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Common Social Media Apps Beyond Facebook and Twitter

Common Social Media Apps Beyond Facebook and Twitter

A guide to common social media apps kids are using beyond Facebook and Twitter

Kik, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, Yik Yak, Periscope—trying to keep track of all the apps your teen or tween may be using can seem like a fruitless endeavor. Here are some basic facts about the most popular social media platforms right now:


This photo-sharing app allows you to document your life one picture or video at a time. Throw on a pretty filter and add a funny caption, and you’ve got a successful post. Following friends, family, and celebrities offers you a curated feed of what they’ve posted. By default, your Instagram profile and pictures are public and able to be viewed by anyone. But it is possible to limit views to only those people who are approved by the user. Tagging your photo with where it was taken also allows people who search for that location to see it, so parents should be wary of their kids giving out that sensitive information.


Snapchat is a way to stay in touch with friends that seems more casual and fleeting than a permanent social media post. Users can take pictures and add captions, drawings, and funny stickers before sending it to specific friends or posting it to their Snapchat “story.” The user chooses the amount of time for which their friend will be able to view the snap, from one to 10 seconds, before it disappears. Snaps collected in your story will be visible to an audience that you can regulate for 24 hours only. It’s important to remember that nothing on the Internet truly disappears; it’s possible to save snaps with a screenshot or other apps. Parents should encourage good judgment and explain the ramifications of an unflattering screenshot.


For those who want an alternative to basic text messaging, Kik offers a wide range of options for kids to keep in touch. The free texting app has no message limits, allowing users to get around the restrictions of their cellphone plan. Downloading apps within Kik allows users to get creative with their messaging and send drawings and videos. You don’t have to tie your account to your phone number, as only a username is necessary to sign up. Parents should be wary of the ease with which strangers can potentially contact any username. Messages are contained within the app, potentially hindering parents’ ability to check them.

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Periscope is a live-streaming video app that connects users from around the world. Using just your phone, you can offer your audience a live glimpse into your life. Broadcasts are public by default, although you can choose to make them private and invite specific people. Periscope also relies on users to police content on the app; inappropriate content is regularly shared by people around the world. As always, it should be understood that everything posted on the Internet can be saved; Periscope streams can be recorded by anyone watching.

Yik Yak

This anonymous chat app is geographically based, allowing users to share messages with people near their location. Yik Yak uses GPS to identify where the user is, and that location can be seen by others unless you turn that feature off. The anonymity leads many users to post gossip about people and events in the local area without repercussions. The app developers have to comply with law enforcement, so posts that include threats of violence are not guaranteed to stay anonymous forever.

For a more comprehensive list of trending apps, visit        


Kids & Social Media: Navigating the World of Apps

Put the smartphone down and hang out with your kids!