5 Digital Resources to Help Teens Navigate Puberty

Let’s be honest — going through puberty is never fun. And for most parents and teachers, neither is trying to talk to teens about it.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. It can be a transformative and empowering stage for teens. They just need a little reminder that they’re not alone — and neither are you. We’re here to help!

Why teens need some extra help during puberty

A lot of things are happening in a teen’s body that they don’t understand and often don’t even think are normal. Our bodies are all different, so what happens to one teen, might not happen the same way or same time as another. But most teens only know about the happenings of puberty comparatively through their peers. So how are teens supposed to know that their changes are normal and can actually be pretty cool?

Puberty is filled with feelings of confusion, embarrassment, awkwardness, shame. The problem — no one is talking about it openly and transparently. If no one talks about it, teens then think that it’s something that they shouldn’t talk about, or even ask questions about.

What can adults do to help teens navigate puberty?

So how can we help teens to navigate this tricky period and ease feelings of confusion and shame? Simple — we talk about. But sometimes we don’t have the words or they’re not ready to talk about it. So we can at least give them the best resources they need to navigate it on their own until you’re both ready to open up. With the technology we have today, there are some incredible digital resources that equip teens with the information they need to get understand, manage, and conquer puberty.

We’ve rounded up some of the best digital resources out there that guide teens through puberty (I honestly wish I had these when I was a teenager). Check them out!

Top 5 digital resources to help teens navigate puberty

Oomla and the Puberty Portal

Oomla and Puberty Portal Resources for Teens

Oomla was launched in 2020 with the mission of flipping puberty into a positive experience for everyone, as well as making it extra comfy for teens. They aim to bridge the information gap and provide answers to the tricky and uncomfortable questions both adults and teens have.

Here are the useful and effective tools Oomla offers:

  • Puberty Portal

The go-to hotspot for teens to get answers about everything puberty related with the message, “Body changes are normal, we help make them understandable.” From skincare, periods, and hair everywhere to real stories, moods, and mental health — you’ll find educated, appropriate, and positive answers here.

  • Puberty Podcast (for Adults)

Oomla founders, Dr Cara Natterson and Vanessa Kroll Bennett, shine a light on all the messy and uncomfortable and necessary aspects of raising teens through puberty. By sharing scientific research, parenting strategies, and hilarious stories, parents, guardians, and teachers can gain actionable advice on how to guide teens through this interesting time.

  • Oombras and Oomshorts

This one is less a tool and more one more way to ease the uncomfortable times of puberty. After noticing the massive gap in the market for comfy, stylish, and practical training bras and sleeping shorts (for all genders), they decided to make their own, called Oombras and Oomshorts!

The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project Resources for Teens

Quality information on puberty is scarce. Quality information for LGBTQ+ teens is almost non-existent — that’s where The Trevor Project comes in. The Trevor Project provides information and support to LGBTQ+ teens and young adults — 24/7, all year round. The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ+) young people.

This is not only an invaluable resource for teens but also an invaluable resource for parents who want to educate themselves and support their teens as best as they can.

The Trevor Project offers a range of tools for teens, parents, and teachers:

  • Resource Center

Find articles, handbooks, guides, and more on topics covering sexual orientation, mental health, gender identity, community, suicide prevention, and diversity catered for teens and young adults

  • Support

As one of their main efforts to prevent suicide, The Trevor Project offers trained counsellors who understand the challenges that LGBTQ+ young people face, providing 24-hour support. Whether it’s through text message, phone call, or chat — they are there to give teens immediate crisis support that’s 100% confidential and 100% free for any struggling teens needing help but not sure how to ask for it.

  • Community

For many LGBTQ+ teens, finding a community of people who understand and celebrate their identities. TrevorSpace is is an affirming, online community for LGBTQ young people between the ages of 13-24 years old. Teens can find an understanding community, to explore their identity, or a safe, secure, and supportive space to speak to someone who understands. There’s also a team of moderators and AI-technology to ensure it remains a safe space for all where teens can be themselves.

AMAZE Puberty Resources for Teens

Looking to find resources that take the awkward out of sex ed? AMAZE is your answer! Here you’ll find honest and educational information in fun, animated videos that give teens all the answers they actually want to know about sex, their bodies, and relationships.

Most famous for its educational YouTube channel, AMAZE combines the expertise of master sexuality educators, the creativity of animation professionals, the input of young people, and the power of the internet to create:

  • FOR TEENS: Engaging, educational, age-appropriate and often humorous sex education videos
  • FOR PARENTS: Educational resources to guide parents and guardians on how to better communicate with their teens on sex and sexuality
  • FOR TEACHERS: Toolkits, lesson plans, and other resources to help educators and healthcare providers

AMAZE also offers, amaze jr. which is basically a parent’s go-to guide for when little kids have big questions.


Luna App for Teens

Luna is an app designed specifically for teenage girls where they can learn, read, and ask about all things teen health and wellbeing. It gives teen girls a safe space where they can safely explore topics around puberty that aren’t always taught or spoken about enough.

Built by a community of young medical professionals and teens across the UK, this is a resource you and your teens can trust. Using articles, videos, and experiences, teen girls can explore a variety of topics from mental health, female health, and sex & sexual health to periods & hormones, body positivity, and relationships. Teens also have the opportunity to ask luna anything and receive answers from one of luna’s medical community.

While the app isn’t available just yet, it’s coming soon. Until it’s released, you can join the waitlist, become a luminary for early access, or check out their Instagram for relevant info, news, advice, motivation, and updates. 

Big mouth & Sex Education

Big Mouth Puberty Resources for Teens

If you’re looking for some fun, yet insightful edutainment, Big Mouth and Sex Education are two TV shows that can be a surprisingly good educational tool for teens. We’d definitely recommend these TV for older teens, as there is mature content.

Big Mouth

Big Mouth follows a group of 7th graders as they navigate the uncomfortable and awkward struggles of puberty, guided by a group of Hormone Monsters and other fantasy characters. While it’s mainly a TV show, it’s still effective at passing along some insightful advice on puberty that’s enjoyable and engaging for older teens.

Sex Education

Sex Education is not afraid to bear it all. While it does present a very open and unfiltered view of sex, sexuality, and sex ed, it also does an incredible job at giving teens an honest and down-to-earth view of the changes teens experience during puberty. The show asks and answers the questions that no one dares to ask but teens want the answers to. It normalizes all bodies, showing teens that their bodies are normal and natural. The characters discuss important topics such as sexuality, gender, sexual assault, contraception, and more. It also shows gives teens a balanced view of sex — presenting the dangers but also the pleasures that are often ignored. On top of it all, you also witness normal teens going through everyday struggles that all teens can relate to.

All in all, even if you watch these shows with your teens, they can be a great opportunity to start conversations and open the door to trusted communication about these important topics.


