably using social media networks you probably know nothing about? Here's a list of just some of the most popular social media site teens used in 2013:

  • Facebook

  • Twitter

  • Instagram

  • Tumblr

  • Meetme

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ICYMI: A Snapchat Security Breach Affects 4.6 Million Users

ICYMI (in case you missed it) there was breaking news on the Snapchat front this week. Here is an article from the Washington Post detailing exactly what happened.

Snapchat users are waking up to troubling news: Thanks to a gap in the service's security, the phone numbers and usernames for as many as 4.6 million accounts have been downloaded by a Web site calling itself SnapchatDB.info.

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Monitoring Tweens Online is Exhausting But Necessary

This article was orginally published in Chicago Parent by Shannan Younger. Read on to learn about how monitoring tweens online is crucial in the digital age.

When my child was an infant, the countless sleepless nights exhausted me. Keeping up with the endless motion of a toddler wore me out. And the birthday party circuit of elementary school sucked a lot of time and energy.

Now that my child is a tween, I'm finding that new challenges exhaust me. Chief among them is keeping up with all the website and social media options available to tweens and teens today.

The number of ways that they can communicate with others, who they may or may not know and who may or may not be kind, good, law-abiding citizens, is mind-boggling. A lot of these platforms can be scary. What scares me most of all, though, are the parents who don't even try to learn about them, or who try but give up too easily.

When our kids are little, parents do not turn on the television and plop them in front of it with the thought, "I have no idea what station this is on or what this show is about and it may be wildly inappropriate but, eh, whatever, they can handle it."

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8 Scary Social Networking Sites Every Parent Should Know

This article was orginally posted on the Huffington Post by Michael Gregg, COO of Superior Solutions.

If you think you're hip to your children's online social habits because you know all about Facebook and Twitter, you've got it all wrong. Tweens and teens are increasingly leaving these sites in favor of new apps that offer richer features and a safe haven from watchful parents.

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Face It, Your Child is Sexting

Making poor decisions and underestimating their consequences are the hallmarks of being a teenager. Today, teenagers are faced with so many decisions to make every day, it can seem unbelievable that any of them make it into their twenties unscathed.

Getting into trouble while navigating the dating world is nothing new for teenagers, either. However, what is new are all the different ways to communicate: talking on the phone, text messaging, email, facebook, twitter, the list goes on. With all of these avenues of communication available, it was only a matter of time before teens found themselves in trouble because of it.

Sexting is a fairly new term that is used to describe a number of activities. Mainly, it refers to exchanging sexually suggestive or explicit text messages and email, but it also is used to describe exchanging photos or other sexual material, and also forwarding or otherwise sharing the information received with someone else.

What the studies are showing

Researchers at the University of Utah's Department of Psychology conducted an survey of 606 teenagers aged 14 to 18. Twenty percent of the teens admitted to sending a sexual image of themselves using a cell phone. Almost 40 percent said they had received one, and worse, more than 25 percent of those students admitted to sharing the sext with their friends.

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Guest Interview: Akilah Thompson, Cyberbullying Prevention

For the month of October, during National Bullying Prevention Month, we are posting interviews we conducted with some of the most influential people in the cyberbullying prevention space. The next in the series involves Akilah C. Thompson, Founder and President of ACT Inspires Inc. and Generations Inspired Inc.

uKK: What is the nature of your expertise on cyberbullying?

AT: As an inspirational speaker, I work with teenagers as well as college students and have learned a lot about cyberbullying directly from them and conducting research on the subject to find solutions.  I am also actively involved on social media and have witnessed the impacts of bullying over the Internet. I was a bully myself growing up due to low self esteem and strive to assist young people with tools to be confident in all areas of their lives to avoid being victims of bullying. I have facilitated trainings, workshops, open forums and seminars that focus on cyberbullying, bulling and the proper use of social media.

uKK: What do you believe is the number one thing that can be done to draw attention to and prevent this trend?

AT: There are several things that can be done but I believe the first thing is to hold social media sites accountable for facilitating cyberbullying.

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Teens Get Online 'Eraser Button' With New California Law

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post by Kathleen Miles.

California teens get an online "eraser button" under a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday.  The law makes California the first state to require websites to allow people younger than 18 to remove their own postings on that website, and to clearly inform minors how to do so.

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Sexting Warning: New App Defeats Snapchat's Purpose

A new app has been designed that permanently saves your pics and screws over serial sexters. SnapHack Pro, designed for iOS 7, is an app that saves images without the sender's knowledge, and is sure to annoy the makers of the wildly popular disappearing photo and video sharing tool.

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