Is the Houseparty App Safe for Teens?

houseparty app rankingDoes something look out of place in the image on the right? It’s a partial listing of the top 10 free apps in the iTunes App Store today. In between Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Amazon and Google Maps – all household names – is a surprising newcomer called Houseparty.

Houseparty is the brainchild of the folks who created live video broadcasting app Meerkat, and it looks like it’s a hit. Launched in August of last year, the idea behind Houseparty is that groups of up to 8 friends can simultaneously video chat with each other, like they’re at a party. We thought we’d take a look at whether the app is safe for teens to use, since based on the rankings we can assume that some of them are already using it. According to one estimate, nearly 2 million people used the app in the last month.

First of all, the age limit is 13 years old, but like so many other apps and social networks, they don’t ask a user’s age at signup so they aren’t even trying to exclude the kids. All you need is a smartphone to join and use the service.

Houseparty does collect a user’s name, email and phone number, so those pieces of information are “out there”, but there is no indication that this is more of a risk than with any other network.

Houseparty’s Privacy Policy states that they may collect user location information, which does seem like an unknowable risk to us. If they are using your location to somehow improve the service, it’s probably no big deal, but if they at any point they decide to broadcast user location to other users, that is not safe for teens. If they decide to suggest “friends” based on a user’s location, that could be a nightmare.

Houseparty appA number of types of content are not permitted. From the TOS:

You may NOT post content that:

  • Impersonates another person or entity in a manner that does or is intended to mislead, confuse, or deceive others;

  • Violates the rights of a third party, including copyright, trademark, privacy, and publicity rights;

  • Promotes discrimination, hatred or harm against any individual or group;

  • Is a direct and specific threat of violence to others;

  • Is defamatory, obscene or pornographic;

  • Is furtherance of illegal activities; or

  • Is harassing, abusive, or constitutes spam.

It doesn’t look to us, based on that wording, that plain old nudity is prohibited, but if your teen is looking for a sexting app, this one is no more risky than others out there.

Houseparty has built some safeguards to help users avoid unwanted joiners, which can happen. According to an article at The Verge:

“A friend of a friend can enter your chat, and when they do, a banner warning “Stranger danger!” flashes on your screen. You can “wave” at other users to send them a push notification inviting them to join you — like a FaceTime call, sure, but a bit less thirsty. And you can lock your room for privacy.”

Other than the location tracking, we don’t see any real red flags here. We have reached out to the company for comment on the location thing, and will update this post for clarity if and when we hear back.

 

 

If your teen or tween is active online and you are having trouble keeping up, we can help. We respect your kids’ privacy and give you the tools you need to be a better digital parent. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

Work at a high school or college? We have custom solutions for monitoring dangerous or inappropriate activity. Learn more.

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Google’s New App Will Help You Safely Track Your Kids

Google, like most companies that profit from online advertising, make it their business to know everything possible about what you’re doing online, and when possible offline. For parents who value knowing the whereabouts of our kids, Google may be turning this into a benefit.

google-trusted-contactsThis week Google is launching Trusted Contacts, an Android app designed to allow your closest family members to quickly access information about your whereabouts and online activity. There’s no word as yet about whether an iOS version s forthcoming, or when.

If you’re a parent giving your child his or her first phone, this is something we’re likely to recommend after we’ve had chance to see how it works in the real world.

After downloading the free app, the parent or child can log in using the child’s Gmail credentials and activate the location history in Google Maps – a log of all the places you’ve been with your phone GPS turned on. Note: this is one reservation we have about the app. Kids and teens will need to be careful to have location turned on for this app, but should keep it off for most others with some exceptions (i.e. Google Maps is okay, but Facebook checkins can be an unnecessary risk).

After parent and child have both turned on and logged into the app, a parent can:

  • See a log of the places his child has been
  • Request the precise location of the child at any time
  • See the phone’s activity status to make sure that it is on and connected

Additionally, kids using the app can send a message to a parent any time they are lost or feel unsafe. Parents responding will have the luxury of knowing exactly where the distressed child is.

