Common Sense Media parenting expert Caroline Knorr answers questions about parenting, media, and everything in between.
Finding social sites specifically designed to be beneficial is a good idea. Though 45 percent of teens say they use social media every day, they rank it lower in personal enjoyment than every other kind of media. So it’s possible many teens use social media simply because their friends do and they don’t want to miss anything, rather than actually liking what social media has to offer.
Kids are moving away from having one social-media destination (such as Facebook) and instead downloading different apps for different purposes. That makes it easier to find those that promote positive interactions, as well as those that enable teens to explore their interests, be creative, make connections, and learn about the world. And though these niche options might not take the place of Instagram, for example, they might make kids a little happier.
Here are some options to explore:
- For budding programmers, or anyone else who wants to pick up some 21st-century skills, Code Academy is a great way to learn, create, and share computer code with like-minded folks.
- Designed for kids 8 to 15, Everloop has a motto – “Be cool, be clean, be confidential” – that says it all.
- With its tagline “Let’s help each other,” Jelly lets you ask questions and share your own expertise.
- This open-world, “sandbox-style” creative game lets kids play, build, and share no matter what their skill levels.
- This anonymous app encourages users to share positive comments.
- More immersive, visual, and in-depth than Facebook, Paper lets users share stories from their own lives and the wider world.
- A maximum of 150 connections is all that’s allowed on this social media app that encourages users to share more selectively with “high-quality” friends.
- This video-collaboration tool is ideal for school projects because it lets kids work together on a single video.
- Writerly kids can’t get much better than this classy, easy-to-use blogging app that lets them write from their phones.
- A solid, safety-minded social-networking app for tweens and teens with a friendly, creative vibe.