What We’re Reading: Instagram Rules, Social Media Literacy in NY Schools, Another Anti-bullying App, Facebook Gives Us Paper

Feb 7, 2014 3:45 PM ET

Trend Micro Internet Safety for Kids and Families Blog

Week of February 4, 2014

To help you keep up with what’s going on with kids, families, schools, and technology, we’ve compiled a list of stories, tips, and insights, we’ve found most useful over the past week.  What have you been reading? Tell us below or Tweet @TrendISKF.

INSTAGRAM RULES: Chicago Now’s Tween Us blog shares the basics on Instagram for parents who have kids already savvy on the app. The important things noted in the article are reminders that Instagram profiles can be public or private, the age requirement is 13 years old and that your physical location may be known when you’re posting photos from Instagram if you haven’t turned geotagging off.  The most important thing to remember is to try out the apps your kids are using and ask them how they’re using them. As a parent, knowing how these services work is the first step to helping your kids be safe on them.  For another great guide form our friends at ConnectSafely, go to their Parents’ Guide to Instagram.

NYC SCHOOLS TEACH SOCIAL MEDIA LITERACY: The New York City Department of Education recently released Social Media Guidelines for New York City Schools and have approached in a way similar to other types of education such as health and dating.  As the blog CoolMomTech points out, while parents may give kids the access to technology via phones or home computer use, it helps kids to learn about in terms of the academic and social context they may use social media for and in school.  It includes guidance to kids on where to get help if you’re being bullied online and how to adjust your privacy settings.

ANOTHER ANTI-BULLYING APP: The new StopIt app attempts to prevent cyberbullying through a four-pronged approach using features that are customizable for each child. According to founder Todd Schobel “StopIt’s approach to cyberbullying is different from the recent, somewhat controversial approach of monitoring — or spying on — kids through their social media pages. StopIt is poised to create a culture where children feel empowered to take action when being cyberbullied or viewing as a bystander.” I think tools like this can be helpful, but it’s not the real answer to stopping bullying or cyberbullying.  As our friends from the Cyberbullying Research Center have said, the schools where cyberbullying is most prevalent are the ones where the school culture and climate allows it to thrive.  It has nothing to do with how many cell phones the students have.  Kudos for StopIt to help in some way, but let’s all remember, bullying does not start or end because with technology.

FACEBOOK GIVES US PAPER: This week, Facebook turned 10 and launched a new app that basically organizes what you and others have posted in yet another way.  Read more about how it works from Hiawatha Bray of the Boston Globe.

OBAMA ON PRIVACY: U.S. President Barack Obama touched on privacy issues in his most recent State of the Union address. In the address, he reinforced a call to reform intelligence surveillance programs, saying U.S. intelligence agencies require the trust of people inside and outside the country. Obama promised to work with Congress to reform these programs, likely meaning those at the NSA exposed by Edward Snowden. “The vital work of our intelligence community depends on public confidence here and aboard, that privacy of ordinary people is not being violated,” Obama said.

See you next week!