Pheed: Combining All Social Media in One Place!

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Visit Pheed.

Just when you think your teens (and tweens) have found a social media home — Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, SnapChat, for instance — along comes a competitor that draws users away in droves. In this case it’s Pheed, a website and app that lets users share every type of digital communication — videos, photos, audio, and more — in one convenient place. It’s attracting tweens and teens in droves.

What makes Pheed so popular — it launched in October 2012 and by February 2013 a Forbes article called it the number one app — is that it’s simple and fun to use. But it also expands the capabilities available on other social media sites. Pheed users can send longer messages — 420 characters as opposed to Twitter’s 140 — which in some ways makes it something like the micro-blogging site, Tumblr, and it’s easy to link to a user’s other social media accounts. The comments that users send and receive are called “Pheedback.”

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Parent Guides Aim to Demystify Apps and Social Media Sites

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A Parents’ Guide to Instagram

I am just back from the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) 2013 conference, where I discovered a set of well-written, succinct, and easy-to-understand parent guides about various popular apps, social media sites, cybersecurity, and more. If knowledge truly is power, then these publications will help parents gain that knowledge as well as become more secure and even a bit less fearful about the activities of their 21st Century children. These 21st Century learners — our children — work and play in the almost-always-connected world.

The guides, from ConnectSafely.org, are freely downloadable as PDF files. Sometimes the download pages include additional resources.

Written by digital life and learning leaders, Anne Collier (NetFamilyNews.org) and Larry Magid (LarrysWorld.com)  the parent guides will be helpful to schools, church groups, and parent organizations. Collier and Magid collaborate at their ConnectSafely.org site.

A Parent's Guide to Snapschat

A Parent’s Guide to Snapchat

Parent guides are currently available on the following topics.

I expect these writers will write and release additional guides in the future.

Facebook vs. Google+

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A portion of the Veracode infographic

Many parents and educators observe children (their own and friends’ kids — under age 13) using Facebook or Google+ and sometimes both. In the connected world, these social media sites are fun to use, and staying connected with friends and other people has never been easier.

While the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) sets 13 as the legal age for users of these two social media sites, many adults don’t know about COPPA or don’t believe it is sensible enough to apply and enforce with their younger children. Thus many kids start using Google+ and Facebook at ages well below age 13.

One significant difference between the two social media sites is the way users handle friends and contacts. On Google+ a user cannot add a contact without putting the person into at least one circle (Google’s term for groups). A circle is a category that is set up and defined with certain characteristics — friends, school friends, work friends, business contacts, etc. When a Google+ user sends out a status update, he or she specifies the group or groups that will receive the updates — clear and easy for users to figure out right away. Continue reading

Wordfoto: Great Fun With Photos and Word Lists

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I combined a field of sunflowers with a word list.

I have a new favorite app — Wordfoto. Interestingly, it’s designed for an iPhone and does not yet have a separate iPad version. A GDS student told me about it.

With Wordfoto I create a word list, and then I have some fun turning the words into art by selecting a picture as a background to highlight my words. I can use an image that comes with the app, choose one of the many pictures in my iPhone photo galleries, or take a new picture. It’s even possible to use screen shots. If an image is too cluttered with details, it may not make a good Wordfoto.

When I combine the picture and the word list — voilà! — a cool Wordfoto. Like Instagram, the app comes with a variety of editing options, allowing users to play with the image, crop it, create styles, and fine tune the texture of the pictures. Wordfoto also comes with preset styles that introduce texture, color, and depth variations, making it easy for new users to get started.

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SnapChat! Instantly Deletable Images? Well Not Exactly…

Snapchat: the free mobile app that promotes itself as a disappearing act.

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Visit the Snapchat site.

Teens and, yes, some tweens are now playing with Snapchat because it’s designed to make pictures disappear at their destination — in ten seconds or less.

I’ve tried to use the app, and pictures really do disappear. Voilà! The content is gone. So does this mean a child (or an adult) can go ahead and send all sorts of pictures?

Well, not exactly. Read A Warning about SnapChat, Teenagers, and Online Photo Sharing, appearing on February 11, 2013 over at the Forbes website.

After downloading and installing the Snapchat app on a mobile phone, a user chooses a picture, text, or drawing and decides how long to allow the a picture to reside on the recipient’s screen — anywhere from 1 to 10 seconds. For Snapchat to work the sender must trust that the recipient will allow the picture to delete and that the recipient will be trustworthy and respect the wishes of the sender. Any user is supposed to be 13 or older.

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