Warning: Negative Social Networking via Ask.fm

Pupils and parents warned over social networking website linked to teen abuse

  • Schools across the country are sending out letters advising pupils not to use Ask.fm
  • Site lets anyone see details of boys and girls as young as 13, then post comments or questions
  • There is no way to report offensive comments
  • Has become linked to a number of recent teen suicides

By MARTIN BECKFORD

PUBLISHED: 21:03 EST, 12 January 2013

Pupils and parents are being warned by head teachers about the dangers of a rapidly growing social networking site that puts teenagers at risk of vicious anonymous abuse.

Schools across the country are sending out letters advising pupils not to use Ask.fm, which has more than 30 million users around the world and has been linked to suicides and serious bullying.

The website lets anyone see the names, photographs and personal details of boys and girls as young as 13, then post comments or questions on their profile pages that range from insults to sexual advances and threats of violence.

Warning: Pupils and parents are being told about the dangers of a rapidly growing social networking site that puts teenagers at risk of anonymous abuseWarning: Pupils and parents are being told about the dangers of a rapidly growing social networking site that puts teenagers at risk of anonymous abuse

Unlike other services such as Facebook and Twitter, there is no way to report offensive comments, increase privacy settings or find out who is behind anonymous bullying.

The website is based in Latvia, making it even more difficult for police to take action, while its owners dismiss any problems with the site as the result of British and Irish children being more cruel than those from other countries.

Jim Gamble, head of security consultancy Ineqe, said: ‘Ask.fm has become associated with some of the worst forms of cyberbullying and has been linked to a number of recent teen suicides in Ireland and the US.

‘It is almost a stalker’s paradise. In cases like this young people need protection from those who exploit internet anonymity to intimidate, isolate and bully.’

Uncontrolled: Unlike other services such as Facebook and Twitter, there is no way to report offensive comments, increase privacy settings or find out who is behind anonymous bullyingUncontrolled: Unlike other services such as Facebook and Twitter, there is no way to report offensive comments or find out who is behind anonymous bullying

Richard Piggin, deputy chief executive of the charity BeatBullying, said: ‘The tool that enables it to be anonymous can facilitate young people to say things that they might not say face to face or if their names were attached to it. So it releases their inhibitions, which can be very dangerous.

‘Sites like Ask.fm lack even the most basic child safety mechanisms or reporting protocols. They are of huge concern to us and the young people we work with.’

Founder Mark Terebin said: ‘We only have this situation in Ireland and the UK most of all. It seems that children are more cruel in these countries.’

 

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Should You Be Facebook Friends with Your Teen?

An Article by Dr. Roni Sandler Cohen-Sandler
These days, as more and more adults are finding their way on social media (some even before their young children or tweens), families are facing increasing dilemmas. If your kids are now on Facebook, you may well be grappling with the issue of whether to be Facebook friends with them, or its corollary, whether to accept friend requests from your teens’ pals. To gather more information about this subject, I consulted experts—that is, millennials in their twenties. After much discussion, I learned what might motivate parents—and sometimes teens—to be Facebook friends as well as a multitude of advantages, disadvantages, and complications of doing so. It behooves all adults to consider the issues extremely thoughtfully before either friending (i.e., asking to be Facebook friends with) or accepting friend requests from our own teens and, above all, their peers.

Your Kid Wants to Friend YOU?

Although this might surprise you, some teens and tweens who in real life shun conversation with their mothers and fathers actually do friend request their parents. These kids are not desperate to tally up more Facebook friends; one possibility is that they’re in the habit of friending everyone and haven’t specifically excluded their parents. Given how differently friendship is defined on Facebook, this might inspire you to have a discussion with your teen about what constitutes a friend and why it’s important to be discriminating about one’s friends online. While being Facebook friends isn’t the same as being real life friends, it isn’t nothing, either; online friends may have the opportunity to see your teens’ information, including who their friends are, and to write on their walls and send them posts that others might see.

