Five ways to keep Scouts safe on Snapchat, Facebook and whatever else teens use

Just when you think you have social media figured out, something new comes along.

Today’s teens and tweens fill their home screens with Snapchat, Instagram, Kik, Yik Yak, Whisper, Tumblr and a dozen other apps I’ve never heard of.

Facebook and Twitter? They’re still big players, though Facebook lost its top spot among teens a few years ago. (Snapchat now holds that crown.)

The point is that the internet moves at the speed of the internet. And while understanding social media can make you feel like Sisyphus with his boulder, it’s still critical to Be Prepared.

June is Internet Safety Month, so now’s a great time to review online safety with the help of the BSA’s partners at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

Here are five ways to upgrade your awareness.

1. Tune in to the BSA’s Cyber Chip webinars on June 15

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the Boy Scouts of America are teaming up for an informational session on internet safety, the Cyber Chip and how you can make your Scouts safer online.

You’ll learn about the latest trends and safety issues affecting Scouts and discuss solutions to help keep them safer while at home, school, and out and about.

Ju’Riese Colón, executive director of outreach and prevention at NCMEC, will be the featured speaker.

The webinar was Wednesday, June 15, but you can view it here.

2. Review this tip sheet and become as tech-savvy as your Scouts

How do you check someone’s browsing history? Report inappropriate tweets? Change privacy settings on Facebook?

NCMEC’s NetSmartz has you covered with this tip sheet (PDF).

3. Browse this Common Sense Media guide

Common Sense Media, which is my go-to source for checking the age-appropriateness of a movie or videogame, published this list of 16 apps and websites that are popular with teens.

You’ll see what parents need to know about the benefits and potential dangers of each one.

4. Check the facts from Pew Research

A 2016 report from Pew Research studied parents of 13- to 17-year-olds. It found that parents employ a range of actions to monitor their teen’s digital life and to encourage their child to use technology in an appropriate and responsible manner.

One takeaway: A majority of parents use “digital grounding” or restrict their teen’s online access.

Here are the other key takeaways.

5. Read this Parent’s Guide to Snapchat

If Snapchat is (at least for now) the preferred social media network of teens, it makes sense to spend a few minutes learning more about it.

You can start with this Parents’ Guide to Snapchat (PDF), read Snapchat’s safety page or watch the video below.

About Bryan Wendell 2776 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is senior editor of Boys’ Life, Scouting and Eagles’ Call magazines.