Social Media Guide for Parents of Teens and Tweens

Are you aware of the websites and apps your tween and teenager are using? Many of us have heard of the standard types of social media used by tweens and teenagers such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  But you may not realize other types of social media they frequent and how they communicate on these websites and apps.  Listed below are a few that are extremely popular with the tween and teenage crowd:

Tumblr is a website that could be thought of as a personal journal online.  It is a social network blogging forum where young people can like each others’ posts, ask questions, give advice and answer questions from strangers.  These blogs are not censored.  Some teens use this forum to discuss their personal feelings and write in detail about their eating disorder, depression and drug use. is a website where you sign in with a profile and picture and then answer questions posed to you by other users.  The users may be friends of yours or strangers.  It is up to the user to answer and post his response to the question.  Common questions are asked such as “Who do you have a crush on?” but more personal and sexual questions are often asked as well.

Snapchat is an app that lets you send pictures to friends that disappear after a certain amount of time.  Many tweens and teens send pictures and sexts (sexy texts).  Since the picture or info is only up for a short time of time many teens use it to send a sexy picture or ask a personal question since it will not stay on the screen for long.

Kik, Voxer, and WhatsApp are apps with the same theme: free phone-to-phone messaging that is private, cross-platform, and allows the user to attach pictures and videos without counting toward SMS minutes or showing on a phone bill.  A phone number doesn’t have to be attached to the app.  These are great apps for friends to chat and share pictures, although disturbing posts are found such as “Looking for a 16-year-old girl” or ”Horny in New York City”.

For the most part, young people are using these apps and websites for beneficial purposes.  Yet, it is important to note the level of abuse and concern out there in these types of platforms. As parents, being aware of what your child is using is an increasingly important part of being a parent in today’s society.

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Dr. Jennifer Politis, PhD, LPC, of Politis Therapy Services, LLC, is a therapist and educational psychologist specializing in therapy and evaluation services for children and adults in Bergen County. She works with women dealing with issues related to motherhood, life balance, stress and relationships. Dr. Politis also works with children and adolescents that have learning differences, academic challenges, behavioral issues, depression and anxiety.  Dr. Politis earned her doctoral degree from Fordham University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, School Psychologist and Certified School Counselor. Phone: 201-820-5737 Email: [email protected]

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.

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