If your teen sends you a friend request, it might also be because Facebook offers a vehicle for greater connection, perhaps more easily or comfortably than face-to-face communication. It’s the same reason why many families send texts or emails for things that are hard to say in person. Maybe your son just wants you to be aware of what music he’s listening to or your daughter is interested in showing you what her friends are writing on her wall. Of course, you don’t need to be Facebook friends with your kids to see this; you can simply ask them to log in to their accounts and show you what’s on the screen themselves. But by giving you the right to see whatever information is out there, it can be a way to get desired validation or earn your trust. Also, consider the possibility that your teen may also want to use the Book to monitor what you`re up to; the access granted on Facebook can be a two-way street.

Why You Want to Friend Your Kid

If being Facebook friends with your teen is your idea—perhaps even a requirement for your son or daughter to sign up for their own account—it’s wise to think carefully about your motivations. What are you hoping to accomplish? Here are some of parents’ most common goals:

• Keeping tabs on your teens’ connections
• Monitoring their social activities
• Being cool
• Showing how much you care about them
• Getting external validation from other Facebook users
• Joining the younger generation
• Learning more about the Book to better advise your teens how to use it responsibly

For divorced parents, Facebook can be a great way to remain an active part of kids’ lives by posting or viewing photos and videos on each other’s walls. Although many teens would be horrified, as they mature into young adulthood apparently the stigma of family pictures gradually fades and even takes on greater cache.

Potential Implications

• Increases trust. Facebook is a porthole through which you can view your teen’s social life, if they allow you. Especially during high school, when presumably teens are given a longer leash, you can allay some of your fears about their greater autonomy by learning more about what they’re doing. It’s also more compelling to see their social life in photos as opposed to merely hearing about it. When it comes to the adolescent social world, a picture may in fact be worth a thousand words (unless information is misconstrued—see below).

• Provides proof. If called upon, Facebook can provide evidence of kids’ whereabouts; the tags on their own and their friends’ photos are stamped with where they are, the name of the people they are socializing with, and the date and time when events took place. (Note: According to my experts, however, this is not foolproof, as tags may be faked by kids who know their parents will be checking.)

• Exposes lies. On the other hand, access to Facebook pages can backfire. When kids try to deceive you—say, by denying they attended a forbidden concert or house party, Facebook can just as easily expose their lies. Then you have to be prepared to deal with the fallout, which may include shattered trust and its effects on your relationship with your teen.

• Illuminates potential problems. Being Facebook friends with your teen gives you the chance to see suggestive or inappropriate posts and tags—and, therefore, to address them immediately. Chances are, if you believe something inappropriate or illegal was going on, other people will too. If your teen protests that photos are innocent, it’s important to point out that their teachers, coaches, and friends’ parents also can get the wrong impression. The burden of privacy should be on your teen; they must learn to limit certain people’s access to their Facebook (e.g., excluding them from seeing photos). You’re thereby teaching critical lessons that can save your teen from later embarrassment or worse when future employers Google them.

What About Friending Your Teens’ Friends?

Here is where issues get much thornier. In my view, the biggest concern is whether friending your kids’ friends intrudes upon natural boundaries and therefore interferes with their social development. As they separate and individuate from their families during adolescence, teens’ peer relationships become increasingly important. When you were a teen, you probably spent hours chatting with friends on the phone or hanging out in someone’s basement, where you carved out your own social world away from the prying eyes of adults. Facebook, with its goal of facilitating connections, makes it harder to maintain boundaries between adults and teens (and also between adults’ personal and business worlds, but that is another story). Consider these issues before accepting friend requests from your teens’ peers:

• Are you really friends? On Facebook, the term friend is used to describe all contacts. But ask yourself if you are friends with your child`s friend in real life. Chances are, the answer is no. If you wouldn’t phone or text your teen’s buddy, being Facebook friends might violate that same boundary. Reading what your children’s friends post to their walls is not all that different from your parents picking up the home telephone when you were a teen and joining your conversations with your friends.

