Common Sense Media is a great resource to understand the pros and cons of apps.
Locations around Scituate with Wi-Fi
- Scituate Public Schools
- Scituate Town Library
- Scituate Harbor (harbor side of Front Street)
- Dunkin’ Donuts
- Starbucks (Cohasset)
- Visit http://www.wififreespot.com/ to locate free Wi-Fi in other parts of Massachusetts and around the U.S.
- All Buffalo Wild Wings, McDonald’s, Panera Bread, Target, and Starbucks locations have free Wi-Fi
Digital Parent App Alert
Is it “Up” or “Down” Periscope?
What is Periscope?
Periscope is a new social networking app which allows “livestreaming” through a Twitter account. In other words, instead of merely posting words or pictures for followers to view, users can broadcast themselves live over the internet using their phone’s camera and microphone.
Periscope launched two months ago and was downloaded by a million users in its first 10 days of existence. It is available for iPhone and Android and is free. There are other “livestreaming” apps in competition—most notably, Meerkat, Hang w/ and Stringwire.
What can it do?
Livesteaming apps such as Periscope allow users and their surroundings to be broadcast in real time across the internet. Recently journalists used Periscope to capture events such as the Freddie Gray protests in Baltimore as they unfolded. Viewers can post textual comments and even interact with the “livestreamer” as they broadcast. Celebrities such as Jimmy Fallon have taken to using Periscope to allow fans to virtually hang out with him off camera.
Issues for Parents to Consider?
There are numerous issues parents should consider before allowing their children to download and use Periscope.
• Potential Exposure to Inappropriate Images: As Periscope streams events live and takes them to virtually any dark corner of the world, there’s no way for anyone to know what’s going to happen next. Sexually explicit or violent material, endless strong language, and drinking and drug use may all occur before your child’s eyes in real time.
• Lack of accountability: There’s no “report” feature on the app, which could make it an additional tool for bullies. It is not like YouTube where a complaint may result in a video being removed. Periscope offers no guarantees or protections for what your child may witness through the app or even what may be directed AT him/her.
• Privacy and Safety Concerns: Livestreaming allows for the broadcasting of images of people in without their permission or knowledge. The app, by its very nature, is invasive, allowing users to broadcast their lives to outsiders — as well as broadcasting anyone who happens to be captured in the live stream. All comments also are viewable by anyone watching the video. If users input a location, that location is shared with the video potentially making your child a target for predators in the area.
If your child has downloaded or asks permission to download Periscope, discuss these issues. Why does your child want the app and hope does he/she plan on using it? Will your son or daughter be watching others? Will they be broadcasting themselves? Don’t forget that anything broadcast can potentially be captured by viewers and will be forever part of his/her digital footprint.
My Humble Opinion
I have to say “down” periscope for any users under 18. I don’t believe the risk of exposure to the darkest sides of the internet is worth immediate access to the events of our world. Instead encourage your student to turn the device off and engage with you, family members or friends in person.
by Darlene Foley, Elementary Technology Integration Specialist, Google Educator Certified
Being a good digital citizen is no different than being a good citizen and showing that you’re responsible. As a member of a classroom, a sports team, or a family, we have responsibilities that include being kind, being respectful, and being safe. Regardless of where we are, those responsibilities are steadfast. It’s no different when we are online; those same responsibilities exist. This is the message that our elementary students have heard all year long and will continue to hear since technology is a part of every classroom and connected to so much of what we do on a daily basis.
Grades 4-6 have begun to dive a bit deeper into this topic of Digital Citizenship. In the last lesson students learned that when they text a simple message to a friend, post a photo on Instagram, or share a funny video on Vine, that they are creating a digital footprint and creating an image for themselves. Moreover, it’s a digital footprint and an image that they are responsible for and have control over. Students took some time to think about the image they’d like to uphold when working on the (non) digital footprint project shown on the right. This lesson provided a great opportunity to show students a Common Sense Media video that underscores the permanency of digital information and how it can impact their image. I urge parents to watch it with their 4-6th grade child and to discuss how students plan to create a positive digital image for themselves whether it’s through social media apps or working collaboratively on Google Drive for an assignment.
It “Swipes” Good Sense from Our Kids
Unfortunately parents have a new app to worry about. It is called “Swipe” and was created by Swipe Labs. Although the name refers to the way the manner in which users navigate through the app, it also has the ability to swipe the good sense and judgment with which we are raising our children.
As Swipe’s developers explain “With Swipe we wanted to build something fun that made conversations more like running into friends in real life — wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. When you get into the app, you’ll see a stack of photos & videos posted by your friends.”
A Swipe user can take pictures and instantly post them to their friends anonymously. The recipient of the picture can do three things (all involve swiping).
- If the picture doesn’t interest the recipient, he/she swipes left to delete.
- If the recipient thinks it’s cool, he/she swipes right to let the poster know the photo was liked.
- If the recipient wants to reply, he/she just taps the post to write a message, and swipes upwards. When the poster gets the reply, he/she can send one back to the recipient and reveal his/her identity. Replies can go back and forth until someone gets bored — and just swipes it away.
Although this appears to be an innocent way to share pictures among friends, the app’s slogan signals the opportunity for bad behavior—“See the photos & videos your friends won’t post on Facebook.”
There are a several issues that parents need to be aware of concerning kids’ use of Swipe:
- Underhanded Means of Spreading: When the app is downloaded, the user agrees to a lot of fine print which includes permission for Swipe to access all contacts stored on the child’s device. The app then sends communication (often via text) to all of these contacts inviting those people to download Swipe via a message like “Sammy Sailor is inviting you to join Swipe” with a link to a download site. The user, in this case, Sammy Sailor, is not even aware that the message is being sent.
- Anonymous online behavior is dangerous: Psychologist John Suler has described the tendency for people to say and do things online that they never would say/do in person as the online disinhibition effect . This effect becomes even more pronounced with adolescents whose neurological ability to use good judgment is not fully developed. In short, given the ability to post pictures without fear of accountability or reprisal, teens will often post dangerous, harmful or inappropriate pictures. The ability to post anonymous pictures is one of the central features of Swipe making it a dangerous app in the hands of our kids.
- Listen to the app’s own rating: The rating Apple has given this app tells you the potential dangers inherent in its use. (By the way, Swipe is currently only available for iPhone/iPad/iTouch users but the developer promises an Android version soon). Swipe is rated 12+ due to the fact that users can encounter “Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References; Sexual Content and Nudity; Profanity or Crude Humor; and Mature/Suggestive Themes”. Is this really the app you want your kids using?
So What Do You Do Next?
Now that you know something about Swipe, it will be important to discuss the app with your child.
- Has she/he downloaded it already?
- What kinds of pictures are friends sharing?
- What kinds of pictures is your child sharing?
- What will she/he do if an inappropriate photo is shared with her/him?
- What will she/he do if invited to download Swipe by a friend?
- Should Swipe be allowed onto his/her device in the first place?
- Once an image is shared via Swipe it is forever going to exist in the virtual world. A “friend” can screenshot whatever you post and distribute it to whom he wants.
Remember that inappropriate online behavior can become a permanent part of your child’s “digital footprint” and follow him/her throughout the future. Also certain online behaviors can violate school rules and state/federal laws. Teens often think that their online behaviors have no accountability and are shocked to find they could be subject to school punishments and even criminal charges.
It “swipes” your child’s good sense and judgment. Read more about the dangers of the Swipe app. http://www.scituate.k12.ma.us/spstech/