Collaboration and Communication Apps Review
Are your students using social media apps? If they have a cell phone with internet or Wi-Fi access, they most likely are. Apps can provide unlimited entertainment to our tech-savvy children, but they should be used with caution. Please find below some information about two of the more popular apps – TikTok and Instagram: the good, the bad, and the precautionary.
App # 1- TikTok
History: TikTok was launched in 2016 by the Chinese company ByteDance. Its intended audience was a younger generation with a short attention span. Videos are only fifteen to sixty seconds, usually incorporate music or dancing, and can be recorded by most cellphones. Even the name “TikTok” was meant to suggest something short. Today, TikTok is worth a reported $50 billion, and has garnered attention from global media giants seeking to expand their market. Chipotle, e.l.f. Cosmetics and the NBA have all gained millions of followers by producing short, quirky videos that attract billions of views. TikTok has even found its way into therapy sessions, as music and dance are suggested elements for easing depression symptoms.
- TikTok has been banned in some countries because of "pornography, inappropriate content, and blasphemy” Supposedly, TikTok has offered to clean up the site and have more stringent monitoring of content, but if a video slips by, the damage could already be done on impressionable, young viewers.
- Parental monitoring is always the best avenue for steering young people away from what one might find as questionable content.
- Like all social media platforms, TikTok gathers information for their own use. By accepting their user agreement, your child is agreeing to this use. However, TikTok was recently cited for this practice, and in 2019, it was forced to pay a $5.7 million fine to the United States for “collecting personal information from children.”
- Apparently, parents can block specific keywords and particular accounts, but TikTok is popular with all age groups. Often the videos are of people lipsyncing to contemporary music, which may involve inappropriate language or gestures.
- Fortunately, there is a version of TikTok for children under 13, where they can take advantage of the editing features to create videos; they just can’t post them.
- As a creative outlet, parents could incorporate more age-appropriate subjects. One mother reported that her 11-year old daughter loves to create videos featuring her American Girl dolls. One would be hard-pressed to find fault with that content.
Here is a link to a resource that may be helpful:
What is TikTok? And is it safe? A guide for clueless parents (nbcnews.com)
App # 2- Instagram
History: Instagram is a “wildly popular” social media platform designed to share pictures and videos. Visually appealing, Instagram has garnered a world-wide audience with over one billion registered accounts (businessinsider.com). Instagram is photo dependent: users can upload photographs, edit them with various editing devices, and then “tag” locations and friends. Users can choose to follow accounts or allow people to follow them.
- Avid users can become obsessed with gaining followers and “likes”- recognition and approval from friends or random strangers.
- Some users even employ “deceptive like-seeking behaviors, which involve manipulative and deceitful acts to gain attention (e.g., buying followers, and digitally modifying one's physical appearance in photos).”
- Engaging in these deceptive practices or attempting to compete with the norms established by this platform can lead to reduced feelings of social acceptance or reduced measures of self-esteem.
- Instagram use has coined new terminology like FOMO – or Fear of Missing Out – exasperated by the constant bombardment of social media pictures showing people having more fun than the observer (verywellmind.com).
- Although teachers may want to use Instagram to share creatively styled pictures of exotic locations, parents need to caution their children that Instagram is usually a highlight reel, and rarely do people post the behind-the-scenes activities that are not “post” worthy.
For more information, please refer to the following sites:
Professional sources used:
Dumas, T. M., Maxwell-Smith, M. A., Tremblay, P. F., Litt, D. M., & Ellis, W. (2020). Gaining likes, but at what cost? Longitudinal relations between young adults’ deceptive like-seeking on Instagram, peer belonging and self-esteem. Computers in Human Behavior, 112, 106467. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2020.106467
Situmorang, Dominikus David Biondi SPd, MPd, MSi, CT, CPS, CBNLP Using TikTok App for Therapy and Sharing Happiness in COVID-19 Outbreak, Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment: March 17, 2021 - Volume - Issue - doi: 10.1097/ADT.0000000000000255
- Sarah Ball