Using these digital resources, parents and teachers can better equip teens with the tools, information, and skills they need to navigate puberty successfully. By lessening the discomfort, awkwardness, confusion, and shame that often come with puberty, we can rather focus on the exciting and transformational side of puberty where teens grow into themselves and form their own identities.

Teens need to know that puberty is weird, bodies are weird — but it’s all normal. And it’s our job to show them that.

At MySociaLife, we equip teens with the digital life skills they need to be safer and smarter online, also showing them how they explore and excel in the digital world. We tackle challenges such as mental health, cyberbullying, sexuality online, digital identity, privacy, and more! Check out our student programs to help teens navigate the online world!

Are Predators Approaching Children on Roblox?

What Parents Need to Know

Child predators… Sex rooms… Gang rape? These have been some of the terrifying reports coming from parents about one of the most popular games among children — Roblox. Surely not, this is Digital Lego, to some extent, right?

63%, more than half, of Roblox users are under the age of 16, 25% are under the age of 9, and 55% of children aged 9-12 in the USA play Roblox each week. Clearly, Roblox is a force to be reckoned with. It’s a pretty amazing game… but only if you know how to use it.

So how we do allow our children to excel and explore Roblox, but also keep them safe from the very-real dangers online? Well, first, you have to know what Roblox is and how it works.

What is Roblox

First things first — Roblox isn’t necessarily a video game. Rather it’s a platform that hosts games — over 40 million games to be exact. More significantly, all the games are created by users. It was released back in 2006 to create a space where people can come play games, build games, and connect with friends. 

Like Minecraft, users create an avatar and enter an immersive multi-player world where they can explore and interact with other users. It’s become the go-to after-school hang-out spot for a lot of children and teens who join their friends in this digital world and play games together.

While Roblox is entirely free to download and play, it can be quite limiting unless you have Robux, the in-game purchased currency. By loading real money onto your account, you can use these Robux to buy accessories, clothes, and gear for your avatar, special abilities, bonus in-game content, as well as access to some user-created games.

This opportunity to spend also comes with the opportunity to make money. You can either trade your Robux or, if you create your game and make it has a Robux entrance fee, you can earn money from users playing your game. Then you can trade your Robux for real bucks.

Most popular games on Roblox at the moment:

  • Adopt Me!: In a Sims-like world, you can live as an adoptive parent or an adopted child, taking care of everyday needs — additionally, the new collectable pets have made it incredibly popular
  • Royale High: Experience high school as a supernatural noble where you have to balance your social life and your grades.
  • Brookhaven RP: A townscape where users can play any role they like and create a life for themselves with their own house and their own car.
  • MeepCity: Build and manage your own estate, basically a virtual business like a pizza place, school, or dance club, where other users can spend Robux to enjoy your estate.
  • Tower of Hell: This obstacle course, or “obby” as they’re known in Roblox, is known as one of the most challenging games in Roblox where you have to make your way up a challenging tower.

But what can be Roblox’s most popular game can also be its most dangerous.

Child predators on Roblox

As unfortunate as it is — where there are children, there are also child predators. What is the ultimate playground for children on one side also has a dark underbelly where sexual predators find their prey on the other.

There have been multiple reports around the world of children being targeted by predators and with inappropriate content around the world. One such report was of a 12-year-old being sent explicit messages and threatened outside of the game. Others include children stumbling into sex rooms, getting lured and locked inside rooms, being virtually gang raped, getting contacted by strangers, and herded onto other, more dangerous, apps and sites, and even kidnapping in real life.

The problem is that Roblox is essentially an open world — and most children are sent out into this world, free to explore and lacking the skills needed to stay safe, as they would need in the real world. If anything, it’s even more important online – It can take as little as two minutes for children to be approached online by a predator.

You might be thinking — when a child gets locked in a room with a predator, can’t they just turn it off, it’s not real? And yes, they can turn it off. But with the blending of our digital and IRL identities, especially with teens and children, they struggle to separate the fact that it is happening to their avatar, not to them — they still feel the emotional trauma from these situations.

What is Roblox doing about the situation?

Well, Roblox has responded to these reports by actively trying to remove dangers for children on their platform. But despite their best efforts — you cut off one head and ten grow back. Predators are finding more and more loopholes, and even if you report these tragic events to officials, they are so hard to trace that they just disappear and move on.

That’s why the best thing we can do as parents, teachers, and protectors of this young generation is to equip them with the skills to avoid, block, and report this behavior themselves so that they know what to do if a situation like this arises.

Other dangers for children on Roblox

One of the main problems that present serious dangers for children on Roblox is the chat feature. Like most multiplayer online games, you can chat with other users — friends, friends of friends, or complete strangers, depending on your chat settings.

By allowing communication with strangers, and even friends, online, you’re essentially opening a doorway for them to enter your home, your safe space. This unlocks an entirely new space for dangers in online games:

  • Exposure to inappropriate content: Despite Roblox’s chat filters, users still find ways to send explicit and inappropriate content through the chat filter, as well as behave inappropriately within the games themselves.
  • Information sharing: Children can be coerced to share private and personal information with strangers which could put their safety at risk.
  • Cyberbullying: Even among friends, children are faced with an overwhelming amount of cyberbullying through Roblox which infiltrates their social life IRL.
  • “ODers”: Also known as “online daters,” Roblox is flooded with users who use the platform entirely as an online dating app, forming digital relationships which can get quite explicit for children to stumble upon — if children aren’t honest about their age, they can also easily find themselves in one of these relationships if they’re not careful.
  • Robux: As with most things, currency is the driving force of Roblox, and children can firstly feel pressured to spend their own money to gain more Robux or be enticed to do certain things in exchange for Robux.

Roblox privacy settings and parental controls

So, with all these dangers creeping around, what controls has Roblox put in place to combat them?

  • Chat and content filters: Roblox has built-on AI filters that prescreen the chat and content to ensure there isn’t any inappropriate or explicit content.
  • Age restriction: While there is no official age restriction or age verification system, as a parent, you can set their age on the app where children under 13 have stricter chat filters, like blocking phone numbers that are sent in the chat.
  • Friend and chat settings: You can restrict your friend list by following only those who you know and limiting who can contact you — friends, friends of friends, or strangers.
  • Activity history: You can view chat histories, recent purchases or trades, friends/followers, creations, and recently play games.
  • Parental PIN: Parents can set a PIN that prevents children from changing the settings parents have put in place for safety.

Are these enough to make Roblox a safe and fun place for all? Clearly not. Children are very determined, resourceful, and probably know the game a lot better than you. If they really want to, nothing is stopping them from getting around any safety restriction you put on them. So what can you really do to protect your child on Roblox?

Tips for parents to keep their children safe on Roblox

The one thing you should avoid is policing. No matter how many passwords, restrictions, or outright bans, children will always find a way through a back door. The best thing that you can do to protect your children — have an open and trusting child-parent relationship.