With kids getting smartphones earlier and earlier, this app could be a big help in a number of situations. If a parent is unsure whether that kid made it to the after school event, or on a family trip to the zoo when one child wanders off, this is a great solution.

Google already collects a ton on information about all of its users – many would argue too much information. That they’re now offering a free product principally promoting user safety is a very good thing.

 

 

If your teen or tween is active online and you are having trouble keeping up, we can help. We respect your kids’ privacy and give you the tools you need to be a better digital parent. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

Work at a high school or college? We have custom solutions for monitoring dangerous or inappropriate activity. Learn more.

 

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news and information on keeping your teens safe online. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter below.

 

Survey: What Does Adult Cyberbullying Look Like?

We wrote earlier this week about how younger people and those who spend more time on social media are more likely to be harassed online. That doesn’t mean that you should spend less time online – just that you need to be prepared for if and when the bad guys come knocking.

teen-cyberbullyingIt’s pretty straightforward stuff for adults, but doesn’t necessarily come as second nature to kids. That’s where parents come in.

The survey that we referenced was a little off the beaten path for us since the survey respondents were adults only – 18 years old and up. Normally we focus on child and teen issues. We thought we’d take a second look at the survey to highlight what types of adult harassment and cyberbullying are happening with adults these days, and what it means for families trying to safely and happily get around online.

Survey respondents reported having been subjected to the following:

  • Called offensive names – 17%
  • Received comments designed to embarrass – 14%
  • Received harmful comments about their appearance – 9%
  • Had personal details posted online – 7%
  • Victim of an online stalker – 6%
  • Repeatedly harassed over time – 6%
  • Threats of physical harassment – 4%
  • Sexual harassment – 4%

When asked about the above offenses, female social media users were much more likely than men to experience unwanted comments about their appearance, stalking and sexual harassment.

Does what happens online stay online? Not necessarily, even for adults. Of social media users who had been harassed, 28% of females say that it had an impact on their real world lives versus 19% of men.

It is probably obvious to parents that female kids are more likely to be harassed sexually or stalked online. As our young, inexperienced daughters venture online for the first time, it might not be as obvious to them.

Before you hand your child their first connected device you should be warning them about what may happen online, regardless of whether they’re a boy or a girl. With our daughters, it makes sense to be very clear about what the bad guys might be up to, and don’t think that tweens are too young to need this kind of guidance. The trolls get started early.

 

 

 

If your teen or tween is active online and you are having trouble keeping up, we can help. We respect your kids’ privacy and give you the tools you need to be a better digital parent. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

Work at a high school or college? We have custom solutions for monitoring dangerous or inappropriate activity. Learn more.

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news and information on keeping your teens safe online. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter below.

 

Instagram Resources for Bullying and Self-Injury Victims

Instagram logoInstagram is a community of sorts, so it makes sense that you would be able to report people in the community who are harming you, or who appear to be at risk of harming themselves.

We’ll be the first to admit that Instagram has done a good job creating such resources for users, and they are getting better. This week they announced that they are extending their helpline resources to a number of additional countries in Asia including Japan, Korea and Singapore.

The way the self-harm resources work is that an algorithm is running in the background that attempts to identify and reach out to users who appear to be at risk, and then offer to connect that user to a third party organization that can offer support.

ig-cutting-1

Let’s take a look at an example. This morning, we opened the search window and typed “cutting”, a hashtag frequently (too frequently) used by people who are engaged in self-harm. Workout fanatics also use that hashtag, which is probably why Instagram hasn’t killed it off entirely. When we proceeded to the search results, the message at right is displayed. If you click “Get Support” you are prompted with the options of messaging a friend, contacting a helpline or clicking thorough to a list of tips and support resources.

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ig-cutting-2

If we instead opt to see the search results, we might be unlucky enough to see the image at right. This user claims to be in recovery, but does not appear to be doing very well. If you are so inclined, you can report that user to Instagram and hope that they’ll facilitate some sort of help.