• Awkwardness—or worse—can ensue. When Facebook friends cross generational and/or gender lines, lines of propriety may become blurred. For example, a father becoming Facebook friends with his teen daughter’s best girlfriend could well be seen as inappropriate, make people uncomfortable, or cause teens to declare, “That’s just weird” or “Creepy!” Plus, what if your teen has a falling out with the friend? Are you obligated to unfriend her? And if you do, what meaning would that have? You could also create an awkward situation for your teens if you friend request one of their friends who is unsure about accepting, doesn’t want to accept, or even feels obligated to accept. That teen could become uncomfortable about coming over to your house—either while your friend request is dangling or after making a decision about it.

• Everybody knows. Whatever you do on Facebook, realize that everyone knows. Unless you change the default setting, all Facebook users can see who your friends are. Imagine how you would feel if everyone could see the entire Contacts folder on your computer or cell phone.

• What to do with info? When you’re Facebook friends with your kids’ friends, you may see something on one of their pages that concerns or even alarms you. You’re then in the position of struggling with what to do about it. Is this something you should tell the child’s parents? Do you keep quiet? How will this affect your relationship with your own teen? Knowledge you gain unwittingly on Facebook can become an unwelcome burden.

• If in doubt… While some parents automatically accept friend requests for fear of hurting teens’ feelings, first consider the implications. If in doubt, discuss your dilemma with your teens. They may have wise advice. You can turn down friend requests from your teens’ peers politely simply by saying you have a policy against it, but look forward to talking to them whenever they visit your home.

Consider This

As you’re weighing the pros and cons of Facebook friending your teen, there are several other important considerations. You may jeopardize your relationship—and for good reason. For teens Facebook feels private because they can choose whom they friend and don’t friend as well as whose access to their posts and photos they limit. This gives them a much desired sense of control. Parents becoming Facebook friends with them is an intrusion into their social world. Think about how you behave while chauffeuring a carload of teens. As you drive, you probably remain quiet because you respect their right to have a conversation amongst themselves. Plus, you know that butting in would put a screeching halt to your chance of learning anything.

The same courtesy and common sense could well be applied to Facebook. Asking to see your son’s profile or inviting your daughter to show you wherever she’s tagged in her friends’ photos are much like politely knocking on their bedroom doors before entering—whether or not their friends are over. (Note: An exception might be requiring teen to show you their allegedly inappropriate photos on Facebook that another parent alerted you to…)

In addition, because the parental generation is usually less savvy than our teens about social media, we should proceed cautiously to avoid making grave mistakes. Facebook makes it all too easy for us to embarrass ourselves; constantly changing rules and privacy settings are notoriously difficult to keep up with, even for the most avid users. Unless you’re a Facebook expert, you may not realize you’re making decisions that place you at risk for potentially awkward—and often irreparable—errors. Since one of the main roles of parenting is teaching kids to use technology responsibly, you’ll definitely want to avoid this unfortunate possibility.

_________________________________________

So recognize what you do and don’t know about Facebook. Your teens are probably more knowledgeable about some things, such as knowing how to create separate classes of friends with different privacy settings, how to untag photos, and how to turn on the setting that allows photos to be tagged only after they are reviewed and approved. You might ask them to teach you these valuable skills. But you know things, too, which enable you to be helpful to your teens. For example, you know it’s important for kids to think carefully about whom they friend—and, just as important, whose friend requests they shouldn’t accept. You know to question whether, if they do accept certain people’s friend requests, they should adjust their settings to limit access to their pages (e.g., “Your teachers? Tutors? Future employers? Grandma?”). You know how to help kids evaluate which posts or pictures could be misconstrued or damaging. In the end, partnering with your teens to use Facebook sensibly may be wiser than being Facebook friends with them.

 

Social Media For Girls: The Potential is Explosive

From: The Girl Effect

SOCIAL MEDIA FOR GIRLS: THE POTENTIAL IS EXPLOSIVE

18.02.13 | BY TOPSIE OGUNYADE EGBETOKUN

 

Social media is a powerful tool in today’s world – it connects people across continents and has affected massive social and cultural change. I believe that for girls in particular, the potential it holds is explosive.

