Social media for parents: Tumblr and Snapchat

Tumblr and Snapchat are two very popular social media networks that are growing in size. So what do parents need to know about them?

See also: How Facebook protects minors andTwitter and Instagram

Let’s start with Tumblr. Tumblr is a social network for lengthy blogs. It’s more like a real website. Where Twitter and Facebook are more what is considered micro-blogs, Tumblr doesn’t have a posting limit. You can also still post videos, images and links.

Tumblr is the wild west of social networking. While most of the material on Tumblr is very innocent, there are not walls of protection. Everything is public, and users (of any age) can post whatever they want. It’s also much harder to report abuse or inappropriate materials. You can however click “ignore” to ignore a person, or a post.

It’s really popular because of what is called “gifs” – short bursts of animation or images looped in time.

The service is also used for actual website building. So any link can take you out of the social networking side of Tumblr to an actual website of any kind.

Where facebook has share, comments, and likes, Tumblr has re-blogging, notes, like, and ignore. Re-blogging shares it on your Tumblr blog, notes shows you who liked the post, and who re-blogged it. You can click on any user’s name from the notes and be launched over to their Tumblr site. Like Twitter you can follow someone, instead of “friend-ing” them.

While Tumblr can be very innocent, it would be the one social site I would encourage parents to be more actively involved with. It’s a very different world from the other social networks, it’s almost a combination of facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. It can go from PG-13 to R with any click.

To report a Tumblr account you need to email Tumblr, but you can always go to this link to ignore a site:

Then there’s Snapchat. It’s an app for sharing photos or brief video clips between friends. You can take an image with the app, draw on it, or add text. You can then share it with other snapchat users.

The difference with this program? It asks the sender to set a timer on how long the person getting the image can see it. The image then disappears after a few seconds. It’s this technique that has made snapchat a popular sexting app among young adults. While the company says the person receiving the image can’t save it with the SnapChat app, users have found many easy ways to save the images – including a screen shot. The app does tell you if the other person took a screen shot.

The image can be shared with just one other person, or an entire group. The company says they share over 60 million images a day. SnapChat insists the images are deleted from their servers as soon as they’ve been viewed.

However, many critics say it’s not entirely possible for the image to be completely deleted. So while it may appear to be gone, it may still live on somewhere.

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