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Social Media Awareness

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photo credit: Highways Agency via photopin cc

Earlier this week I shared a blog post about some of the dangers of SnapChat and how many images were stolen as accounts here hacked.

This week on Facebook, some one shared a link from one of our local school districts. It was a message to parents and the community about some misuse of social media and also some of the dangers of some of those outlets. The article references a couple of social media outlets that allow users to remain anonymous as they post and communicate with others. It’s another example of how both parents and students need to be aware of how social media is used and to be wise in what is posted.

Here’s a copy of the article that your can read on the Wayne Local Schools website.

This week there has been widespread misuse of social media in our schools and community. The content of related messages has been nothing short of disappointing. For this reason we want to bring your attention to a couple of concerning apps called “Yik Yak” and “Ask.fm.”

Part of Yik Yak and Ask.fm’s allure besides the fact that it lets kids communicate with one another; users are anonymous. Users do not have to establish a profile or password. Yik Yak uses GPS location data to bring comments to a user’s feed from other users nearby. In other words, it enables and encourages communities to share information within a geographical boundary. Unfortunately the anonymity of these posts allows individuals who may have malicious intent to write comments about others that may be hurtful, harassing and possibly disturbing. This week this advent in technology created a social media phenomenon we have never seen in Waynesville; for this reason the school district has worked to block Yik Yak from being accessed via our internet network. Additionally we made contact with the company and requested a “geo fence” be placed around our schools; which restricts access to the app or site when a device is in locations identified as schools. This however does not address the issue of misuse outside of predefined geographic boundaries. The founders of Yik Yak have stated, “It’s disheartening to see our app being used in an unintended way.”

Awareness of one’s digital footprint and digital citizenship, for that matter extends across all actions online and off. For example, nearly every social network requires users to confirm their real age before downloading. In the case of Yik Yak, a push notification appears asking users to confirm they’re older than 17 before using the app. Yet many kids under 17 have downloaded and may continue to download this app and others. Remind kids that lying is as damaging to their digital reputation as it is to their offline one.

Parents and students need to be aware that anonymity is an illusion in the digital world. Hiding behind an app like Yik Yak will not prevent criminal charges or school discipline when students make anonymous comments or threats.

We will continue our efforts to educate our students regarding appropriate behavior and the treatment of others, both in the traditional sense and in the context of existing and new technologies. We urge parents to partner with us in addressing this important issue. Here are some suggested steps:

• Check your child’s phones for apps such as Yik Yak, Ask.fm, Snapchat, Kik, Whisper and Tinder, among others.

• Review the settings on your children’s phones and consider blocking apps not rated as age appropriate. For instance, Yik Yak is rated for ages 17+ so if you choose to restrict based on your child’s age; most will not be able to access this app. If they have an iOS device: Go to “settings,” select “general” and tap “enable restrictions.” You can set restrictions for “installing apps” and “in-app purchases.”

• Some kids are really good at getting around device settings. So set rules and get familiar or cyber-wise about what they’re up to online so you can see if your rules are being followed. Software such as SpectorSoft records and replays all of your child’s internet activity and provides a detailed report.

• Have a discussion with your child regarding the respectful treatment of others and to expect respectful treatment in return. The mistreatment and disrespect of others, whether in person or through anonymous means, is never acceptable.

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Cell Phone Usage Infographic

I think these infographics are a cool way to share information. I saw this one today on Youth Ministry Media and it shows how cell phones are being used today. The numbers are pretty astounding when you read them. For example:

  • Two Hundred Trillion Text Messages are received in America Every Single Day  – every day!
  • 3339 – Average Number of Texts Sent Each Month by an American Teen – that’s a lot!
  • 83% of Teens Use Cell Phones to Take Pictures – images more powerful than words?

The article underscores that cell phones are a part of our culture (especially for teens) and raises the question how we use texting (and other social media outlets) to communicate.

Check it out::

How-We-Use-Our-Phones-525x2842

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Images over Words

snapchatSeveral weeks ago I posted about the growth of Instagram and how it surpassed Twitter in number of users. It appears that people prefer images over words.

After meeting with a group of junior high students, Tim Elmore found that trend is showing up in how teens communicate with each other. Text messaging is being replaced by apps that allow teens to share images.

Here’s a small portion of what he posted on May 6th about the growth of images over words.

Snapchat — an app that allows users to send photos to one another that disappear after a few seconds—has taken over many teen’s portable devices. So has Instagram. It may well be the future of phone interaction. Just like Facebook, once parents and teachers began to figure out how to use text messaging, students were bound to find new ways to communicate.

It wasn’t that long ago I reported to readers that teens today send about 3,000 texts a month, or about a hundred a day. That’s changing now. And not just for teens but for all ages. As a whole, people are texting less now than we used to. According to Chetan Sharma Consulting, “The average U.S. cell phone user sends about 628 text messages per quarter, down 8 percent from a year ago.”