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ig333

To that end, if you want to report anybody else’s account to Instagram, either because the account or a post is in any way inappropriate (self-harm, illegal activity, pornography…) or because you are being cyberbullied, click the three dots (…) at top right and the menu at right appears. The top two choices on the following screen allow you to report a user who appears to be a risk of self-injury, or to report an incident or harassment or bullying.

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ig444
Finally, there is help for users who are the victim of abusive comments posted under their posts. You can report those as well, but it’s a little trickier. If you see an abusive comment, tap the comment bubble below the pic and swipe left on the offending comment. You can then delete the comment (a great option) or tap the “!” (pictured at right) and report the comment.

Note: In our experience Instagram is not all that responsive to user inquiries so we aren’t sure how well these options work. In their defense, we have not heard reports of users complaining to Instagram about abuse and not getting resolution, as is often the case with Twitter.

 

 

 

If you are worried that your teen or tween is at risk, we can help. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

Work at a high school or college? We have custom solutions for monitoring dangerous or inappropriate activity. Learn more.

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news and information on keeping your teens safe online. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter below.

 

Why Teens Are Drawn to Social Media Challenges and Dares

Today’s children are digital natives, with nine in ten teens admitting openly that they regularly use social media to stay in touch with their friends and peers. With all of this clicking and liking comes a hidden danger often overlooked by parents, educators, and adults. This surprising pitfall is the prevalence of online social media challenges and the potential health and mental pitfalls they harbor.

Take for instance the wildly popular cinnamon challenge that encouraged viewers to attempt to swallow a spoonful of the dry spice without any liquid. Even though it appears harmless, within just a few months of 2012 nationwide poison centers had received 178 calls concerning cinnamon overdoses and over the years children have suffered asphyxiation or serious burns to the lungs that require medical attention.

Unfortunately, the cinnamon challenge is not unique. Whether it’s the Kylie Jenner lip challenge or the choking game, unknowingly, many of our kids are attempting to recreate challenges or dares they find online. These desires often outweigh good sense, compelling teens to try their hand at some very obvious dangers and risky behaviors.

Just a Sample: 3 Popular Challenges on Social Media

Listed below are a few current challenges making the rounds on social media:

dare-social.mediaThe Duct Tape Challenge. There’s not much that duct tape won’t fix, but boredom shouldn’t be one of them. In this challenge, children duct tape a willing participant to a pole and watch them break free. Unfortunately, there are documented cases of falls resulting in serious head injuries.

Butt Chugging or Eyeballing. Instead of traditional underage drinking antics, children funnel alcohol into their rectums or eyes to get drunk fast. For an added twist, some girls have begun inserting alcohol soaked tampons to achieve similar effects. These behaviors can lead to alcohol poisoning, damage of body tissue, blindness (eyeballing), and even death.

Smoking Alcohol. This challenge involves vaporizing and inhaling gases from alcohol to reduce calories. However, unfiltered vapors bee-line straight to the brain and lungs which elevates the chances for alcohol poisoning.

Risks Associated with Social Media Challenges

Besides the physical dangers, early high-risk behaviors can be powerful factors in brain development. A child’s environment and activities are hardwiring the brain, influencing which genes will be activated within a person’s genome. Research has demonstrated how adolescent brains undergo a dramatic growth surge that relies on genetics, environment, and experiences. Participating in social media challenges fulfills part of this equation.

The neural patterns and released hormones have the potential to cause patterns that trigger addiction, repeated high-risk behaviors, and more. Today’s children are making uninformed choices based on challenges that could physically or mentally affect them for years merely for a few “likes” or cool status update.

Understanding The Appeal of Social Media Challenges

It is no secret that the awkward stage of adolescence is greatly impacted by hormones- mainly estrogen and testosterone. Research has recently proven that there are receptors for these hormones in different parts of the body, including the organs and brain. These receptors allow other hormones and neurotransmitters like oxytocin, vasopressin, dopamine, and serotonin to influence brain development.

