10 Social Networking Sites Teens are Using

These social networking sites allow teens to connect with friends and strangers alike.
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Today's teens spend a whopping 7 1/2 hours each day in front of a screen, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Much of that time is spent chatting with friends on social networking sites.

It's important to educate yourself about which social media sites your teen is using so you can establish clear rules and guidelines to keep your teen safe. Teens who don't understand the dangers of social networking may experience serious consequences, ranging from cyberbullying to victimization from sexual predators.

Here are the top 10 most popular networking sites today's teens are using:

1. WeChat

WeChat originated in China but has quickly spread to teens all over the globe. WeChat allows teens to connect with people who are located within a close geographical area. One unique feature of WeChat is that teens can shake their smartphones and connect with other people who are also shaking their phones. It’s a plus for people who are bored and looking to start up conversations with others, but on the downside, it encourages teens to talk to strangers which obviously poses safety risks.

2. Vine

Vine is a video sharing app. All videos on Vine must be six seconds or less. Often, a series of pictures are used to create a short video. These short videos continue to play in a continuous loop. Teens can scroll through friends’ vines to view their latest clips.

3. Instagram

Instagram is a social networking site that allows users to share photos and short videos.

Teens can upload photos effortlessly from their smartphones and then share them instantly over other social networking sites, like Twitter and Facebook. One of the criticisms people have had about Instagram is that despite warnings, many people use the site to post illegal or inappropriate content.

4. Snapchat

Like many other social media sites, Snapchat allows users to send photos, videos, and graphics to chosen recipients. What makes Snapchat unique is that users control how long recipients can view the message, which is usually between 1 and 10 seconds. After the time has expired, the message disappears from the recipient’s device and is deleted from Snapchat servers.

Snapchat raises many concerns because some teens are using it to send nude photos because they believe once a photo disappears, it is gone forever. But recipients often find ways to retain the 'disappearing' photos.

5. Flickr

Flickr is another video and photo hosting site. Users can grant other people access to their pages and they’re encouraged to create common files that allow anyone to view and share photos. Flickr has received some criticism due to questions about copyright issues.

6. Skype

Skype allows teens to communicate with one another via live video. Although it can be used for educational purposes and to allow teens to communicate easily with friends, it can also lead to many unsafe behaviors.

Predators often try to chat with teens via Skype and attempt to get them to perform sexualized behavior over their webcams.

7. YouTube

YouTube is an online video sharing website. Users share everything from homemade music videos to sporting event footage. Many teens post videos on YouTube, which raises privacy and safety concerns.

8. Twitter

Twitter is a microblogging site where teens can share “tweets,” which are messages up to 140 characters in length. By default, tweets are public, but users can set their messages to private only. Teens can follow their friends, favorite celebrities, or commercial companies. One of the potential issues with teens on Twitter has been that teens use it to bully one another.

9. Tumblr

Tumblr is a social networking site that allows teens to write a short-form blog. They can include multi-media content and text. Tumblr has received criticism for the large amount of pornography on the site. Many teens post a lot of private information on Tumblr, which can lead to privacy issues.

10. Facebook

Although Facebook has lost some popularity among teens, many teens continue to use Facebook to post messages, videos, and photos. Facebook has led to privacy concerns because many teens are posting private information that shouldn't be shared publicly on social media.

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