One of things I’ve observed as a tutor for past several months has been the enormous change in social behavior for high school children than say, even just 10 years ago. There have been so many writings about parenting, and with high school children, the issue is even more complex because of factors like college admission, prom, and other dramas that fill the halls. Parents want to believe that they really understand their children in high school, but the key question here is, do they?
Mark Zuckerberg May Know More Than You
Every parent knows who Mark Zuckerberg is – or at least, about the company he found, namely Facebook. Because Facebook has become integrated into high school life, some parents have chosen to monitor their children by joining Facebook and becoming friends with them. It’s a touchy issue since there is no guarantee that what they see will be positive – and too much reactions can cause their children to simply delete, or even worse, block their parents from seeing or searching their profiles period. But, there is another aspect of Facebook that most parents may not be aware of: Instagram.
Instagram began as an app for iOS devices for photo-sharing, but it soon became much more than that. Facebook purchased the app (now available for Android as well), and now, with such large members of Facebook also utilizing Instagram, it is not exaggerated to say that countless high school students spend significant amounts of their time in Instagram. Unlike other photo-sharing apps, Instagram was/is sensational, and from photos of friends to favorite food in the restaurant, Instagram became a part of important social life.
There Are More – Snapchat and Twitter
The unfortunate challenge for parents is that this different world of social life for high school children does not stop just at Facebook and Instagram. There are also Snapchat, which is for photo-messaging, and Twitter. While Twitter is similar to Facebook, its usage has been rather different. If Facebook was more about closed social network between friends, Twitter paved a way for people to find new connections outside their network, and for high school children, this may not necessarily be a positive thing. Many high school children do not fully grasp security and privacy risks, so Snapchat and Twitter pose different kinds of challenges than Facebook and Instagram do.
It is true that setting of Twitter can be changed to protect tweets, followers, and following. That can certainly give more protection in terms of privacy. However, if Twitter profile remains open, web crawlers like Google and Bing can easily go to the pages, and as a result, innocuous hashtag comments can result in undesired followers who find them from search results. A simple test of any major keyword will generate pages after pages of Twitter profiles with that hashtag.
What Should Be Done for Smartphone Usage Then?
Because smartphones are now such an important part of high school children’s social life, certain regulations must be in place. These could be controlling Apple ID for the phones for payments on app services, regulating time spent on smartphones, and remaining watchful eyes on apps mentioned in the article. The biggest tip is to be aware of the dangers out there and open the communication line. Because these apps remain in usage when children go to college (which by then cannot be monitored), the best way is to not just limit the usages but teach and educate the potential risks.