Dopamine, widely known for feelings of joy and pleasure, plays a powerful part in the development of the prefrontal cortex which leads adolescents to embrace greater risks to achieve happiness. In the beginning of maturation, dopamine circulates in the prefrontal cortex, but deep inside the reward center of the brain, dopamine levels are constantly evolving. These changing levels lead to needing increased levels of stimulation or excitement to reach similar levels of pleasure as their adult counterparts do. As a nasty side effect to this process, addictions easily form in teenagers.

teen-sextingAnother factor influencing the popularity of social media challenges, is how teens often overestimate risk. Teens often get lost in the details about specific risks, focusing heavily on the rewards involved. The reward at the end of the challenge is what matters. Whether it is the satisfaction of completing a goal, garnering more likes, or comparing oneself to their peers, the reward is only magnified when social media is the primary mode of communication.

Looking Ahead

Social media challenges prey and thrive on the driving forces of peer pressure, underdeveloped prefrontal cortexes, and the compulsion to fit in with their peers. It’s easy to say that only high-risk youth or thrill seeking youngsters are the only kids attempting these challenges. However, this study attributes these behaviors to a child’s limited self-regulation and development. It explains that these challenges have potential appeal to all children, boys and girls from every demographic. Granted, this thought can be frightening, leading many of us to imagine the worst-case scenario featuring our children experimenting with online challenges. Thankfully, awareness and education are powerful first deterrents when it comes to halting the lure online media challenges have toward our children.

 

This guest post was contributed by Amy Williams.

Amy Williams is a free-lance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety.

You can find Amy on Twitter @AmyKWilliams1

 

If you are worried that your teen or tween is at risk, we can help. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

Work at a high school or college? We have custom solutions for monitoring dangerous or inappropriate activity. Learn more.

 

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news and information on keeping your teens safe online. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter below.

 

AT&T Teams With Schools to Fight Cyberbullying

Too much of the burden around youth cyberbullying gets put on schools – education, prevention, investigating cases and punishing perpetrators. It’s nice to see any time corporate America gets involved to lend a hand.

att-logoThe Teen Indie Awards for students films were held last night in New York, and showcased the winners in AT&T’s new effort to help schools combat cyberbullying.

The Cyberbullying Film Invitational was promoted and managed by AT&T and Fullscreen and attracted more than 250 student filmmakers from across the country. AT&T handed out awards to the best films, and plans to use footage from the winning films to produce an educational cyberbullying resource for schools. The video will be available, for free, to schools starting in March of next year.

The big winners from the contest:

  • Steilacoom High School, Steilacoom, WA, cash prize of $5,000
  • Mythic Bridge, Brooklyn, NY, cash prize of $3,500
  • Canyon Crest Academy, San Diego, CA, cash prize of $2,500

Other finalists winning $2,500 awards:

  • Grace Church School, New York, NY
  • Communications High School, Wall, NJ
  • Nature Coast Technical High School, Brooksville, FL

Other finalists winning $1,000 awards:

  • Cedar Crest High School, Lebanon, PA
  • Rye Country Day School, Rye, NY
  • Digital Arts and Cinema Technology High School, Brooklyn, NY
  • Pine Crest School, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Science and Leadership Academy, Philadelphia, PA

An additional Public Choice award of $5,000 will be given out at a future date. You can vote for your favorite school here (Edit: voting now closed.

According to Marissa Shorenstein, New York State President, AT&T,

“An astounding 8-in-10 teenagers admit to being cyberbullied, or know someone who has been bullied through social media or text. We know this issue is very real for students, schools and families and AT&T wants to help. AT&T congratulates the student participants of our first Cyberbullying Film Invitational. We look forward to incorporating their powerful short films into our national film.”

Thank you and congratulations to all students who were involved, and thanks to AT&T for an outstanding effort to help the youth community. Thanks also for giving these budding filmmakers a stage to show their work.

 

 

 

If you are worried that your teen or tween is at risk, we can help. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

Work at a high school or college? We have custom solutions for monitoring dangerous or inappropriate activity. Learn more.

 

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news and information on keeping your teens safe online. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter below.

