Search

Social networking sites decoded: Do you know what your kids are up to?

(7 ratings)
Snapchat
The internet can be a scary place for a parent. Often, our own kids are more versed with it than we are, meaning there are places they could be visiting that we don't know about or understand.

With the help of the NSPCC and their new online guide for parents, we've put together this guide to social networking apps your kids are using; what they are, how age appropriate they are and concerns from real mums just like you.

 

The ones you've heard of...

Facebook

Minimum age: 13+

What is it? Facebook is the most popular social networking site with both kids and adults, chances are you are familiar with how Facebook works as you have an account. It's a social networking site that allows you to create a page about yourself, connect to other friends, share pictures and videos, send instant messages and join or 'like' groups.

Signing up: It's easy for an under 13 to sign up

Privacy settings: They are there but they're not obvious

37% of parents reported seeing content that might be unsuitable for children aged 8-12 on this site - mainly related to violence and hatred.

Facebook says you have to be 13 to sign up, but what did mums like you think?

Instagram

Minimum age: 13+

What is it? Instagram is a photo/video sharing app. Users can post and edit pictures, use hashtags to share experiences around particular topics, themes and moments. You can follow other users, whether it be friends, family, celebrities and even brands.

Signing up: It's easy for an under 13 to register, all they'll need is an email address

Privacy settings: Are available, but not all that clear

32% of parents reported seeing content that might be unsuitable for children aged 8-12 on this site.

Instagram says you have to be 13 to sign up, but what did mums like you think?

Snapchat

Minimum age: 13+

What is it? Snapchat is an app which allows users to send photos and short videos to friends which receievers can only see for a matter of seconds before they disappear. They can also send a snapchat 'story' which allows users to piece a series of snaps/videos together in a sequence which friends can view for 24 hours.

Signing up: It's easy to sign up, simply download the app and you can sync your phone contacts with the app.

Privacy settings: Very easy. The default setting is that only 'friends' can see your snapchats.

14% of parents reported seeing content that might be unsuitable for children aged 8-12 on this site.

Snapchat says you have to be 13 to sign up, but what did mums like you think? 

 

 

YouTube

Minimum age: 13+

What is it? YouTube is a video sharing site. People can view, upload, and share videos, and create 'channels' to which people can subscribe, you'll have a public profile and can leave comments.

Signing up: It's easy for a child under 13 to register.

Privacy settings: It was not easy to find how to adjust your privacy settings.

50% of parents reported seeing content that might be unsuitable for children aged 8-12 on this site - mainly related to sexually explicit content, violence and hatred, suicide and self-harm.

YouTube says you have to be 13 to sign up, but what did mums like you think?

Minecraft

Minimum age: 13+

What is it? Minecraft is a little bit like playing with LEGO, only in virtual form. You can create worlds from building blocks, you can use the multiplayer function to explore worlds created by other users and interact with them through combat, chat and gaming.

Signing up: Children need an email address and a means of payment - children might not be able to get access to both of those things without parental consent.

Privacy settings: Difficult to find but easy to change once you got there.

50% of parents reported seeing content that might be unsuitable for children aged 8-12 on this site - mainly related to hatred and violence.

Minecraft says you have to be 13 to sign up, but what did mums like you think?

 

 

And now for the ones you haven't heard of...

Kik 

Minimum age: 13+

What is it? Kik is an instant messaging app, it lets you create a username and message other users, without using your mobile number. You can share photos, games news and anything you like from the internet and organise events. 

Signing up: The app allows you to sign up without checking your age.

Privacy settings: Difficult to find, and only available on the website, not in the app itself.

22% of parents reported seeing content that might be unsuitable for children aged 8-12 on this site.

Kik says you have to be 13 to sign up, but what did mums like you think?

 

 

Chatroulette

Minimum age: 0 - no required age

What is it? Chatroulette is a website which lets you chat to other people all over the world. You can chat via instant messaging or can connect to their/your webcam for video chat.

Signing up: It's very easy for a child to sign up, you don't even need to verify your email address.

Privacy settings: There's a real lack of privacy settings.

70% of parents reported seeing content that might be unsuitable for children aged 8-12 on this site with a particularly high emphasis on sexual content.

Chatroulette doesn't give a minimum age requirement, what did mums like you think?

 

 

DeviantArt

Minimum age: 13+

What is it? DeviantArt is a site where people can post pictures of their artwork online and comment on one another's work.

Signing up: It's very easy for a child to sign up, you don't need email verification and a quick alteration to your year of birth will gain you access.

Privacy settings: Not easy to find.

75% of parents reported seeing content that might be unsuitable for children aged 8-12 on this site - particularly sexually explicit material, violence and hatred and self-harm.

DeviantArt says you have to be 13 to sign up, what did mums like you think?

 

 

BBM

Minimum age: 13+

What is it? BBM stands for Blackberry Messenger, a service run by the mobile company. People can add you using your 4-digit pin, and only people who have access to this can add you. You can send instant messages, share group chats and pictures/video.

Signing up:
It's very easy for a child to sign up and register.

Privacy settings: Messages can only be seen by contacts you've approved - but this is unclear.

11% of parents reported seeing content that might be unsuitable for children aged 8-12 on this site.

BBM says you have to be 13 to sign up, what did mums like you think?

 

 

Disney Club Penguin

Minimum age: 13+

What is it? Club Penguin is an online game which allows you to explore a virtual world as a cartoon penguin character, it's a multiplayer game which allows you to talk to other players.

Signing up:
It's easy for a child to sign up, all they'll need is an email address.

Privacy settings: It's difficult to find and adjust the privacy settings.

No parents reported seeing content that might be unsuitable for children aged 8-12 on this site.

Club Penguin says you have to be 13 to sign up, what did mums like you think?

 

 



Ello

Minimum age:

17+

What is it?

Ello's creators pitch it as a ‘friendly network where inspiration is shared through images and stories’. Ello’s popularity peaked at the end of 2014 when it was gaining thousands of new sign-ups a day. It has since tailed off a bit but lots of people are still using the creative app to share images without ads or sponsored content being favoured over everyone elses - an app with good intentions.

Signing Up:

Email address required

Privacy Settings:

They have built their reputation around agreeing never to sell on your data to third party (unlike rivals like Facebook and co.)

But sexually explicit content is easily available on Ello – they are up front about the fact there is ‘adult’ content circulating. Users who share this material only have to mark their profile with the tag NSFW – but it is still accessible and visible to anyone in the community.

Peach

Minimum age:

12+

What is it?

Peach is a social network, or as they put it ‘a simple way to keep up with friends and be yourself.’

It allows you to send messages or ‘actions’ such as waving, kissing and caking – which presumably sends someone a virtual snack?

It also has a function where instead of using a menu interface to select what you want to do; you type your command (just like the old days!) For example, typing ‘gif’ allows you to search for animated gifs, typing ‘draw’ brings up a doodle panel and ‘here’ adds your location.

Signing Up:

You just need an email address.

Privacy Settings:

Difficult to find any information on privacy settings.

Continued below...


Are there any networking sites or apps your kids have had bad experiences with or you're concerned they're using? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Your rating

Average rating

  • 4
(7 ratings)

Your comments

comments powered by Disqus

FREE Newsletter