While this Tech Tidbit is geared more for Middle School parents, since many Lower School students have personal phones or will soon, it is a good read for any Westside School parent.
One of the most interesting and scariest posts I have come across recently is an article put out by the non-profit, EducationEmpowerKids. The article is titled The Most Dangerous Apps of 2015 and includes a list of apps that have the potential to be used inappropriately by youth. As a parent and teacher who feels up-to-date, it was disconcerting to learn about apps that allow students to hide photos, texts and videos on their phone. While many of the apps listed can actually be worthwhile and effective, they can also be easily used for the wrong purposes (like bullying or hiding information.)
For example, Private Photo (Calculator %) – is an app that allows the user to hide photos making it look like it is a calculator.
While Westside School student iPads have safeguards which do not allow them to download new apps without a teacher approval and password, many students have personal phones and iPads at home. It is important for parents to know what apps are popular, the potential negative uses of apps, and what their child has downloaded on their devices. It is also a great opportunity to discuss with your child about using apps and their phones appropriately and responsibly.
Here are some tips EducationEmpowerKids gives to parents on how to talk to their child about apps.
*BE THE PARENT. Don’t allow your child to roam free in the dangerous and unhealthy environments many of these apps provide. Click on any apps you don’t recognize on your child’s phone.
*Discuss the hidden dangers of social media teens may not recognize. On many live streaming videos, tweens and teens can be seen giving out their full names and the city and state in which they live. Kids need to be taught not to over share on the Internet.
*Set restrictions on their cell phones and check the phone often
*Internet filters are also a great option. But no filter will stop everything; so establishing yourself as someone your teen can talk to is vital.