 

Looking for Teens to Take Our Cyberbullying Survey

Here’s a shout out to our newest intern Julia. Julia has been working with us since the beginning of the summer. She is a junior at Montgomery High School here in New Jersey, is an excellent student and her interests include computer science and marching band.

no-cyberbullyingThe latest project that she has been working on is a new teen cyberbullying survey.

The rise of cyberbullying, and the increased interest in it, has tracked closely with the rise of cell phones and social media. There have been dozens of cyberbullying surveys over the last few years, but things are changing so quickly with the internet and social media that we are very interested in seeing some current data. Some of those surveys have included in their sample both parents and teens. We wanted to do one that just focuses on teens, and that’s exactly what we have here.

If you are a teen, we would love to have you fill out the survey. It just takes a few minutes. If you are a parent, please ask your teens to fill it out, or share it with friends.

THIRDPARENT CYBERBULLYING SURVEY

We’ll be back with a summary of the full results next month. If you want to see the results, look for the blog post by following us on Facebook or sign up for our newsletter below.

 

 

If you are worried that your teen or tween is at risk, we can help. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!

 

 

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

Work at a high school or college? We have custom solutions for monitoring dangerous or inappropriate activity. Learn more.

 

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news and information on keeping your teens safe online. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter below.

 

Instagram Introduces Filters To Clean Up Your Stream

ig-logoFor any social network that allows comments and replies to posts, which is most of them, the comments section can be a real mess. Everything from profanity and crude humor to outright cyberbullying and hate speech can be the result of an innocent post, and Instagram is no exception. Starting this week, they are doing something about it.

Yesterday Instagram announced that it is rolling out new tools to help users filter what kinds of comments they see, in the hope that the user experience for the average, non-hater user will be improved. These settings have been available to high profile accounts since the summer.

In the words of Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom:

“To empower each individual, we need to promote a culture where everyone feels safe to be themselves without criticism or harassment. It’s not only my personal wish to do this, I believe it’s also our responsibility as a company. So, today, we’re taking the next step to ensure Instagram remains a positive place to express yourself.”

To achieve this, Instagram is introducing a new set of filters that will allow users to control what they see in their comments, or more specifically to control which types of public comments can never be directed at them by other users.

ig-filters

In an example that we see too often, a young user will post a selfie and in the worst-case scenario, will receive replies like, “You’re ugly and you should kill yourself.”

One option for users is to have Instagram block all comments containing words and phrases that are often reported as inappropriate. We assume that the word ugly, as well as other terms used in personal attacks, would be on this list. An additional option for users is to filter out a custom list of keywords that the user supplies.

The new filters are available as soon as today (they are for me) by visiting the Settings -> Comments on your mobile device or your computer. FYI, if you’re going to build a large keyword list, it is probably easier to do it on a computer.

We think this is a very positive step.

 

 

If you are worried that your teen or tween is at risk or acting inappropriately online, we can help. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

Work at a high school or college? We have custom solutions for monitoring dangerous or inappropriate activity. Learn more.

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news and information on keeping your teens safe online. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter below.

 

Kendama, And How To Start A Teen Business Online

I was in Canada on vacation in July and was pleased with the weather and the opportunity to get away. One thing in particular surprised me on the trip, and that was the rapid rise in popularity of Kendama in the area.

colorful kendamaIf you haven’t heard of it, Kendama is a toy/game of Japanese origin, the original and most popular version featuring a wooden handle and a ball on a string. The player swings the ball in the air, and catches it on different sides of the handle. It’s a game of agility and imagination – the tricks that users can dream up and perform, many times after hours of practice – are almost limitless.

If you were a fan of hacky sack back in the day, you might want to consider a Kendama as a gift for your tween or early teen.

A friend’s teenage child showed me a Kendama and told me that he was going to go into business selling them online, and do in-person events. I may have looked skeptical, so he took me to his room and showed me a closet full of them. As of August 1st, he was officially in business.

