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Chris McManamy is an IT professional, social media guru, & live streaming expert.
July 24, 2012Net Nanny for Android 2.0
Jan 14, 2018
Back in the day, Blackberry and the BBM messaging platform dominated the confidential messaging industry – primarily for businesses and their workforce – but today, smartphones are the go-to communication device for adults, teens, and kids. They have changed how we live and, most notably, change how we communicate as a society.
The Skinny on Secret MessagingSome of the many Apps being churned out and launched on a regular basis offer a direct or “secret” option for messaging. This means the conversation is private, not for public view and in some cases self-destructive. Once the message is sent, and then read, it is gone forever. Some apps offer options to save these messages, but most are live only for a single view. Here are four secret messaging apps parents need to know, because chances are your teens are using them daily.
Snapchat has become the most popular camera/messaging/social media application in the world with 158 million daily active users (even I use it daily, maybe even too often) and over 400 million snaps sent each day. As an adult user of this app, I value the high engagement and ease of connectivity with friends, though as a parent I tend to forget the pitfalls this app presents. By default, when “snaps” are sent (whether it is text, photo, video, or audio), they are viewable by the chosen recipient for a few seconds, then disappear once viewed. Because this type of social interaction is one-on-one with the sender/recipient, this can lead to a lot of unknowns and secrecy with conversations. Because snaps are short-lived and built on impulse, it is important to warn your kids to take necessary precautions & use good judgment when “snapping.”
Over 1 billion people worldwide use this Facebook-owned messaging app to share messages, videos, and phone calls. Recently, the company enabled end-to-end encryption, which is controversial for many reasons. What this does is ensures that any data (messages or media) sent between individuals can only be read by each other and can only be unlocked with a secret key code. This setting cannot be disabled and is automatically enabled with the newest update. Parents need to be fully aware of their messaging blindness and should encourage kids to be open with their conversations, just like with any other app usage.
Now that most major social networks are mirroring the success of Snapchat, it should be no surprise that Facebook is in the game too. Not only does the Messenger App have disappearing stories, there is also a way to enable secret messages. When you start a new chat, there is an option for “Secret” in the upper right corner. You can message the recipient directly and choose how long it will be until the message expires. Just like any other app, enabling the “Secret” mode does not protect against screenshots being taken. Parents need to be aware of all the options available and although this feature is not enabled by default, teens are only a couple clicks away to discovering this in the settings.
Did you know that you can send disappearing photos and video on Instagram? Instagram is primarily a photo and video sharing app, with celebrity content and the overly stylized images of food, fashion and trends popping up in the feed. It’s also a hotbed for direct messaging and disappearing content. When you swipe to the left to get to your Messages, “tap the camera to send a disappearing photo or video” appears at the top. Parents, keep this in mind because this app is one that can be often overlooked, so this is your head’s up.
If you have any questions about these apps or other messaging apps visit our blog for additional information on how to manage your child’s online activities.