Posting pictures of yourself may seem like a strange way to spend 48 minutes a day (the average amount of time 16-24 year old women in Australia spend per day, according to a recent survey), but you’d be hard-pressed to find a teen who isn’t documenting their daily existence with a series of front-facing camera snaps. So how do you keep your kids safe while living in Generation Selfie?
A 2014 Texas study found that 28% of teens surveyed had sent naked pictures of themselves via social media and 60% had been asked for one. That is in itself cause for concern, but it becomes far more worrisome when you consider that the majority of revenge porn suspects are former partners.
So what exactly is “revenge porn” and how could it affect your children? In its simplest terms, revenge porn is where naked or simply suggestive photos meant for one person are then published publically, often post-breakup. Even worse, the images are often accompanied by the person’s name and even contact information.
Think it couldn’t happen to your family? Experts reveal that it’s not only becoming rampant, but it’s also on the rise.
Stay-Safe Strategy: Connect to every photo your teen uploads from all of their mobile devices to social media sites with Forcefield’s Photo Report. With the Photo Report, you can link to your kids’ social media accounts, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr. Any time they upload an image from any of their devices to any of these social media sites, you’ll receive a copy of that photo on your Activity Report. By letting your children know that you’ll be copied on these images, you can help them develop an internal pause button before they hit “send” on any image.
Many social media apps, such as Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter, have public default settings. What does this mean? When your child downloads these apps onto their mobile devices and begins to upload images, these images will have geolocation information embedded into them.
Stay-Safe Strategy: Check our Guide to Safe Social Media Settings to make sure strangers can’t contact or locate your kids through social media apps.
Taking selfies can be dangerous at any time, but it is most life-threatening when teens are behind the wheel. Shockingly, taking selfies while driving is even encouraged by certain apps, such as Snapchat, which has a “speed filter” feature that lets drivers register how fast they’re going while taking selfies. (No, we’re not kidding.) The results are far from surprising, leading to deaths as people clock in at over-100mph speeds while taking selfies.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, at any given moment during any given day, 660,000 people are using their phones while they drive. Four in 10 of those people are on social media. Fourteen percent of those people are on Instagram, and posting selfies with imbecilic hashtags like #HopeIDon’tDie.
And it doesn’t end there. In 2015, there was the highest number of car crash fatalities in the United States in 50 years. It’s a sobering statistic from the National Safety Council. Overall, estimates reveal that car-related fatalities were up 8% in 2015 over the previous year, resulting in more than 8,000 deaths and 4.4 million serious injuries. The culprit many believe, is distracted driving.
It’s a trend compounded by many teenager’s belief that the dangers of “texting and driving” don’t include tasks, such as taking selfies while on the road.
Stay-Safe Strategy: Use Forcefield’s App Sleeper to make sure your child’s camera and all other social media apps are turned off on their phone when they’re behind the wheel. With the App Sleeper, the phone feature is still available so they can stay connected.
Using the App Sleeper is easy: From Forcefield’s Parent App or Parent Dashboard, simply select which child, select the App Sleeper, and sleep apps for however long your child will be on the road. Use the App Sleeper Timer and choose a period of time. When it’s up, apps will automatically awaken on your child’s mobile device.
Although we as parents might not understand why our kids want to take photos of themselves at all hours of the day, keeping them safe in a selfie-obsessed world is possible. And now more than ever, talking to your kids about the what and when of sharing images is a critical component of parenting.