What’s worse than your child experiencing one of these traumatic events is them experiencing it and not telling you. Most children are afraid to tell their parents when something bad happens. They fear getting into trouble, getting punished, or worse, facing disappointment and shame. You want your child to feel as if they can trust that you will respond in the way that they need you to respond, not the way you want to.

Banning the game also doesn’t help them in the long run. It means that they never learn these essential skills they need to avoid situations like this in the future, in the real world where they can’t just turn it off and you’re not there to protect them. Rather, teaching them how to deal with these situations empowers them and equips them with everything they need to be smart, safe, and explore online, not just on Roblox.

Teach them how to:

  • Block strangers
  • Maintain safe privacy settings
  • Report inappropriate content
  • Avoid high-risk situations
  • Speak up when something goes wrong


You can also see Roblox as an opportunity for your child to excel online. It’s an incredible place to develop digital skills such as coding, game-building, and business. Take Roblox and turn it into a positive and productive form of play — you never know, may you have a coding protogé on your hands.

“Roblox can be amazing. But like anything online, it also has adults wandering around exercising their voyeurism or fetish or having fun. It’s just that kids don’t fully understand this,” says Dean McCoubrey, MySociaLife founder.

While Roblox definitely presents real and harmful dangers to your children, if you set it up correctly, equip your children with the skills they need, and encourage them to explore their online talents, Roblox can be a pretty incredible place for children and teens online.

Want to find other ways your child can explore and excel online while being safe and smart? Check out what MySociaLife has to offer you, your child, and your school.

– Written by Havana Dauncey

BeReal Review: Everything Parents Need to Know About the Popular Teen Social App

New App Alert! BeReal is currently the fastest-growing app on both the charts and among teens. So what does this mean for us? Well, whether you’re a parent, teacher, or principal, you’re going to need the 411 on the latest social media app spreading like wildfire among teens and be aware of any potential dangers that might arise for your children and students

So what is BeReal, is it so different from other social media platforms as the creators claim, and why is it catching millions of teens’ attention all over the world?

Here’s your ultimate BeReal review and guide for parents, principals, and teachers — let’s dive in!

What is BeReal?

BeReal co-founder, Alexis Barreyat’s vision for the app was to create a space where people could foster genuine interactions online. And, unlike other social apps, connect with friends and family online.

Despite hitting the market back in 2020, BeReal only started to pick up some traction at the beginning of 2022. Now it’s heading into hyperdrive with a 29,200% increase in daily active users since 2021 with 2.93 million active users.

Declared GenZ’s favorite social media app, but also the most boring (in a good way), BeReal indicates that maybe teens are looking for a new and authentic digital social experience. They’re tired of the sensationalized and toxic environment found in other social apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

How does BeReal work?

Unlike other social platforms, BeReal has a rather restricted and unique structure. It all starts with a notification saying, “It’s time to BeReal”

At a random time each day, changing one day to the next, everyone in the same timezone receives a notification that it’s time to be real. When this happens, users have 2 minutes to take a photo of what they are doing in that instant — both back and front camera. All photos are unfiltered, unedited, and unscripted.

Within the 2 minutes, you can retake the photo as many times as you’d like. Though if you miss the 2-minute timer or you’re perhaps not near your phone or your phone is switched off, then your BeReal will be tagged as late for everyone to see. Your friends can also see how many times you retook your photo.

You can choose to publish your BeReal privately, for only your friends, or publicly for all BeReal users around the world to see. Only once you’ve published your BeReal for the day are you able to see the other on-the-spot selfies on both your private and public feeds. You can also react to your friends’ BeReals with a comment or a ‘RealMoji’ which is basically you taking a selfie with a face to match an emoji.

You can delete your BeReal, but only once a day. And before you do, you have to fill out a form specifying your reason with options ranging from “I don’t like my BeReal” to “Inappropriate content.” You also get a neat photo album of all your BeReals to reminisce — visible to only you.

BeReal has been carefully crafted to avoid the pitfalls of other social media apps that make them so dangerous and toxic to teens and even adults. So how exactly is BeReal so different from the rest? Why are teens starting to gravitate towards it and away from the other social apps?

What makes BeReal different?

  • It’s friends, not followers: Instead of having different numbers for your followers and following, an easy point of comparison for teens, BeReal takes an approach similar to Facebook where you add friends with a mutual friend request.
  • Follower count or the number of likes doesn’t matter: Teens can’t spend hours comparing and obsessing over followers and likes if both them and nobody else can see them — in fact, teens are preferring smaller and more exclusive friend circles on BeReal
  • No more filters, edited images, or videos: Because your BeReal has to be taken on the spot through the BeReal app, it’s practically impossible to post anything that has been filtered or edited, only your true and authentic self.
  • Significant social pressure to play by the rules: Even if you post 5 minutes late, your friends will notice, and a lot of teens are criticizing those late posters, claiming they aren’t ‘being real.’
  • Encouragement from peers to be authentic and vulnerable: Different from the hyper-edited and glamourized Instagram, teens on BeReal celebrate seeing the real and genuine you — the more honest, the better.
  • Little to no room to engage with strangers: Because there’s no private messaging function, as long as your account is private, there aren’t many ways that strangers can contact you or you could accidentally contact strangers.
  • You can’t get sucked in for hours: BeReal happens only once a day, and after 10 minutes of scrolling through your friends’ posts until you’re bored, there’s not much more you can do — there’s no algorithm designed to suck you in for hours at a time.

What are the privacy settings?

In the spirit of ‘being real,’ BeReal doesn’t have many privacy settings or parental controls:

  • Private account: When you create your BeReal account, it’s automatically private and ensures that only your chosen friends can see your content.
  • Location: All your BeReals are automatically geotagged, which means that your friends (and strangers, if your post is on the Discover Page) can see the exact location of your BeReal the second you take it — you have to manually go switch off the location setting.
  • Reporting: You can report any content that you find inappropriate.
  • 13+ age restriction: BeReal asks each user their year of birth when signing up to ensure they are above the age restriction, but this is easily thwarted by determined tweens and children.

What are the potential dangers?

While BeReal’s privacy settings and parental controls are very limited compared to other social apps, maybe it’s because it’s designed in a way that you don’t need endless measures to protect teens from harm. But no app is completely innocent — let’s find out what dangers lie in the BeReal app for teens.

  • Public posts: If your teen decides to post publicly on the Discover Page, anyone around the world can see whatever content they post.
  • Information sharing: Not only is your location dangerous to share, but by posting every day, people may start to know your routine, like where you are at certain times during the day.
  • Sharing your surroundings: Because BeReal uses both the front and back camera, if you aren’t very aware of your surroundings, you may share something that you don’t want others to see.
  • Inappropriate content: Despite BeReal’s trusted content filter and reporting feature, there’s still a chance that inappropriate content could slip through.
  • Phone attachment: Teens want to be ready for when it’s time to BeReal with the fear of being late, meaning they might want their phones on them at all times.
  • Social implications: If a teen’s friend request isn’t accepted or they see that all their friends are together by the BeReal or location, and they weren’t invited, this could hurt their social identity.

