New Year, What’s Up!

by Kerry & Stacy of SociallySafe www.sociallysafe.ca

Welcome 2017 it’s going to be a fantastic year and social media is going to be just as popular in 2017 as it was in 2016. Speaking of 2016 wow, did we ever see some exciting changes taking place on all the social platforms. Let’s take a look at what happened on some of the more popular platforms you guys like to use and what that means for you to still be #sociallysafe while on them.

First things first, it’s a new month and a new year, when was the last time you changed your passwords? We love the idea of passwords, it helps to protect you and keep your accounts private so that just you can access them. A few things to keep in mind when setting your accounts up you want to use strong passwords. They are also something that should be kept private between you and your parents or trusted adult. It is VERY important that your parents/trusted adult have your passwords. Not to spy on you but so they can help to keep you safe online. Even as much as you love your BFF you don’t want them to have access to your personal social media accounts, email or phones. Hard to imagine but even as a joke friends can change your passwords and then you are locked out of your accounts, we hear of this happening all the time.
When creating your passwords:

  • You want to use a minimum of 8 characters
  • try and use both upper and lower case, numbers & special characters/symbols.
  • Use passwords that you will remember but others will not be able to guess.
  • Do not use any personal information like your birthdate for your passwords.
  • Use different passwords for different accounts, if one gets hacked you don’t want all your accounts accessible.
  • Change your passwords regularly and remember to give your new passwords to your parents/trusted adults.

While we are looking at helping to keep you safe online, it’s important that you do the required updates when the social platforms come out with them as many times they are fixing any bugs and viruses that they may have. So we encourage you to keep up with the updates when they become available.

Lets take a look at some of the platforms and the changes that have happened:

Instagram…what a year they’ve had. This platform has gone from just posting pictures to now you can add stories and video. Stories will disappear after 24 hours of you posting them. You can also go live with your stories, live stories will also disappear. Let’s not forget about boomerang and all the stickers you can now add to your pictures. If you are using IOS you can also save your stories to video on your camera roll. We still encourage you to set your account as private and remember that when you use hashtags (#sociallysafe) the hashtag becomes a public searchable post so your post will be public if someone is searching the same hashtag you’ve used. Another new update we’ve seen is Instagram Direct, this is where you can now send disappearing photos or videos, along with text messages and posts to your friends. The age to sign up for Instagram remains at 12.

Snapchat…a popular app with the teens/tweens and even the adults are starting to use it and have some fun on it. Who doesn’t laugh when dad or mom send you a snap with a crazy facial filter. Snapchat has made some changes throughout the year with the latest update in December adding Snapchat group chats allowing you to chat with up to 16 of your friends. After 24 hours group chats are deleted. You can now also cut stickers from your snaps using Scissors. There is also paintbrush which is in the memories section and it allows you to draw on your snaps. You are also able to identify songs with Shazam. Snapchat did lower the user age to 12 this year. One thing to keep in mind before you send snaps to your friends is that anyone can screenshot and save your snap. If someone does take a picture of your snap you will get an alert that your snap was just screenshot. So, as always, you want to #THINK before for snap.

HouseParty… it’s the newest app gaining a lot of popularity. This app is available on both apple and android and is a group video sharing app. Once you download the app you are able to invite your friends to join you. Once your friends have connected and they join the party you will get an alert that #SociallySafe is in the house and you are now able to start a video chat with them. A couple things to know about this app is that if you are in a chat with a friend and another friend happens to log on they are also able to join your conversation. You can currently have up to 8 people in a video chat at one time. In order for people to join into a conversations they only have to be connected to one person in the chat to be able to join that conversation. What this means is that you could be talking to strangers because of the mutual connection. That being said, HouseParty does give you the option to lock your conversations. We like this idea as once the conversation has been locked if someone should try to join in they are not able too. If you are going to be using HouseParty we encourage you to get in the habit of locking your conversations. If the room does happen to get unlocked by someone in the chat all in that chat get an alert that the room is unlocked. Something to be aware of is that if someone in the video chat does happen to take a screenshot the group members are not notified that someone has taken a picture of the video. Although rooms are locked you still don’t want to be sharing any personal information or images on this platform.

These are just a couple of the biggest updates on the more popular platforms with the tweens/teens. Before the updates and new changes become available to you on your social platforms you must do the updates. We want you to have fun on social media while being aware of who you are connecting too, what you are sharing and that screenshots can be taken. It’s a New Year to create a positive digital footprint that you can be proud of. Share all the good that you are doing and remember to be #SociallySafe

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