Social Media

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Facebook is the Most Popular Social Site For Everyone But Teens

The number of Americans who use Facebook will reach 169.5 million in 2018, making it the most popular social site among all ages, except for teenagers, who prefer Snapchat, eMarketer reports. Some 16.4 million Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 will use Snapchat this year, compared with 12.8 million who will use Instagram, and Snapchat will remain the most popular social site for teens.

Should You Digitally Track Your Teen?

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that while most parents don’t track the locations of their 13- to 17-year-olds, a full 16 percent do. Where do you stand on the issue? Before you make up your mind, you might want to read an article from The New York Times Family section entitled Should You Track Your Teen’s Location? that poses an interesting question: how do you learn to take care of yourself if you know someone else is always watching?

Turning Off Social Media – Generation Z

It seems that some members of Generation Z are abandoning some social media platforms or are considering doing so. Several teenagers interviewed for an article in The Guardian said they stopped using social media because they were tired of presenting a false persona on platforms such as Instagram or watching others being bullied online. Is this a trend or an aberration?

How Many of Those Facebook Friends are Real Friends?

Despite having hundreds of "friends" on social media, people can effectively maintain only about 150 acquaintances, says Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Oxford in an article in the Scientific American magazine. Beyond that larger group, research shows people can maintain about five intimate relationships and 15 close friends.

Digital “Time Well Spent” Movement Spawns New App Features

YouTube is the latest of many digital platforms giving momentum to the industry-wide time well-spent movement, an initiative that aims to help people reduce the amount of time they spend looking at their phones and scrolling through their social media feeds. YouTube is rolling out more features designed to help users “take charge” of their digital well-being. The ‘Watch History’ screen within a YouTube profile’s account will show how much time the user has spent on the app that day, the previous day and over the past seven days. This latest feature comes after YouTube released the option for users to set a timer that would remind them to take a break from the app, a feature that was first introduced in the YouTube Kids app.

Similarly, Apple and Google both recently announced a range of functions designed to help users monitor the amount of time they spend on their iOS and Android devices, and Instagram just released a “You’re all caught up” message to notify users when they have seen every post in their feed from the last 48 hours. In August, Facebook announced it would be rolling out activity dashboards for both Facebook and Instagram where users could track the amount of time they spend on the apps.

Should Schools Track What Students Type?

As reported by Quartz, some schools are tracking, word for word, anything an individual student types on a school computer using safety management platforms (SMPs), such as Gaggle, Securly, and GoGuardian. These platforms use natural language to scan each document looking for words or phrases that might indicate bullying, violent or self-harm behavior, sending flagged documents to a team of humans to review. The practice, however, is raising questions about how to balance school safety and students' privacy. Critics say that this kind of surveillance, even if students understand this kind of scrutiny is in place, normalizes a “Big Brother” state depriving students of the chance to control their own data. How is your school handling this issue?

STOPit App Fights Cyberbullying

While schools shouldn't rely solely on an app to fight cyberbullying and create a positive, supportive culture among their students, the STOPit app is a new tool being used by some districts this fall. A simple design and setup make it easy to get help quickly, especially for cyberbullying issues. On the app, students can anonymously report any bullying, self-harm, or violence concerns. A school administrator on the receiving end can then respond to address the issue. As some administrators point out, kids are often more comfortable reporting issues using technology rather than face-to-face.

Your School’s Social Media Policy

Getting parental input in creating a social media policy will allow schools to support the proper use of social networks and guard against potential privacy violations, writes Common Sense Media's Jeff Knutson in a commentary in T.H.E. Journal. Knutson outlines important things to include when drafting such a policy, such as parent opt-out forms and establishing teacher and student guidelines for protecting and respecting student privacy.

How to Keep Facebook From Bringing Back Bad Memories

Facebook’s “Memories” feature is a cute way to reminisce on fun times and take a look back at how your children have grown over the years, but what about those posts (or people) you don’t want to remember?

To filter out someone you don’t wish to see in these nostalgia posts, point your browser to When you land on the page, click the Preferences button. In the box that appears, click the Edit button next to People and enter the names you wish to filter out. You can also filter out events on certain dates.

Snapchat’s Teen Partners

Snapchat is ramping up its partnership with Fanbytes, a London-based startup that works with teen creators. Four Fanbytes’ channels on the platform will now be featured on Discover. The channels already attract daily views of between 1.7 million and 8 million, according to CEO Timothy Armoo. In an article on Digiday, Armoo explains their appeal, saying "it's all driven by 15-, 16-year-olds who understand this audience way better than the 35-year-olds at the other corporations who don't understand the DNA of how young people engage with content."