BeReal review: Our final verdict for teens

BeReal has certainly given a convincing solution for a healthy and safe social media platform for teens to enjoy and explore. But that doesn’t mean that it’s immune to dangers on the internet.

We love the intention behind BeReal — a response to the current toxicity out there on social media with the aim of restoring social media’s fun, safe, and social environment. And we believe they did a pretty good job. However, it’s our responsibility as parents, teachers, and principals to guide teens to avoid any potential dangers and ensure it remains a fun, safe, and social environment for everyone.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Talk to teens about the importance of remaining private online and the dangers of posting publicly.
  • Teach them how to discern which friends to include in their exclusive circle.
  • Ensure their location is switched off.
  • Show them how to report any content they find inappropriate.
  • Advise teens to be aware of their surroundings
  • Remind them that BeReal is still just a social media app, it’s not the end of the world if they post late, it does not define their social identity, and connecting with friends IRL is still so much better.

BeReal is still considerably new. So while it’s currently one of the better social media apps for teens, it’s important to keep a close eye on how it grows and develops. It’s hard to say exactly how it will affect teens in the long run. But we hope that BeReal continues to be real itself and remains a fun, safe, and social space for teens online. Need help guiding teens on how to be safer and smarter online? Check out MySociaLife’s world-class programs on digital citizenship, media literacy, and online safety for students, parents, teachers, and counselors.

[Written by Havana Dauncey]

Why TikTok Isn’t All That Bad and How Teens Can Actually Use TikTok for Good

Unpopular opinion among parents, teachers, and professionals in the digital safety industry: TikTok isn’t all that bad for teens.

Since TikTok first blew up during the pandemic, completely consuming teens, pre-teens, and even children and adults alike, parents, teachers, and the digital safety industry have set off the alarm bells. They’ve headed a pretty firm warning about the effects of TikTok and social media and the reasons why it’s not safe for teens. 

Maybe they have point — TikTok has been shown to negatively affect adolescents’ mental health. But maybe there’s more beneath TikTok’s surface that parents aren’t willing to explore. Well, teens are! And we’re here to guide the way for teens to explore and excel online.

5 ways teens can use TikTok for good:

Here are 5 fun, productive, and positive ways teens can use TikTok:

1. Find a creative outlet

TikTok was originally created for users to make fun, interesting, and creative videos. While it’s become distorted since then, the potential for TikTok to be used as it was originally intended remains. Similar to how Instagram promotes amazing photography, TikTok presents the perfect playground for those interested in videography to play, create, explore, and excel.

Some of the videos on TikTok are crazy impressive and require insane talent. There’s a corner of TikTok that’s positively promoting this kind of content that encourages creativity and develops teens’ skills. And it’s not limited to videography. Teens are showcasing their singing, art, design, musical instruments, make-up art, filmmaking, cake decorating and so much more. TikTok has become a hub for talented teens to explore and share their passions with the world.

One teen with some serious talent taking advantage of TikTok’s platform is Maya (@mayas_artwork). She uses TikTok to post her hyper-realistic artwork of adorable animals, tranquil bouquets, and even some pop culture icons from the show Stranger Things. She even found a way to make some money through commissions. Now that’s a smart teen using TikTok to do good things.

2. Start your own business

Many teens and young adults are taking their talents and passions and turning them into profits and careers using TikTok. And watching others fulfil their dreams on TikTok is inspiring even more teens to do the same.

With its massive audience and impressive engagement, TikTok has become the center of social media marketing. Teens are seeing this potential and are using TikTok to promote their business, generate leads, and make sales. This not only sets them up for the next stage in their life but teaches them invaluable life skills about business, growth, hard work, and success.

Gen Z digital creator, Joshua Heldsinger, is doing just this! He says, “Social media has always been a marketing tool. It’s not a place to fool around… it’s a place where you can build your brand. With the power of your phone and internet connection, you can travel the world and do what you want!” Click here to see how he uses TikTok to build his brand in a creative and engaging way.

3. Learn how to market other businesses

TikTok is no longer a luxury, but rather a necessity for any business looking to thrive. Many businesses from every industry, big or small, are jumping on the bandwagon. Many haven’t yet mastered the art of TikTok… but many teens have. Teens have a deep understanding of TikTok’s nuance and can potentially take what they’ve learned from hours of scrolling and engaging with the content and turn it into something productive and positive.

Teens are starting digital marketing agencies where they take on the marketing of businesses and help them boom on TikTok. With so many businesses trying to explore the wonderful world of TikTok, there’s a huge demand for experts to guide the way. And many teens are perfect for the job!

Kelsie (@sociallykels) is a 23-year-old social media marketer with over 350k followers on TikTok. She’s taken what she’s learned from being a user of social media and turned it into a thriving business as a social media marketer and content creator!

4. Gain awareness of the world

Teens get exposed to a wide range of content on TikTok — the good and the bad. Social media, especially TikTok, has been instrumental in the spreading of awareness of important topics such as mental health, sexuality, equality, racism, disabilities, and more — all from people having a platform to share their stories first-hand.

This not only exposes teens to perspectives they never would have encountered before but can be incredibly powerful at encouraging empathy. Teens learn to empathize with people they’ve never met. This teaches them important life skills, as well as educates them on important world issues.

Many young adults are stepping forward to share their stories with the world. One such young TikToker is Chloé Hayden (@chloeshayden) who uses her platform to share her experience with autism and ADHD. She not only helps with destigmatization but helps both teens and adults gain awareness about autism and ADHD.

5. Have a good laugh

What draws over 1 billion users to TikTok monthly? Most people are just looking for a quick escape and a good laugh to bring some brightness to their day in a world that can sometimes be a bit too intense. Relying on TikTok for a source of escape can be a slippery slope — we’ve all seen how quickly 5 minutes can slip into 5 hours in the TikTok blackhole.

But with some screentime limits and a carefully curated feed, teens can still get some great entertainment often with content that’s educational, clever, or simply just adorable. Watching cute animal videos has even been proven to have some real positive effects on the brain and emotions.

Khaby Lame (@khaby.lame) has officially taken the top spot with the most followers on TikTok. How did he do this? Entertain the masses with his hilarious yet simple videos without even saying a word. His bio says it all — “If u wanna laugh u r in the right place.” This 22-year-old Senegalese sensation knows what people want and knows how to give it to them.