Let’s take a look how the teen, who we’ll call Andy, did it:

Social Media – Andy set up social media profiles to build a following before he set up his website and began selling product. It is important that the brand, and not just the seller, have a presence on social media in order to build community. Andy has selected Facebook and Instagram (363 followers already!) as his first social profiles, and uses the business/website name as his social handles. Since Andy features lots of images on his social media, Instagram in particular is a good choice. You’ll notice that he uses hashtags effectively to increase his search relevance. Andy’s name and personal contact info are not listed anywhere on his social media profiles, a smart move when it comes to protecting his privacy. Remember, if your child is under 13, you as a parent will need to control the social media accounts.

Website – With the extensive help of his parents and a family friend, Andy set up a website, Northern Kendama. Some facets of the site, like the commerce/payment processing functionality, required more help from the parents than others. The site is bright and features lots of product images. Again, you’ll notice that Andy’s name isn’t listed NK Summer Jam 2016anywhere on the website; the contact info is his business email. The website looks good to go.

In-person events – If your teen is looking to start on online business, one of the most effective ways to get a jump-start is to hold a successful offline event. Andy hosted Summer Jam 2016 on August 12th and had a great turnout for his first event. Those kids will be fans, and probably customers, for a while.

Andy is up and running in business, and he and his parents have done a great job protecting his privacy. Your teen can do it too.

 

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

Work at a high school or college? We have custom solutions for monitoring dangerous or inappropriate activity. Learn more.

 

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news and information on keeping your teens safe online. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter below.

 

Twitter Is Not Likely To Eliminate Abuse

I’m a big fan of Twitter. Yes, I use it for work and our brand here at ThirdParent, but I also use it personally – a lot. It really is the best way to stay up to date on current events as they happen, and hear real time thoughts from leaders in literally every field.

Twitter logoThe main problem with Twitter is abuse and abusive users.

We’ve written about abuse and Twitter before – here and here and here. Twitter has been talking about abuse for a while, and sound like they have good intentions, but each tweak that they implement on the platform seems to come up short.

Last night, Twitter reported earnings and on the call CEO Jack Dorsey made comments that lead us to believe that they will never be able to make it a safe environment for some users. Dorsey’s comments in full:

“This is Jack. This is really, really important to me and to everyone at the company. So, I want to address both freedom of expression and safety together here, since the two intertwine.

We are not and never will be a platform that shows people only part of what’s happening or part of what’s being said. We are the place for news and social commentary. And at its best, the nature of our platform empowers people to reach across divides, and to build connections, to share ideas and to challenge accepted norms.

As part of that, we hope – and we also recognize it’s a high hope – to elevate civil discourse. And I emphasize civil discourse there. Abuse is not part of civil discourse. It shuts down conversation. It prevents us from understanding each other. Freedom of expression means little if we allow voices to be silenced because of fear of harassment if they speak up. No one deserves to be the target of abuse online, and it has no place on Twitter.

We haven’t been good enough at ensuring that’s the case, and we must do better. That means building new technology solutions, making sure our policies and enforcement are consistent, and educating people about both. We’ve made improvements in the first half of the year, and we’re going to make more. We named safety as one of our top five priorities for this year, and recent events have only confirmed that this is truly one of the most important things for us to improve, and has motivated us to improve even faster.”

Why are we skeptical that they can stomp out abuse? There are indications that they don’t want to. Consider this sentence:

“We are not and never will be a platform that shows people only part of what’s happening or part of what’s being said.”

In any discourse, harsh disagreements, criticism and arguments are at times part of what is being said. Twitter wants to preserve that real discourse on its platform. To get rid of abuse entirely, they would be forced to manually review every reported interaction and decide where the fine line is between civil and uncivil disagreement. That’s pretty much impossible if they intend to let users speak their mind and err on the side of assuming users are innocent until totally proven guilty.

Instead, it appears that they want users to self-police, and “elevate civil discourse”. That is a nice goal but it won’t happen. There will always be some users who are genuinely mean, or get a kick out of trolling others. Twitter won’t be able to get this right without taking more extreme steps, unfortunately.

 

 

If you are worried that your teen or tween is at risk, we can help. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!

 

 

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

Work at a high school or college? We have custom solutions for monitoring dangerous or inappropriate activity. Learn more.

 

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news and information on keeping your teens safe online. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter below.