Back to School: How to Keep up with Trending Apps for Students

As students return to school – either in classrooms or online – we encourage parents to observe how their kids interact with peers in the digital landscape.

So much of student interaction today happens on mobile devices – especially in a time when social distancing is the norm. It is critical for parents to keep tabs on the latest apps and how kids can find trouble on them.

We are not criticizing or offering endorsement of any particular app, nor are we opposed to kids using apps or social media. We are merely offering some trends and available information to help parents determine what they want their kids to be using.

An informative database can be found HERE, via Parentology.

Since our last discussion of apps, we noticed and learned about the emergence of new ones, to include VSCO.

VSCO is a photo creation app that allows users to take, edit and share photos. The app has been around for years, but has become increasingly popular with teens.

We issue caution regarding a default setting on this app: location/privacy settings must be changed by the user. By default, VSCO users’ locations are revealed, which can be problematic. Online predators in close proximity to a potential target can be more likely to attempt contact with that target. If your kid is using VSCO, talk to them about turning off their location.

Again, we are not opposed to VSCO; it can be a positive outlet for creative expression.

As the school year progresses, here are three tips to keep in mind about social media, apps, and what is available to kids.

1. Talk to your kids and listen to them. You can learn from your kids while also providing guidance to keep them safe.

2. Set parameters and limits on what your child uses and for how long.

3. Take a look at what they are doing. Ask to see their phones. There is monitoring software available (e.g. Bark), but it can be costly. Weigh the best options for your family.

Common Sense Media, FamilyEducation, and Parentology are great resources, which we often use in producing content for our platforms.

We wish everyone a safe, fruitful, and happy school year!

(Image courtesy of VSCO)

MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; bhambright@co.lancaster.pa.us; Twitter: @BrettHambright