I wrote this blog last spring. But in the last two weeks I have had several calls from parents who found their teens on these apps with scary consequences, so I thought I would re-post. Please check your teen's apps and have them explain to you what is on their phone and why. These apps should not be there!!!!!!
Meerkat, Periscope, and YouKnow ...Do you know? Honestly keeping up with the latest and greatest new app has become almost a full time job. Here's the scoop, these three apps take video chat to a new high. YouNow is a live streaming video app, as are the other two. But what makes YouNow unique is that it allows live interaction. So I download this app, and I am now immediately connected to anyone else who has downloaded this app and is on it at the same time I am. Tweens and teens are loving this, better than TV, better than movies, I can see live and in person and talk to these other live and in person people whoever and wherever they are. And If I really like them, I can "tip" them with fan points, that I can buy with real money (really your money) to show how much I like them, and maybe they might do the same for me. Live video+ money incentive + impulsive teens is a dangerous combination.
Meerkat and Periscope are also live streaming but lack the ability to interact in real time. Read the two articles below, these are written by parents who have a better understanding of all this technology than I do. But what I do know is that teens are loving this!!! At best these are additional distractions from living in the real world, and at the worst are opportunities for potential bullying, secret tapings of someone for public broadcast (think taping a drunk friend at a party making a fool of themselves not knowing that are being viewed by an audience of voracious voyeurs) and opportunities for "meeting" unsavory people.
When is the last time you checked the apps that are on your teen phones! If you are not the app CEO of your teen's phone, this should be a weekly activity that you and your teen do together. Making sure that you are aware of what your teen is participating in, and discussing the real world implications of these apps. I continue to recommend that parents be the gatekeepers of teen downloads, by creating a private password (not apple ID)on your teen's phone by going to settings, then general then enter a password, which takes you to a screen where it allows you to disable a whole menu of things like installing apps, preventing purchases, and tons of other things. Exercise your option for keeping your teen safe and engaged in the REAL world, not the Virtual one.