Technology and communication are ever-changing. We’ve gone from land line to cell phone to email to MySpace to Facebook to Twitter to Snapchat and other forms of staying connected. For those who work with students, it’s interesting to see where the trends go.

What do you see students using to communicate with each other?

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Instagram Fastest Growing App in ’13

instagramLast week I posted about how Facebook may not be dying in the world of social media. While people are using Twitter and other social media tools, Facebook still has a strong presence.

Then, last week, I saw this article on MediaPost.com informing us that Instagram was the fastest growing app in 2013. Twitter, which has 30.7 million users, was the 10th fastest growing.  It seems that people prefer posting images over words with an average of 103.4 million unique visitors on IG last year.

It can be a challenge trying to keep up with the various ways people, including our own children and student in our churches, communicate with each other.  I think it is interesting to see what apps are not only popular, but continue to be used over the course of time.

Here is the full article posted on MediaPost.com.

Facebook was the No. 1 app overall in 2013, but its photo-sharing subsidiary Instagram was the fastest-growing app among the top 10.

With an average of 103.4 million unique visitors last year between January and October, Facebook had easily the largest U.S. audience of any app, with traffic up 27% from 2012. But that growth rate paled in comparison to Instagram — acquired by the social network in 2012 for $1 billion — which saw its app audience surge 66% to 32 million last year, according to Nielsen data.

That’s partly a result of starting from a smaller base, but the comparison with Facebook won’t do anything to dispel the growing perception that the growth in social media — especially among teens — is shifting to single-purpose or messaging apps, including Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Whisper and others.

Instagram also outpaced Twitter, the No. 10 app that grew 36% to 30.7 million last year. How Instagram’s growth translates into ad sales should start to become clear this year, with advertising in the app just launched at the end of 2013. In a recent research note, JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth suggested, however, that advertising will continue to roll out slowly on Instagram this year, not contributing significantly to Facebook’s overall revenue.

Close on Instagram’s heels in terms of growth was Apple’s Maps app (No. 8), which increased its audience 64% to nearly 32 million. That gain highlights Apple’s success in luring back irate users after its disastrous launch in iOS 6 in 2012. That isn’t to say it can match the cross-platform reach of Google Maps, which last year boasted 68.6 million uniques, reflecting 14% growth.

Indeed, Google apps — which also include Search, Play YouTube and Gmail — made up half the top 10 apps in 2013, pointing to the ubiquity of the Android OS. The Google platform ran on more than half (52%) of U.S. smartphones in November, according to the latest market share data from comScore.

The increase in mobile adoption overall drove down desktop traffic in 2013 compared to the prior year for each of the top 10 Web sites, according to Nielsen. Google — the No. 1 site, with an average online audience of 164.8 million last year — saw traffic drop 6%, while Facebook’s fell 16% to 135 million, and Yahoo’s 9% to 129.8 million.

Among the top 10, the Ask Search Network suffered the biggest decline, falling 16% to 64.2 million. YouTube, the top video site in 2013, also saw a dip in its audience — slipping 6% from 2012 to 128.4 million, but still far ahead of No. 2 Vevo, with 37.2 million, down 9%. No. 3 video property Yahoo saw traffic fall 8% to 35.4 million.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Facebook Dying? Maybe not.

facebook logoOne of the challenges that many youth workers face is staying connected and sharing information with parents and students. While there are a number of ways to do that, which one is best? For example, texting is used by a lot of people…but not everyone texts. Many utilize email, but not everyone who has it even checks it.

I know in talking with students that many of them have abandoned Facebook and use Twitter a lot. That lead to conversations that perhaps Facebook is on its way out. Then, I saw this article at Youth Ministry Media that points to the fact that Facebook is still a heavy hitter in the world of social media.

They shared this infographic which shows the power of Facebook. Here are the observations they made. I found it pretty interesting.

1. 1.26 billion people used it in the third quarter last year. This is crazy. That means that 1 in every 7 people on the planet used facebook.

2. There are over 800 million mobile users.

3. 83% of 18-29 year olds use facebook.

What are your thoughts?

Facebook Infographic

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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How Teens Use Cell Phones

Youth Ministry Media shares infographics about teenagers and technology.  The recent posting, Teens Cell Phone Usage, provides some interesting information.

A few things I noticed:

1) 75% of 12-17 year olds have a cell phone

2) Teens send/receive 2,108 texts a month (wonder how that stacks up against youth workers?)

3) 70% received a text from someone not in their contacts.

There is some good info for parents, too.  I am a big fan of texting as a tool to stay in touch with both teens and adults.  Good to see how it is being used and also to be aware of how we need to be cautious.

teens-cellphone-usage

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Popularity of Cell Phones

I saw an article today titled “Why Cell Phones Matter in Youth Ministry” on the Youth Ministry Media website.

They shared an interesting infographic about the growth of cell phones over the past few years. For example, worldwide there are 2 phones for every 3 people. That’s pretty amazing.

Here’s the infographic they posted. Interesting info.

mobile-phones-infographic

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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