TikTok’s nature does raise some valid concerns for parents — TikTok addiction, cyberbullying, the effects of the Ukraine War on TikTok, the sexualization of teens, the impact on teens’ mental health, and the viral trend to go viral at all costs. But this doesn’t mean that this is all TikTok can be. If you teach your children good and healthy social media habits, like curating feeds with good content, screentime limits, reporting inappropriate content, good privacy setting practices, critical thinking, and the importance of fact-checking, TikTok can hold a world of opportunities for your teen to grow, explore, and excel online.

Learn more on our website about how we, at MySociaLife, teach and encourage teens and pre-teens to make the digital world their own, being safer and smarter online.

[Article written by Havana Dauncey]

Instagram Tips For Parents

Instagram Tips Dean McCoubrey

When you arrive at a blog with an urgent need for advice, you wish they would get to the point, and provide the tips straight away. We’ll do that. Here you’ll find the top Instagram tips for parents.

First, if you missed the interview on radio, start here.

Second, start here, released in Q1 of 2022, it’s the latest update on Instagram’s family centre

If you’re looking for a slower explainer, start here with our overview:

What parents need to know about Instagram

With over a billion users, Instagram happens to be one of the most popular social media apps in their digital portfolios. The app is age rated 13+ – but interestingly, the standard bearer for online safety, Common Sense Media, rates it at 15+. There’s a very simple reason why? The exposure to news, the approach from predators, and the type of content that can be seen can be age-inappropriate. That means it’s too much for young eyes. It requires certain skills to think critically and emotionally process various types of visuals and information. Some of the things that teens are seeing online, they are simply not able to manage. They’re new images, haven’t been experienced before, and can trigger emotional responses that are hard to understand – fear, insecurity, shame – all of which can be somewhat invisible.

It has been reported that Instagram is the leading cyberbullying platform in the United States. And the reason for that is that humans gaze into our screens as we scroll our feeds. But as it reflects back a stream of images, it makes us think about where we are positioned in that context and evaluates what we have and don’t have. ‘How do I compare? Do I have these looks, these clothes, these friends, these invitations and opportunities, and so on?’ This creates a form of ‘toxic mirror’ that makes us feel low at times when catching us off guard or on a bad day. Without the right tools, the media can drag us down. 

Instagram features

While TikTok steals the limelight in the broad portfolio of social media apps for teens and pre-teens, Instagram’s place has been as a visual news feed in its many forms, from its Feed to Stories, IGTV, Reels, and Live. And these different formats that Instagram offers have proven to be incredibly catchy as it continues to innovate with new launches and added dimensions to its functionality. This keeps the audience coming back for more. 

Moreover, what we see is that the aesthetic within Instagram, how images are shot, or filters are applied, has made it an enticing inspiration board, a shop window, a place for us to research or to dream about certain destinations or products, fashion, influencers and celebrities. It’s a wonderful escape. Or is it? Following popular figures online, we are sold a story by a personality with a motivation. Sure, that may be business – but without realising this simple nugget, we can consume their apparent ‘thought leadership’ without scratching beneath the surface. 


Sadly, what you see may be only a portion of what’s out there.

One thing that children like to do is to create a second Instagram account called a Finsta or a Fake Instagram. It will be incredibly difficult for a parent to know the handle of that Finsta account because normally, pre-teens and teens do not publish their real name or a personal (recognisable) photograph of themselves. After all, this is for a closed group of friends, which actually later grows into a much larger group. This makes it very difficult for parents to know what’s happening in this growing group of friends or even what might be happening on Instagram.


Reels are very similar to TikTok, although it is basically not as cutting edge as the world’s most popular social media teen app. The reason for this? Reels came out a long time after TikTok. While it has enjoyed more success than many imagined, ultimately, the first-mover advantage that TikTok gained has been retained with reels, doing its very best to try and catch up. Take a look here if you need to understand Reels.

So, where does this leave parents?

Top Instagram tips for parents

Most need guidance around any app, but in the case of Instagram, the most important starting point is:

  • Parents need to understand what the app is and does. (see our links at the top)
  • What different ‘channels’ the app has created – and which ones your kids will most likely use (Feed, Stories and Reels most likely)
  • What are the dangers or risks, and what are the opportunities from there? Take a look here.
  • Grasping the settings creates a base of knowledge to approach your child with some facts and information that will help them to navigate the different settings.
  • Parents need to go into their own Instagram, click on the three lines in the top right-hand corner (which represent the menu) then, click on settings and then click on privacy. Within the privacy menu, you’ll find all the different options that are available to lock up the doors and windows of their child’s Instagram account, depending on what age the child is, of course, will relate to how much access you have to close up those ‘doors and windows of your child’s Instagram house.
  • If you’re looking for a specific tool to be able to monitor Instagram, of course, there are settings inside Instagram itself for parents to be able to manage their screen time. There is also an app called FYI Play It Safe, a South African-based app, which helps parents to monitor the type of content that is shown on the screen, not just in the account and it notifies the parent as to certain keywords, terms and images. Check out FYI Play It Safe here.


The final point here is that you can, of course, try and block and monitor all you can. But education is the power tool that will plant the seed of awareness that could last the longest. Without understanding and without the power to choose wisely, without the ability to self-regulate, kids will remain at risk even with the various settings in place. That’s why our program has been so successful. We at MySociaLife do that for schools, parents, teachers and students. Email us at to ask for our products and pricing.

The Ukraine War on TikTok: What We and Our Children Can Learn From It

Article written by Havana Dauncey

TikTok is becoming the most popular app in our teens’ and pre-teens’ lives. Despite the 13+ age limit, children aged 4-15 are spending an average of 75 minutes on TikTok per day. As a parent or teacher, you can’t help but wonder what they’re watching on there for that long, especially when a war is currently being broadcasted live uncensored on social media apps including TikTok.

So many questions arise for a lot of adults — What is TikTok? Where do teens and pre-teens get their news on the Ukraine war? What effect does exposure to the Ukraine war have on teens and pre-teens? Can adolescents tell the difference between fact and fallacy? Are there any benefits from TikTok? What can parents do to help their children rise above it, block it or understand the motivations of those posting about it — critical thinking is essential!

Let’s deep dive into the Ukraine war on TikTok and explore the effects it may have on adolescents.

Ukraine war on TikTok

Where do kids get their news?

Let’s start with the basics — to find out what type of news teens are getting, you have to first figure out where they’re getting it from. Most teens, over 50%, get their news from social media apps, particularly TikTok.

Anyone across the world can post content on TikTok in real-time and uncensored, so it’s no surprise children and teens are accessing loads of content regarding the Ukraine war. It’s also easier for them to digest news from their favourite influencer speaking their ‘teen talk’ (or kid talk) than a monotonous news anchor they hear in the background.

