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Toni Schmidt is a single mom to 2 young girls navigating unchartered territories of digital parenting. Toni is the social media manager for Net Nanny and has been featured on Huffington Post and NBC Philadelphia.
Aug 24, 2016
On Friday, Facebook announced a new app for teens called Lifestage-a teen only app using mostly video content. It’s not surprising that Facebook would be trying to appeal to the teen demographic (a demographic that has shied away from Facebook since their parents joined). The app was designed by a teen Michael Sayman, 19-year old prodigy. Lifestage is Michael’s second app for Facebook, his first app 4Snaps was developed when he was 16-years old and within the first year had over one-million downloads.
According to Facebook, this new app is centered around the teen’s high school, allowing them to easily connect with peers from school using short videos. Lifestage profile suggests videos about your bestie, your favorite food, or maybe your new hairstyle. Also, viewers are able to like, dislike, or react using a few emoji choices.
How does Lifestage know what videos to share?
The user answers a series of question about their likes and dislikes and a range of questions on their personal traits with each new video prompting an additional question. The app them creates a profile composed of video fields instead of text.
Want to check it out for yourself?
Sorry. Unfortunately, this app is for teens only; anyone over age 22 can create a profile but they can’t access any other profiles making it a little challenging for parents who want to keep an eye on their teens activity.
Facebook describes this app as a video sharing platform and not a messaging app. In fact, users have a displayed ‘Reach Me’ link where they can link their Snapchat or Instagram accounts to expand the conversation.
Will this be a safe platform for teens?
The verdict is still out. We know that users will be able to block or report any users with a single swipe but it’s unclear if there will be other risks associated with online predators, sexting, or cyberbullying. There is no way to limit the audience of your profile, so anything you post is viewable to people inside or outside your school.
It may be a little while before your teen’s school ‘unlocks’ their account allowing users to create profiles. It’s also unknown if the platform will take off and be something that interests the teens who are already using a plethora of other platforms. Facebook has attempted to launch similar apps throughout the years that have not been successful.
Only time will tell if Lifestage is embraced by the teenage demographic. However, we can only hope that it offers a safe, positive opportunity for our teens to engage and share information.