If social media can influence an election, then maybe it’s time to realize that they can just as easily influence your teenage son or daughter’s behavior.
As parents what we don’t often understand is the dark side of technology. Apps today are designed in a way not only subverts parents’ rights. They regularly violate personal privacy and place our kids at risk.
Assuming you are one of those parents that are in the know and you’re “following” your child, keep in mind if kids don’t want you to see something, they’ll find a loophole.
Have you ever heard of a Finsta account? You may be wondering, what the heck is a “finsta”? No, it’s not the latest new app. Finsta refers to a fake Instagram account. Just add “F” to “Instagram” for “Finstagram” and shorten that to “Finsta”.
A finsta is a second Instagram account used for sharing with a smaller circle of followers. A finsta is usually a private Instagram account. While a teen’s primary account might also be private, a finsta is for close friends only. Only your BFF’s, or your baes.
So, what’s the big deal and why are kids even creating Finstas? Having a finsta account or second Instagram gives them a place to share objectionable pictures, inside stories and rants, or anything not meant for public consumption. It’s a place to share with their closest friends and at the same time hide their social media activity from parents. – sorry kids, you’ve just been outed.
So….as Instagram has the opportunity for “finstas” Snapchat also has a feature that allows users to create “private stories”. This is where the user selects a group of people and only they will be about to see their story that lasts 24 hours.
For all you Facebook Market place moms out there, Snapchat can also be used as a platform to sell and buy items. Bad thing is those items for teens can be sexually explicit content and or drugs!
Let’s talk about how Snapchat provides the platform for drugs… Dealers can post to their stories or send out mass snapchats of the products they are selling. Typically, Vapes, Cartridges, Molly, Perks, Zanex, large quantities of marijuana including the strain, pills, edibles, etc. These stories only last 24 hours whereas individually sent snaps disappear after it is viewed. When trying to catch these Snapchat drug dealers, Snapchat themselves has a feature that notifies the dealers when snaps/stories are screenshotted. This tips the dealers off and the good kids reporting it are now seen as narcs. Dealers just report their account as hacked and move on, start up a new one and keep on going.
I found that as alarming as it is that Snapchat allows for drugs to be sold on their platform, it is even more disturbing that they provide a platform for sexually explicit content to be shared. Snapchat is being used to sell explicit images and videos online. Premium snapchat accounts are commonly used to share sexual content in return for cash. With predators lurking teens may not see the risk. Internet safety is something that most teens laugh at nowadays because they believe that they are more knowledgeable of today’s technology.
With Internet crimes against children on the rise these Apps can have serious risks that parents need to be aware of. Technology is a privilege that parents shouldn’t let their kids abuse.
I am writing this so parent can become as educated as their children because let’s be real, your kids are not going to give away their secrets around technology. Know the app’s your children are using.
To Be Continued…