Adolescents, willingly or not, are becoming curious about the world and its affairs.  Some are even taking on the role of social justice warrior. For example, child and teen TikTok users spammed Vladimir Putin’s fan accounts with #vladdydaddy as an act of protest, pleading “Vladdy Daddy please no war…” This may seem like a small act, but it represents teens becoming active citizens in the world they belong to, standing up for what they believe in.

TikTok as a news source is highly complex. Here’s why:

  • TikTok’s short-form-content formula rewards hooks to grab users’ attention and gives little time for viewers to decide who’s the hero and who’s the villain.
  • TikTok uses an algorithm to filter content for its users. To be honest, no one really knows how it works how the algorithm works. All we know is that its main goal is to keep users watching, focusing on watch time and presenting it on the For You Page (FYP). We get fed more of what we click on, so clicking on fake news and violence ensures we get more of it, driving adolescents deeper into a rabbit hole of falsehoods or hideous imagery.
  • Because our brains are predisposed to focus on movement and novelty, adolescents are drawn to videos that are scary and shocking.
  • Our brains process video much faster than text, especially with the help of music. Teens and pre-teens are then presented with an unsettling reality where a horrific scene is paired with their favourite pop song.
  • More disillusion is created by teens and pre-teens watching their favourite influencers living life one day and then hiding in a bomb shelter the next.
  • The war-torn scenes are juxtaposed with TikTok’s creative, humorous and light-hearted tone.

How does this influence news on the Ukraine war?

Interestingly, it’s TikTok’s use of pop music and humorous tone that allows us to contextualise what we’re seeing, process it and distance ourselves from the hard and unfathomable reality in Ukraine.

It’s a classic pop-culture approach, but this generation misses the motivation of publishers in whatever they post, seeking likes, followers, celebrity at a high cost. Different from generations before that may have employed their own ways of visualising or voicing their views, this stick of dynamite has the added fuse of virality and global attention for publishing something. The rewards are different, making the motivation different.

Thus, TikTok constructs a complex environment for adolescents to receive their news.

Could this exposure to violence lead to desensitization?

What makes adolescents’ exposure to the Ukraine war so troubling is teens’ and pre-teens’ inability to separate fact from fantasy. Some may think it’s all a joke while others may believe they’re entering World War 3.

What about desensitization? For years, this topic has circled the effects of violent video games. But according to the research, there isn’t any long-term desensitization from these video games. However, while the varied research makes it difficult to draw a conclusion, we’re finding that this exposure to violence can still affect more vulnerable individuals.

Secondary trauma also plays a role on TikTok — this is when you hear about trauma and it sticks with you. This triggers negative emotions and can be triggered again later on. So for adolescents that are more vulnerable to violence, this secondary trauma becomes very real.

What does exposure to violence on TikTok mean for adolescents and parents?

  • This highlights the importance of the 13+ age restriction, as teens are a lot more capable of differentiating between fact and fantasy.
  • It’s also important to protect our children by promoting critical thinking so that they question fantasy and try to uncover the facts.
  • Parents should aim to prepare their children so that they know what to expect and know that they have a choice in what they see.
  • There should be a focus on building resilience in them to give them the strength on their own to be able to turn off a video when it’s not serving them.

Misinformation vs disinformation — what’s the difference?

The question is not only can teens and pre-teens understand the difference between fact and fantasy, but also between fact and fallacy. Most social media apps, especially TikTok, have little to no fact-checking tool. As adults, we know that we can’t take anything on social media at face value — more often than not, adults can tell the truth from the lies and are able to check their sources. But adolescents have not yet acquired this skill, making them vulnerable to both misinformation and disinformation.

Misinformation and disinformation are often used interchangeably, but there’s a distinct difference between the two:

  • Misinformation: Incorrect information presented either intentionally or unintentionally.
  • Disinformation: False information that’s deliberately spread with the intention to deceive.

Which one is worse?

While both are harmful, disinformation is often even more dangerous because of its direct intention to propagate lies. Both forms are very prevalent on TikTok. People spread misinformation for the sake of views and virality.

For example, in some content, visuals are matched with the wrong audio to create a dramatic and shocking effect and portray something that isn’t real. Footage from video games has even been used and believed to be real footage from Ukraine. Teens and pre-teens are constantly exposed to this ‘fake news’, believing it and letting it influence their perception of the world.

How can we protect our children from the constant waves of mis-/dis-information? We educate them. MySociaLife’s very first module, of its total 8 lessons of 60 minutes each, teaches children not only how to fact-check, but why it’s important. We can also teach them to report any misinformation they find. Just like everyone else, children don’t want to be tricked or duped — reporting gives them the power over the people trying to deceive them. 

Is TikTok all bad? What are the upsides?

Like everything, TikTok has both light and dark corners. And its light side offers our children limitless opportunities to learn, grow and excel — they just have to know how to find it.

Here are some upsides of TikTok worth celebrating:

  • Increased awareness of the global environment: Adolescents are becoming interested and aware of what’s happening in the world and current events, all by themselves — some are even now pushing their parents to get involved and become active citizens themselves.
  • Promotion of empathy and compassion: By receiving first-person accounts, often in real-time, adolescents gain a perceptive they never would have been exposed to otherwise, forcing them to consider what the world is like outside of their own perception and promoting a deep sense of empathy in the new generation.
  • An exciting new world for creativity: TikTok has become an outlet of creativity for a lot of users, expressing their extraordinary skills, talents and hard work, creating masterpieces of a whole new art form. 
  • Entrepreneurial potential: TikTok holds incredible power for businesses where they can gain wide exposure, build loyal communities and drive sales — teens’ exposure to this can inspire them to create a business of their own, utilizing TikTok as a key to success.

How to guide your children to the light side of TikTok

Every child is different. Some will suffer from the influence of TikTok, others may be more indifferent. The trick is to know which category your child may sit in and to pay careful attention to their behaviour to see if there are any effects — lethargic, fearful, and self-conscious are often normal teen responses, but are you seeing anything that’s concerning and noticeable? Don’t ignore the signs. 

And for every TikTok user, take a look at what they’re watching, be interested, ask questions (as opposed to telling) and use the opportunity to educate yourself without becoming too lofty and forging distance between you and adolescents. Connection and trust are key. Without it, they’re on an island alone, and you’ll find it hard to support them. 

Top Tips — how can parents help their children learn from this?

The final question to ask is — with everything that’s been discussed, how can parents and teachers help their children learn, grow and excel on TikTok despite the potential dangers of violence and misinformation circulating on social media apps?

We give them the most powerful tool in the world — education.

