Vine is the video app to watch. Twitter launched Vine in January and it now has over 40 million users. Vine sits at #10 on iTunes free app chart, right behind Instagram. What makes Vine different from other video apps is it has no special tricks, just sharing 6 seconds of video on a continuous loop. Vine has all sorts of videos ranging from the humorous and clever to the silly and stupid and finally the terribly offensive.
Vine takes after its founder Twitter; it is Twitter with video. One of the reasons, I think teens like it is there is no pressure to make a masterpiece. Vine has no special filters or editing tools, teens record 6 seconds of anything and either post it or delete it.
Like Twitter, Vine is a social network where you have followers and people you are following. Your followers can comment on or like your videos. Videos can be shared widely by revining them or posting them to Facebook or Twitter.
All Vine accounts are automatically public. This means, anyone can see your profile and videos and anyone can share them and post them outside of Vine. Now, you can choose to have a protected account. With a protected account, your videos are visible only to your approved followers and only you can share your videos. Users cannot choose to make some videos private and some public. Like Twitter, it is all or nothing. Continue reading
One of the best sites around for families is Commonsense Media. I am always on their website reading app reviews or catching up with Caroline Knorr’s Q&A. Besides helping parents, Commonsense Media also works with schools. One of their popular school programs for grades 3-5 is the “Digital Passport for Kids” app. This summer, Commonsense Media, in partnership with Time Warner Media, is making this app available for free to everyone.
The Digital Passport for Kids app teaches kids about being responsible online. The app starts with an introduction on how to create strong passwords. After the intro, kids can choose from 5 different scenarios. Each scenario begins with a video that features a kid telling their story about a problem they had online and how they solved it. After the story, kids play a game that reinforces what they learned from the video. Kids can complete the scenarios in any order. When they finish all of them, they earn a Digital Passport to online safety.
Both my 3rd grader and 5th grader played with this app. Overall, they thought the videos were “OK”. The games were definitely the highlight. Both commented, “that the games were actually games and not hidden quizzes.” They wanted to play the games over and over. My 3rd grader’s favorite was Search Shark and my 5th grader’s favorite was Twalkers. These games are more than just fun. After playing each game, they both learned some important online lessons.
Occasionally I have a week where my friends are all asking about one particular website or app. I had a MyYearbook week followed by an Instagram week. This week it was Kik. “Have you heard of Kik? What is Kik? What do I need to know about Kik?”
Kik is a free mobile messenger app. With this app, kids can text friends who are also using Kik. Kids love Kik because it is more than typing messages. They can add videos and pictures to their text. They can also send Kik cards. These cards let them include YouTube videos, GIFs, or their own drawings in their conversations.
Kik is a fun way to communicate with friends. The problem is some kids share their private Kik username on public social networks. Kids post their Kik username on their Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr pages. Once someone knows their username, anyone can send them a message.
This app is especially popular among younger teens who have a limited texting plan or only an iPod Touch. By downloading this app, they have free messaging. Although a great deal financially, parents should know this app is aimed at older teens.
What do parents need to know about Kik?
- The new version of Kik is rated +17 in iTunes. With the recent addition of Kik Cards, kids can now share YouTube videos, images, Reddit pics and GIFs, and create sketches. The ability to share any type of content raised its rating from 12+ to 17+.