Working as a female entrepreneur in Nigeria, I’ve been able to see first-hand how using it smartly is one of the best ways to overcome communication barriers.  This week, I’ll be at Social Media Week Lagos, discussing how social media has the power to change the lives of adolescent girls. As part of the ‘ Mobilize! Social Media For Social Change‘ event hosted by Girl Effect, I’ll be debating how tools like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have given Nigerian girls the opportunity to use social media to take part in the global development dialogue.

The importance of social media is clear to me. I’m always using platforms like LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook to make contacts, create links and develop relationships with others. Tools like these expand the communication and engagement I have with those around me, giving me the chance to join the right groups, meet the right people and get my voice out there.

Networking with others on LinkedIn is absolutely crucial in my professional life – it gives me the chance to reach out to new projects and opportunities, as well as share my experiences with influential professionals. On a more personal level, using Facebook means that I can connect to old classmates, friends and family, plus keep them up to date with what’s going on in my life on a regular basis.

The same benefits apply to girls, as there are huge opportunities available to them as a result of using social media.

Social media should not just be seen as social networking and having fun. It is fun, but there’s also an art to getting it right, and I think it’s important that girls discover how they can make their communication with the wider world successful. When used effectively, social media gives them a voice, helps create noise around a cause and brings both local and global attention to issues that matter to them.

An example of how this can be done is the youth social media advocacy campaign I am championing, which uses social media to educate, inform and empower young girls. With programmes like these, girls can learn how to use social media to their advantage; be it to further their career, meet influential business people or simply have their voice heard – learning these skills is vital to them.

Social media is also cheaper – a lot cheaper – than the alternatives. You can reach 1,000 people through the power of social media for a fraction of the cost that you can through television or print. It’s also interactive and this two-way relationship is key to the power of social media, and therefore key to the argument for girls using it more.

Through conversations that they can now have with high-level decision makers, NGOs and policy-makers, girls can affect the global agenda for change.

Girls have the potential to be an incredible force in the social media world. By using the technology in the best way possible, they will be able to change their lives and the lives of generations of girls to come.

Tell us how you’re using social media to change the world for girls on Twitter and  Facebook

Find out more about equipping girls to change the world

Follow Social Media Week Lagos using the hash tag #SMWLagos

Find out more about Girl Effect’s session at Social Media Week Lagos

Dad, Gives Daughter $200 To Quit Facebook

Paul Baier, Dad, Gives Daughter $200 To Quit Facebook In New Contract

Posted: 02/07/2013 6:21 pm EST  |  Updated: 02/07/2013 7:21 pm EST

Quit Facebook Agreement

Facebook may be hard to quit for a teenage girl, but as it turns out, cash is one powerful incentive.

Boston father Paul Baier was able to lure his 14-year-old daughter off the social media site after offering a five-month, Facebook-free contract worth $200, CNN notes.

Baier, a vice president of sustainability consulting and research at Groom Energy Solutions, posted about the contract on his blog, Practical Sustainability, on Tuesday.

SCROLL FOR FULL PHOTO OF CONTRACT

The official-looking contract states his daughter must surrender access of her account to her dad, who “will have access to my Facebook to change the password and to deactivate the account. This will prevent me from re-activating the account in the future.”

Payments will be secured in two installments.

As ABC News points out, the contract was actually his daughter’s idea.

“She approached me. She has been frustrated she hasn’t been able to find a babysitting job and she has been looking for ways to get cash,” Baier told ABC News. “So she asked, ‘If I didn’t use Facebook for so long would you pay me?'”

And the contract was drawn up. The Boston father told the news outlet that, so far, his daughter has upheld her part of the bargain.

“She has deactivated a few times for the weekend,” he said “She has spent two to three years on Facebook for 24/7, she realizes there is a lot of talk and noise.”

A new Pew study shows that the teen may not be the only one getting Facebook fatigue. The Pew Internet and American Life Project reports that 61 percent of Facebook users have taken “a voluntary multi-week break” at some point during their usage.