Here are ways to educate your children so that they are aware, protected and equipped to deal with both the light and the dark sides of TikTok:

  • Talk often, talk always: Start the conversation on technology, news, war and how it relates to social media — this establishes trust between you and your child.
  • Focus on preparation and resilience: Teens and pre-teens who are prepared and have resilience are much less easily affected by what they might see on TikTok, plus these are essential tools that determine their success in life, not just in surviving TikTok.
  • Educate yourself on TikTok: If you haven’t already, it’s about time you get to know the place your child spends so much time in — this will give you a much wider understanding of how it works and the content your children are exposed to so that you can make educated decisions on how to help them.
  • Teach your children how to curate their content: Teaching adolescents how to curate their content so that they have the ultimate say in what enters their lives puts the power back in their hands and encourages them to think critically about which content they want to see.
  • Explore the parental controls: While their effectiveness is undecided, TikTok does have parental controls worth taking a look at and discussing with your child. You can even teach your child how to become a productive client of TikTok by letting TikTok know what parental controls you want and what they should improve.


TikTok doesn’t have to be all that scary if we teach our children how to use and consume it productively, responsibly and with lots of awareness. If we guide our children towards the light of TikTok, a whole new world of possibilities and opportunities await, leaving them empowered as active citizens of the world with their future in their own hands.

Digital Citizens become Active Citizens on Minecraft. Wow.

We saw something today that just blew us away at MySociaLife. Beautifully clever and so well-timed for the world our kids find ourselves in. Considering pre-teens and teens still LOVE Minecraft.

In one sentence: “Players can truly build whatever they imagine in Minecraft, and now, this extends to their visions for world peace.” Yesterday, Microsoft launched an immersive Minecraft learning experience at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway. 

“The ‘Active Citizen‘ project educates young people about Nobel Peace Prize laureates past and present and fosters an understanding of the skills needed to drive positive change in the world. “Active Citizen” is now available for millions of learners around the world in the Minecraft Education Edition. Dignitaries from around the world including His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Wanjira Mathai, Chairperson of the Wangari Maathai Foundation, and Vidar Helgesen, Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation, have supported and participated in this groundbreaking project.”
Just so smart – on so many levels.

Watch the trailer here:

Our kids need this type of exposure early. We teach them and there isn’t enough of these tools to support this important work that can last a lifetime. Well done Microsoft.

Need a digital citizenship program for your schools? Check out our student programs at MySociaLife!

MySociaLife’s REAL DEAL: A Parent’s Guide to Snapchat.

What exactly is Snapchat, its age rating, and what’s the big deal here?

Snapchat is an incredibly popular social media platform for teens and pre-teens. Despite the age rating being 13, it attracts users of all ages due to its quirky exploration of visual expression, using avatars and filters, among other things. Simply put, it’s real fun. And they’re smart in how they put it all together. The user experience has kids coming back repeatedly as they trade messages, videos and photos (Snaps) and are rewarded with an increasing SnapScore for their engagement.

Snap launched in 2011 and released its Stories function in 2013, originally gaining hype due to its promise of a Snap disappearing which would protect your privacy, as the platform deletes content after the recipient has viewed the Snap. However kids screenshot so this largely negates the promise.

What do parents need to know?

Why is it popular with teens (and pre-teens)?


Before we start, we need to understand that we gave the device to our kids, or the school did, and this issue will not relent. We need to be accountable for the role we played, and we need to spend more time educating them. True story. Kids look competent online, but they’re lacking emotional skills to manage. Furthermore, for some kids (emphasise ‘some’), being social online with a tight group of friends (actual close or trusted friends, and not strangers) can be a safe space depending on the child. Not all children are the same. But all children need help.


Firstly, this is a social network and highly visual one, it’s clever and quirky. You create your own Bitmoji, which is essentially a little illustrated icon that represents you. And you can actually build this specifically inside the app, which kids love to do.

Snapchat Cameos

These are these very cool little gifs of your bitmoji with different emotions and different reactions, which flash around and act as an expression of your digital Snap identity and how you might be feeling at the time.


These are published photos or videos, available for your friends to see on the feed for up to 24 hours.


It became increasingly well known for some of the innovations in the way in which it transforms photos and videos – the core currency of social media and adolescents – by using creative, zany and humorous filters. Social media filters have been found to have harmful effects on teens’ mental health.


That innovation stems further to locating friends dynamically, getting a pinpoint location of where your friend might be in the world. Great – as long as they’re not strangers, which means extra vigilance needs to be employed for young users, particularly those who cannot recognise predator behaviour. One additional minor challenge here is the FOMO struggle of seeing who is where at the weekend and realising you didn’t make the social cut. NFI.


What has been perhaps equally popular is Snap Streaks – the trading of Snaps daily, to receive a little reward in the form of acknowledging how long your streak is lasting. The reward that is most important to mention is dopamine, which keeps kids coming back for more to trade snaps with each other in order to continue their daily streak. However, these streaks often come to represent the state of the friendship, sending teens to great lengths to protect their Snap Streaks out of fear of damaging friendships.


As we move into a world of AR, now we have ‘lenses’ – transforming what’s on-screen into an augmented reality experience, adding 3d special effects, objects, or characters, essentially almost holographic images around them. What’s not to love there at this age.


They can play snap games, which is a series of games in which they can play with either a random stranger or one of their friends.

Privacy and data

These ‘sticky’ gimmicks, all come together in one glorious win for Snapchat, time spent on the app, the harvesting of data, and the targeted use of ads based upon that data. And Snapchat has been well-known to make good use of that data, as reported by the media on many occasions.

Photo ‘storage’ and memory tagging

There are other aspects like the ability to save their ‘Memories’ specifically under a private pin code. Again, these can be of course largely harmless, depending on the child.

The Invisible Risks

The first invisible risk is to apply broad brush strokes to every child using Snapchat. They aren’t all the same, they don’t all use the app the same, and they don’t all take the same risks. Assess your child based on what’s going on in your home (are they feeling settled given what’s happening for them at the time), what’s happening in their friend group, and what are their evolving behaviours with regard to noticing any big changes. Those can be indicators that something is worryingly up.

In the right hands and parenting, most of this is not particularly harmful. But without the education of parents, schools and children, they won’t know what they can stumble into. Failure to educate is the biggest risk. Blind use of an app that reaches out into the world comes with hazards. Start there, get a program into your school so that gets everyone on the same page.

This is important because, if learners or teens and preteens don’t have private accounts, if they don’t exercise any of the useful functions that sit inside the privacy settings of the app, then they are exposed. In addition, if they allow certain behaviours – bullying or predator approaches – and not tell you about it, this can spin into real physical or emotional harm.

Snapchat settings guide

The Well-Known Risks

  • Obsessive use
  • Change in behaviour, due to withdrawal from the app
  • Over-exposure to inappropriate content
  • Unwanted approaches from strangers
  • Sextual content and sexting
  • The associated mental health influence of comparing yourself to others


  • Be involved
  • Self-educate on the app (like you’re doing right now!)
  • Talk with your kids at dinner
  • Express an interest
  • Share your own personal stories you have heard with them
  • No phones in rooms at night (before the age of 16 at least)

How do you get to the settings on the app? 

