Here are the Top 5 Social Networking Apps for iPhone as of December 2, 2014
1. Facebook Messenger – Facebook introduced this app in 2011 but it never really caught on with smartphone users. In April 2014, Facebook removed the messaging functionality from their Facebook app and required users to download the Facebook messenger app if they wanted to send and receive private messages on their mobile devices.
Some of the things you should lookout for with this app is that it will want to use location services, there is heavy data mining, and if you’re not careful you can use up your data plan by placing phone calls. Parents should be aware of their child’s privacy settings and remind them to think before they send a private message to someone.
2. Facebook – The 800 lbs. gorilla of social networking claims the top three spots on this list. Facebook seems like it’s been around for eons (in Internet years). Just like any other social networking site, it entices users to connect with others, for free, in exchange for showing you advertisements.
Concerns over kids using social media don’t stop with just the website. There are privacy concerns as well as the fact that not all the ads that appear on Facebook would be considered “wholesome”.
3. WhatsApp Messenger – The third app in the Facebook franchise, WhatsApp is, simply, a texting app. If your kid’s friends are using WhatsApp then you can bet you’ll see it on their phone too. This is just another way for kids to text each other.
As with texting, your kids should be made aware that pictures, videos, and text do not disappear. Just like with normal texting, they should think before tapping “send” and be aware that what they are sharing could be shared with the entire Internet.
4. Pinterest – You moms have been pinning away over there but you need to know that some of the companies and individuals pinning there aren’t just look for crafts. Pornographic images, tattoo pictures with nudity, racist, and violent images can be found there. With the new messaging features this is another site where you’ll want to make sure your kids aren’t “friends” with anyone they don’t know.
5. Twitter – As more and more parents start using Facebook more kids are leaving it and turning to Twitter. Why? Because they don’t want to be stalked and embarrassed by their parents. Unlike other social media platforms, Twitter limits your status updates to 140 characters (the old limit for SMS messages) and can sometimes force you to be creative when posting a status.
Parents of tweens and teens need to know that Twitter is a lot like the American West in the 1800s. They could be exposed to pornography, profanity, and hate-speech. Like all social networking apps they want to know your location so be sure to disable that feature. Although the TOS for Twitter says users need to be 13 or older I recommend that your kids are at least 16.
Here are apps 6-10 which you should also keep an eye on. I’ve linked to iParentTV where they’ve provided a review.
6. Kik – Similar to WhatsApp this is a texting app. Find out more at iParent.tv.
7. Skype – The old-school VOIP calling service isn’t gong away soon.
8. Viber – Texting and group chats on steroids. There is premium content that can runup your bill.
9. Yik Yak – This is an anonymous billboard for posting location-based messages. Find out more at iParent.tv.
10. Timehop – Find your social networking updates from years gone by.
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