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Disappearing Apps and Your Teens

Many parents have read the recent headlines about how our children are deserting Facebook in an effort to find new social media hangouts away from our prying eyes. Our kids’ desires to keep mom and dad in the dark about their online activity has led to a bumper crop of new social media apps and sites flooding the market. Staying in the loop can be daunting, but a good place to start is the world of disappearing messaging apps.

Disappearing Apps and Your Teens

Social Media’s Rising Stars: Disappearing Apps

Disappearing messaging apps feature messages and posts that automatically erase after being viewed. These self-destructing messages offer solid alternatives to the traditional social media sites that produce a long running list of every post, like, comment, or message. Our children are embracing many of these new outlets that include Snapchat, Line, Wickr, Ask.fm, and Burn Note. These sites allow our kids to enjoy the freedom of authentic communication without judgments or fears that their posts will become public.

Unfortunately, the liberating nature of these apps can result in some very dangerous cyberbullying or sexting scenarios. While disappearing apps remove the pressure to maintain a stellar digital footprint, it also might encourage children to write hurtful comments or share inappropriate images with no accountability. Many parents have heard about the woes facing Snapchat and Ask.fm users, but one app that may have flown in under our radars is Burn Note.

The Ins And Outs Of Burn Note

Burn Note is a disappearing messaging app that highlights portions of a message while being viewed before self-destructing. By only allowing bits of the message to be seen at a time, this app helps reduce the risk that unintended viewers will have access to the information. It was originally created for businesses to keep emails and other sensitive messages private in response to the epidemic of messages being seen, forwarded, or shared by people the content was not originally intended for. For that reason, all Burn Notes will completely disappear after they are viewed and our kids relish this feature.

Disappearing Apps: 5 Essential Tips For Parents

While Burn Note might be the ideal vehicle for sharing Friday night plans, this app and it’s other disappearing app siblings can present our sons and daughters with a set of unique problems. While disappearing apps fulfill a purpose in their social media arsenal, it is ultimately our responsibility to empower our children with the skills needed to safely enjoy and handle these new social media applications so they don’t get burned down the road.

Listed below are five suggestions to keep our kids safely enjoying Burn Note and other dangerous disappearing apps:

  • Educate our children on proper social media etiquette. Starting early, when our children are young, is the key to developing a strong moral sense of the right and wrong to use technology. As our sons and daughters age, we need to include tougher subjects like cyberbullying, sexting, and oversharing.
  • Stress the “grandma rule”. Encourage children to only share messages and comments that they would feel comfortable with their grandparents stumbling across. If it would make nana blush, it probably isn’t a wise choice. Even if a post will disappear, people have found ways to screenshot or share these messages.
  • If a child is experiencing cyberbullying, sit down to open and read all messages together. Offer your child support and document all bullying messages. Proving that the bullying is a repeated behavior will be essential if you need to call in school officials or the authorities. Above all else, reassure our sons and daughters that things will get better!
  • Instruct our children to ignore cyberbullying and seek help from an adult. When a child responds to the bully’s messages, it often only encourages the bullying behaviors to continue or worsen. We don’t want our children to add fuel to the fire, but we need to be aware of the situation so we can step in if needed.
  • Know our kids’ online activity. We need to have a firm understanding of what sites our children frequent, who is listed on their contact lists, and the behaviors they exhibit online. It is alright to ask questions and check in on them from time to time, after all it is the loving thing to do.

For more indepth information regarding Burn Note and it’s inner workings, please view the following video from TeenSafe:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zl3IYc5tFgQ

Hillary Smith is a freelance journalist who specializes in telecommunications and digital parenting techniques. She loves all things tech and hasn’t met a gadget that didn’t peek her interest. When she’s not spoiling her English bulldog, Chauncey, you can find her in a yoga class. Hilary is a contributor at TeenSafe.

Thanks for reading, Cassie

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