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Ask KidsPrivacy: How to keep Kik videos private

talking digital logoOne of the challenges for parents and teens is keeping up with all the new features added to apps. A year ago, a parent may have agreed to a simple photo sharing social network. Flash forward a year later and that same app now allows users to share videos and send direct messages. Kik messenger has added many new features over the years including video. Here is the answer to a question I received about recently about privacy and Kik videos.


Q: If someone invites me on Kik what should I do? How can I make a video private on Kik?

A:  A new feature on Kik is the ability for users record videos of up to 15 seconds and share them during a chat. Users can also share videos previously saved on their smartphone. Friends can save shared videos by tapping on the video and choosing save or opening it up on full-screen and choosing the download arrow.

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If you receive a video from someone who you have not chatted with before, their message will first appear in the “New Chats” section. In this section, profile pics are blurred and you cannot see the message until you open it. If you know them, you can start a chat. If you do not, you can delete, block or report them as spam.

Everyone should be skeptical of these new messages. Unfortunately, Kik does have a problem with porn bots. These bots seem to be real people but they are not. These are fake profiles designed to scam people. If an invite looks phony or contains suspicious links, you should mark it as spam and report it to Kik.

As for privacy, Kik is a messaging app that allows the people you are chatting with to see your video. It is not like Instagram or Twitter where a user can have a public account and anyone can see it. Remember, people you are chatting with can save videos and pictures as well as take screenshots of conversations. Kik chats do appear on Instagram, Tumblr and YouTube. Nothing is ever truly private online so always be careful about what you choose to share.

Below are links to a few past posts where I have shared some Kik privacy tips. The key to privacy on Kik is keeping your username off public networks and only sharing your username with friends. Your username is your identity on Kik. Once someone knows or guesses it, they can send you messages. The Kik Help Center is an excellent resource and offers these tips for protecting your username.

  • Turn off Address Book Matching. This will stop Kik from looking for other Kik users in your contact list on your smartphone. Now, only the friends you personally tell will have your username.
  • Choose a username that is not easy to guess by using letters, numbers and special characters.
  • Do not share your username on public social networks like Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram.
  • Keep your username off your social network profile. Even if your account is private on Instagram or Twitter your profile is still public. Never include your Kik username on your profile.

kik logoFor more information on Kik, check out these other blog posts.

 

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What Parents need to know about YouNow

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YouNow is part of the new live streaming trend. The best way to describe YouNow is Live TV with audience participation. Instead of passively watching a video, teens can watch their favorite performer or classmate broadcast live and message them questions or comments. The person responds to them immediately during the live broadcast. YouNow has over 100 million sessions a month. Scrolling through these live broadcasts, I saw many young faces.

Teens appear to dominate YouNow. While teens make up the majority of performers, anyone can watch the live broadcasts without registering. Simply, go to YouNow and click around to watch trending people and topics. It is only if someone wants to take part in the chat or broadcast themselves live do they need to sign up. Teens must sign up through their existing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google+ account. Once they sign up, they create their public profile and start broadcasting.

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Celebrate Internet Safety Month with a Good Book

pibooksIt is June and June is my January. This is when I look back over the past year and make plans for the next. I always kick off summer with a list of new projects. On my list this year, along with organizing photos, is revisiting our family phone contract. With my youngest starting middle school, we will be looking at a new phone and a new contract.

It is fitting that June is Internet Safety Month. NCSA and ConnectSafely are working together to offer tips and strategies for helping families managing technology use. “June is a great time to appreciate the warm weather and to consider how the season impacts our online lives. The Internet greatly enhances our summer experiences as we use technology to plan, enrich and share our activities,” said Michael Kaiser, NCSA’s executive director. “With some smart practices, you can help protect yourself, your family and the extended online community while using the Internet with greater confidence.”

Thankfully, they are a lot of great websites and books to help parents boost their digital parenting confidence. A few weeks ago, I published a list of some of my favorite websites. This week, I have put together a list of digital parenting books. This list is from my Pinterest board. Most of these I have read and a few are on my to read list. These books are full of tips and strategies for all ages. Celebrate Internet Safety Month by adding one of these to your summer reading list. (If you know of a great book I missed, send me the link and I will add it.)

Happy Internet Safety Month!

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Do most Teens have a Smartphone? New Study says Yes

pew study cover 2When my kids were little, I belonged to a co-op preschool. At the co-op, we had monthly parent education meetings. During these meetings, we shared what was going on with our little ones. I usually left feeling relieved that my child was not the only one who could not write their name and had a few strategies for how to make carrots more interesting.

Often I think back to these meetings, when I give my digital parenting presentations. My favorite part is talking with parents and hearing about what is happening in their house. Most parents are asking the same questions. Is my kid the only one who is on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat? Who are they sharing with on all these sites? Does everyone really have a smartphone? Usually, we discover most of our kids are doing similar things. For better or for worse, we are all in the same boat.

Last week, the Pew Research released Teen, Social Media and Technology Overview which answered some of these same questions. Pew Research asked American teens, ages 13-17, about what technology they used, what social networks they frequented and what they were doing online. As I read through this study, I found it reflected what I am seeing and hearing from parents.

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Stressed? 5 Apps to help you Unwind

self introNext week is spring break. When the kids were younger, vacations were simply a chance to do something fun and miss school. I have noticed, as they have gotten older, they need a vacation. With AP classes, extracurricular activities and the fear of missing out, they are dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety. Both of them are looking forward to a week without the social and mental pressures of school.

According to the NIMH, about 8 percent of teens ages 13-18 have an anxiety disorder. Some studies have linked increased anxiety with social media, coining the term Facebook Depression. Whether or not social media contributes to a teen’s anxiety is debatable. What I find interesting is the role technology can play in helping teens with anxiety. We have Fitbits and other wearable technology examining our physical health and now we have apps to help with our mental health.

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