Plus, now the 14-year-old can spend more time hanging out with her friends face-to-face, perhaps sporting a new outfit bought with her cool $200.

quit facebook agreement 

Instagram Unmasked: A Teen Explains Why It’s All the Rage

Instagram Unmasked: A Teen Explains Why It’s All the Rage

From rachelsimmons.com FEBRUARY 11TH, 2013 

instagram

by Valerie Aber

I made my Instagram account when I was in 10th grade, bored one day over spring break. At first I didn’t see the purpose – who needed to spend time taking and scrolling through cell phone-quality pictures of food and flowers? But then I realized the app could be used as a photo-diary of sorts.

My Instagram profile is set to private. There are random “selfie” shots of my face and lots (LOTS) of pictures of food. There are pretty pictures of clouds and tempting pictures of Starbucks cups. And there are pictures of homework assignments scattered about – pictures of large textbooks cracked open in front of my laptop screen and pictures of papers covering the floor. (What color was my carpet again?)

You can actually learn a lot about someone just by looking at their Instagram profile. It’s more than just random pictures of things – depending on how personal they get with it, it can show their interests, ambitions, hopes and dreams. It can show the little things that make them happy, whether that means they won a special award or even that their parents ordered in Chinese for the night.

But many teens don’t always account for the power that these images can hold. I’ve also seen Instagram used for cyberbullying. With today’s smartphones, it’s easy to screenshot text messages and share them to the world.

One of my good friends was targeted in a comment on someone else’s screenshot texts – another girl had claimed she was persistent and annoying because she had sent her two or three messages asking “Hey, what’s up?” after not having heard from her in weeks. Whether such acts were “persistent and annoying” is beside the point – the commenter was being entirely rude and immature for saying such things about my friend to so many people, and the original poster was wrong for publicly sharing whoever’s text messages were being shared. The entire thing was wrong on so many levels.

Of course, all of these things could be just as easily done through other social networking services, like Facebook. But most teens realize that their parents, family members, and even potential employers and colleges can view their Facebook profiles. On the other hand, not many of those groups would probably think to check an Instagram right away. So, this leads to many of us feeling like Instagram is our own private little world, one where we get to speak our minds with little consequence. Which, as always, is false.

Instagram shouldn’t be blocked, but it should definitely be monitored, at least to some extent. Because if a parent really knows their child… well, they never really do as well as they’d like to believe they do. Some of us keep secrets. Except that they’re never really secrets, unless the people who are exposed to them are too ignorant to listen. And ignorance never mixes well with good parenting.

Parents should at least be mindful of those accounts that their child is “following,” and be willing to discuss with their kids anything they might see on there. It’s not that the parents should be constantly watching with hawk eyes – please, don’t ever do this – but they should remember to be open. If you’re a parent, remind your children: “Though you’d be in huge trouble if you ever posted anything bad, I’ll never punish you for accidentally coming across an inappropriate picture on your feed. If you find anything that makes you uncomfortable, I’m willing to talk with you about it, and I promise that I won’t negatively judge you if you do so.”

Make sure your kids know that no matter what button they might press, there is no such thing as true privacy when it comes to technology. Looking at this in a more positive light, you should actually encourage your kids to post personal achievements or things that make them happy.

As long as their settings only allow for people who they know to view their photos, this can provide for not only a safe experience, but also one that helps them to grow in a good way, one that allows them to be viewed to the outside world as someone lovely and bright.

Including, perhaps, college admissions officers. I just hope they like Frappuccinos.

Oh, and to sum everything up with a quote from Roald Dahl:

“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

Valerie Aber is a high school junior who lives in Florida. She is active in the National Honor Society and her school’s debate team.

What Girls Really Do on Instagram

By Margaret Rock, from: Mashable

Some things don’t change as girls hit their teen years, no matter what technology is in vogue. Friends become the end-all, be-all of social life, parents are embarrassing and don’t know anything, and getting cut down by your peers is devastating.

Add phones to the mix, and they can stunt a valuable part of child’s growth: learning to relate to others, as well as understanding themselves.

Tweens’ social media use and texting may look like positive social skills, but excessive use of these activities actually hinders emotional intelligence, or EI, which researchers agree is a better predictor of successful marriages, stronger friendships and even financial success.