Click on the cog icon which will take you to settings, and in this section, you can find a selection of settings for you to monitor and adjust to protect your child online

What settings are the most important?

Snapchat settings guide
  • Add Two Factor Authentication
  • Change the settings for:
    • Who can contact your child
    • Who can view your child’s story
    • See your location
    • Who can see you in ‘Quick Add’ – basically a directory of everyone on Snapchat – turn this off
    • In this overall settings section, you will see (sadly way too tucked away) the Snapchat Safety Centre
    • In terms of location, you can select Ghost mode, which means your location cannot be seen.
    • In terms of stopping abusive Snaps, kids need to report them, by pressing on the Snap and selecting Report, or they can select to Block the user.
  • You can also:
    • Report a safety concern
    • Pose a privacy question
    • Request help from Snapchat
    • Or clear previously stored data across history, cameos, conversations, and more

What if you cannot change the settings on your child’s device because the ship has sailed and now it’s too late and there will be a serious battle about this issue?

  • Use a monitoring solution like Bark, which may also be met with equal resistance.

For the real deal in educating teens and pre-teens relatably, there is only one choice. Student data reveals that. Check out MySociaLife for current necessary programs that every teen and tween needs to see to be safer and smarter online.

Omegle: Setting up Kids With Strangers ???

With the slogan ”Talk to Strangers!” splashed across their homepage, one should already feel dubious about the popular video-chatting website. A closer look and it only gets worse – the page offers tens of thousands of users private chatrooms with strangers worldwide, at just a click of a finger. Omegle is a website that links people up at random for virtual video and text chats. They claim to be moderated but have an ill-famed reputation for foul and unpredictable content. The site is swarming with predators, who use it to groom children and gather sexual abuse material, and it is almost guaranteed that your child will encounter sexual content.

How does Omegle work?

Omegle users do not have to register or enter data, and there are no usernames or photos. Your name is ”you”, and the person you are speaking to is ”stranger”. Users open the site on a web browser, from a computer, Ipad, or phone. Users can add topics to help find strangers with common interests. There are clickable options for text, video, or college student chat. The website is simple and pairs users at random with people accessing the site.

There are no privacy or security settings on the website, and it is not uncommon for strangers to send users their IP addresses while using the site. With 10.4 billion views of #omegle on TikTok, trends of famous app users meeting their fans have gone viral and encouraged an Omegle revival. Children go on Omegle in groups and alone, looking for excitement, but it is not harmless entertainment and presents many threats that could have severe outcomes.

What does this mean for our children?

The pandemic has caused people worldwide to feel isolated and seek interaction. Omegle grew from 34 million visits per month in January 2020 to 65 million in January 2021. Although the site says one must be 18+ or 13+ with parental permission and supervision to use Omegle, there is no age verification. Users can simply open the site and start chatting. With no better way to gather research than experiencing Omegle, I opened the site and was paired anonymously with someone in seconds. He jumped into overwhelming flattery over text and then removed his hand from the camera to reveal himself masturbating.

Besides the obvious concerns about this, the flattery stands out, as children who suffer from low self-esteem are at a higher risk of being roped into something they otherwise would not do. Some may find innocent conversations on Omegle, but the likelihood of both parties looking for that is extremely rare. Curiously in children is only natural so telling them not to use the app is insufficient. Talk to your children about the dangers of conversing online with strangers and remind them that what happens online is never truly anonymous. Click here to see a guide on how to block Omegle.

Our ratings of Omegle:

Trending factor 7/10
Online risk factor 10/10
Safety settings availability 0/10

Article written by Ruby Koter, Cape Town, South Africa.

Yik Yak Is Back: What You Need To Know

The infamous Yik Yak has resurfaced on the apple app store after a four-year hiatus. The once-popular app took its tumble after being blamed for cyberbullying, hate speech, and threats of violence. This time, Yik Yak has pledged to keep its users safe.

What is Yik Yak?

Yik Yak is a location-based anonymous social media app. The app was founded in 2013 by Furman University students Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington. It soared to popularity among colleges, universities, and schools. Users could view threads within a five-mile radius of their location. These posts were upvoted or downvoted, with the most popular rising to the top. The app reached its peak in 2014, racking up around 1.8 million downloads, but met a plummeting decline and ignoble end by 2017 after being delisted from Google Play Charts.

A change for the better?

Both the users and the business itself were the cause of the decline. The users utilized the anonymity of the app – bullying and hate speech were rife. At a point, Yik Yak was compelled to block middle and high school users when in-app harrying poured into real life. Menaces of bombing and gun violence caused some schools to go into lockdown in 2014. Yik Yak shared details of students who posted these threats with the police, some of whom faced criminal charges and arrests.

The company lacked action and responsiveness in resisting these behaviors, failing to implement proactive steps to remove harmful content and improve user experience. The eventual destructive in-app changes removed anonymity by creating usernames and handles, which led people to stop posting almost overnight.

An MIT media lab study compared Yik Yak to Twitter. Its findings showed that posts on the anonymous platform were only somewhat more likely to include vulgar words, with a difference of less than 1%. So what was it about Yik Yak that made the harassment so disturbing? Many have noticed the app’s hyper locality, knowing that the hateful content was not from a stranger in a basement somewhere but instead, from the same classrooms and dining halls where the students were.

Has Yik Yak changed?

The newly vamped company says it is taking a strong stance against hate speech and bullying, with a new one-strike policy set up. “If someone bullies another person, uses hate speech, makes a threat, or in any way seriously violates the Community Guardrails or Terms of Service, they can be immediately banned from Yik Yak. One strike, and you’re out.” They have also created mental health and stay-safe resources.

The development rights for the app were purchased from Square in February 2021 by new owners, who are currently unidentified. “We’re bringing Yik Yak back because we believe the global community deserves a place to be authentic, a place to be equal, and a place to connect with people nearby,” stated the website.

The new app is exclusively available to American IOS users for download, but the company says it soon intends to extend to more devices and countries. Students seek to express themselves where they feel heard. The anonymity of Yik Yak allows students to feel “safe” and free of judgment. The encouragement to be “authentic and anonymous” in an online space could prompt people to say or do things they usually would not.

Is Yik Yak still dangerous?

The promise of anonymity is misleading – personal information may spill via another person, which could be enough for a waiting predator. Upholding the guidelines is dependent on the users, meaning that banned topics could easily be seen by many before being removed. It’s important to remember that nothing posted online is truly anonymous, and threats of violence are a legal offensive in most places.

Yik Yak’s anonymous structure and interaction with nearby strangers may impose danger, specifically towards children. So the revival of the app has us wondering: Will Yik Yak be safer the second time around?

It’s unlikely. Do your due diligence before allowing this and similar anonymous chat apps into the suite of socializing channels that make their way onto your child’s phone or tablet…

– Article by Ruby Koter