As Daniel Goleman points out in his pivotal book, “Emotional Intelligence,” 80% of a person’s success depends on EI — skills like identifying, understanding and managing emotions in a way to relieve stress, communicate effectively and empathize with others. These are skills parents can teach and refine.

According to Cliff Nass, a professor of communication at Stanford, girls develop EI between eight and 12 years of age, while for boys, the development occurs over a longer period. But constant device use often disrupts EI development in girls, since they’re more active media consumers at ever younger ages.

I thought about that while on a weekend soccer tournament with my own children. Streams of young girls in between games struck the all-too familiar position: heads down, concentration fixed on the smartphone, and fingers tapping away. What exactly are they doing, and how does it affect them?

So I sat down with a handful of these girls to hear, from the mouths of babes, how they use technology. After all, you hear a lot about what experts, advocates and researchers think about tweens and technology — so maybe it’s time to ask the girls themselves.

“Facebook gets boring.” – Lauren, 12

The main attraction of phones is browsing and social networking, according to the middle-school aged girls, who had either feature phones or a tablet device with Internet access.

Two of the girls did have a Facebook account, but as Lauren said, “Facebook gets boring,” and they all agreed: their favorite place was Instagram. They’ve used the photo sharing app for about a year and said it is the best place to connect with all their friends. Since they join with nicknames, they thought photo-sharing social network was more secure. None of the girls knew Facebook bought Instagram last year.

Instagram is at the forefront of a dizzying array of services designed to appeal todifferent ages and interests. They pop up and challenge Facebook, many with visual media sharing, which take away from verbal communication — a skill girls are traditionally good at.

“I can also be creative with cool pictures.” – Kayla, 12

Unlike Facebook, Instagram isn’t driven by verbal postings such as “Today is going to be a good day!” but rather with pictures. When I asked for an example of a photo they shared, Kayla showed me a picture she took on a bright, sunny day. In it, her teammates stood in a circle with one leg pointed in toward the center. She took the picture from above, making the legs look like a spokes of a wheel, or in this case, rays of the sun — each one wearing different brightly colored socks and cleats.

Kayla put thought into composing the picture — the sports she loves, her friends and an interesting visual angle. For her, putting it on Instagram was self-expression, both of her identity and her interests.

Posting photos on Instagram gives tweens like Kayla a way to express feelings that words can’t. Girls use pictures to represent themselves to their friends, as they enter an increasingly sophisticated social realm. But it also skips over the opportunity for face-to-face conversation to develop important interpersonal skills.

“Oh, there are lots of places to get pictures.” – Riley, 11

Beyond their own pictures, tweens share images from other sites too. Marissa, an 11-year-old, for example, scours Google for images of dogs and puppies to add to her Instagram page.

Others mentioned memes, the term to describe viral pictures like cats wearing sunglasses in front of a laptop. Good memes spread like wildfire, tickling people’s interest at a rapid pace, aided by the power of mobile technology.

The girls share memes with one another, or search the Internet for them with phrases like, “LOL so true,” “teenager post,” “that awkward moment” or “you just realized.” One girl said she uses iFunny, a free app, to find pictures to share. Searching the sites is nearly as fun as browsing Instagram.

The girls laugh as they mention these search terms, congratulating each other on their recommendations while adding their own. They talk in much the same way as they interact online, where they look at each other’s pages and “like” or comment on them — and they feel gratified to get lots of positive comments.

“I got a ton of likes on that one.” – Sam, 13

Sam mentioned a meme that pokes fun of parents offering contradictory advice. “I got a ton of likes on that one,” she added. The girls say it is fun when friends praise their posted images — whether a clever meme or a picture of Christmas gifts.

And even the comments on Instagram have images, thanks to the hundreds of emoji, which means pictograph, for the girls to use. Emoji, a Japanese term for picture characters, are the popular smiley faces that adorn digital communication, and a growing number of them come pre-installed on handsets.

“You can say so many different things with them,” Riley said, explaining an inside joke where she’ll insert a winking face. She’ll insert the clapping hands emoji to congratulate. A lot of sharing and affirmation goes on in these Instagram circle, but there can be a lot of drama, too.

The girls said Instagram was important to their social life: They have a sleepover and document the fun while it’s happening. And, when they feel bored, they can browse their friends’ pages and see what they’re doing.

The drama with Instagram usually arises when posted pictures exclude someone or an image expresses a controversial opinion. Arguments from school can spill over to the site too, which can host seemingly benign, but loaded, comments.

Larry Rosen, author of “IDisorder,” which explores our obsession with technology and the drawbacks it hold on us, said teens on Facebook can have narcissistic tendencies, become more prone to depression and anxiety, and suffer in learning compared to those who don’t regularly use social media.

But the girls disagree. They said they didn’t use Instagram to flirt, since boys their age rarely use the site. That gels with research that suggests girls mature faster — and develop EI — earlier than boys.

For example, at the age of 10, girls and boys tend to show aggression equally, but by the age of 13, a meaningful difference begins to show between the sexes. The emotional response of boys, for example, changes little. Girls, meanwhile, develop skills like collective banning, gossiping and indirect communication to replace outright aggression.

“I post something on Instagram every day.” – Josie, 11

Half the girls said they post to Instagram daily, while others said not every day — but almost. Some think relying on “likes” and comments makes girls vulnerable to judgment and criticism, but they said that isn’t the case with them. One girl said, “I don’t care if anyone doesn’t like my picture, I put them there because I do.”

Still, the girls had strong consensus that it’s fun to have a popular picture — it feels good when they go and check their page and see lots of likes and comments — but it feels bad when friends overlook their efforts.

Whether you like it or not — or even if you wish it were otherwise — mobile technology plays a big role in how kids build and strengthen friendships during the sometimes awkward pre-teen years. A little of that isn’t harmful, but experts say learning social skills can’t be done solely online — and developing EI takes hard work and practice.

Tweens who devote most their time staring at a two-dimensional screen fail to understand body language, tone of voice and facial cues, which happens in face-to-face encounters. And down the road, that lack of EI may cost them in misunderstood relationships and poor work performance, to name a few.

Nass pointed out that in-person and online communication are not interchangeable, and kids must actively look and listen to the people they are with, instead of their smartphones.

“Face-to-face communication was positively associated with feelings of social success,” he said, adding that it was “consistently associated with a range of positive socio-emotional outcomes.”

So if you think your tween is learning good social skills on an app, you’ve been lulled into a false sense of security. Re-evaluate that perspective and talk to your kid about Instagram, Facebook and the apps they use.

And, when you do, Nass says, don’t be afraid to say, “Look me in the eye when I speak to you,” since that’s one little way to get them to practice their emotional intelligence.

The Internet, As Seen By High Schoolers

Here’s some information on what social media sites teenagers are using.

Executive Tech Editor, The Huffington Post

The Internet, As Seen By High Schoolers
Posted: 01/09/2013 7:08 pm
Kids these days. Just what are they up to online?

Intrigued by one tenth-grader’s musings (via her brother) on trends in the tech world, investor Garry Tan conducted an informal survey of how 1,000 teens and twenty-somethings are using social media.

Among the high-schoolers (aged 13 to 18) and millennials (aged 19 to 25) that answered Tan’s survey, Tumblr > Facebook > Twitter > Instagram > Snapchat, in terms of popularity.

Because “teens love photos, but they hate text,” in the words of FWD’s John Herrman, here’s a picture of the survey results:

social media use teens

Teens used every single social site more than their older peers, and Snapchat and Instagram were nearly twice as popular among high-schoolers than millennials. Thirteen percent of teens reported using Snapchat regularly, while just 4 percent of twenty-somethings did so. Twenty-one percent of users in the younger demographic use Instagram, versus 11 percent in the older demographic.

The survey points to the graying of Facebook: more high-schoolers and millennials are using Tumblr than Facebook (59 percent versus 54 percent). By comparison, just 5 percent of online adults are using Tumblr, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Tan’s survey jives with comScore data from May of last year. Together, Facebook and Tumblr accounted for 90 percent of the time teens spent online.