A beginner's guide to: Instagram

Instagram was created because there was no single place dedicated to giving your mobile photos a place to live and to be
— Kevin Systrom - Instagram Founder

Instagram is one of the hottest social media networks among young people. It is second only behind Facebook (which owns Instagram). Instagram is nearly 5 years old but since Facebook acquired Instagram back in 2012, Instagram has become immensely popular with young people. 

So just how popular is Instagram?

  • 400 million monthly active users
  • 41% users are aged between 16 and 24
  • 488 Instagram photos uploaded in 1 second
  • 90% of users are younger than 35
  • 14 million UK users
  • 64% of users are female in the UK

Why it's so important that we understand it?  

 

The first reason everyone needs to understand Instagram is because of the substantial growth.

It is the 8th most popular social network in the world and is the fastest growing social network in the world. Since 2012 the Instagram has averaged an 120 million increase in users per year. 

So why is Instagram so popular with teenagers and why is the growth so substantial? 

The History 

An early sketch of the Instagram app, and the first every Instagram image, taken by founder Kevin Systrom.

An early sketch of the Instagram app, and the first every Instagram image, taken by founder Kevin Systrom.

Mobile photo and video sharing app Instagram has revolutionised the way we share photos, growing from a small startup in 2010 to a hugely popular service used by over 400 million people worldwide.

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launched Instagram in October 2010. The app rapidly gained interest, with over 1 million people using the app in the space of just two months.

The app looked to digitalise the "Polaroid camera" - capturing a moment in time in the modern era.... hence the design of the Instagram logo! 

This led to Facebook acquiring Instagram for what now seems a bargain price of 1 billion dollars in 2012. 

In 2013 Facebook added video allowing users to add videos between 3-15 seconds long. This is probably the biggest change to Instagram to date. 

Since Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 the biggest thing has been the growth... 

Instagram has gone from 40 million to 400 million users in three years! 

We are not sure what the future holds for Instagram but we are sure the amount of users will only rise and rise...

So why is Instagram so popular?

Instagram has won many exceptional accolades including the #1 iPhone app off all time! Instagram is exceptionally popular with young people and the reason is...

You can capture that 'Instagram moment' 

Instagram was based on the idea of digitalising the polaroid camera, taking a snapshot and quickly showing it to the world. 

To allow you to capture that 'Instagram moment' the creators of Instagram created a beautifully simple app which is easy to use and provides an unbeatable user experience. Since Facebook acquired Instagram the app has only become more slick and grown in popularity. 

Filters 

What makes Instagram very popular is the 'filter' feature. Once you have taken a photo on Instagram you are able to apply a selection of filters giving your pictures that artistic edge. 

Instagram users challenge themselves to take engaging, creative, artistic photographs to really stand out from the crowd. These easy to use filters turn the average person into an artist! 

So how do I use Instagram?

Creating an Account 

1. Download: Instagram can be downloaded for free on Android and iOS devices. Once you have it installed, open it on your phone. You'll have the option to login with an existing account or create a new one.

2. Sign up with Phone / E-mail / Facebook: Instagram allows us to sign up using either a phone number, e-mail or Facebook. Any method is fine. You can connect your Instagram to your social accounts once your account is set up.

3. Add your information and a profile picture: Provide your name, desired username (5 character plus) and your password. Once all information is added, add your logo as your profile image.

It's important to have a sharp, professional looking icon. Also this can only be changed on mobile. No uploads on desktop on Instagram... it's all mobile.

4. Let's find you some friends: Now your account is created...hooray! Instagram now allows you to add find friends to follow. You can simply connect your account to Facebook and add contacts via Facebook or find contacts in your phone. 

5. Add your profile bio: Now your account is created, it's time to edit your bio. From here you can add a short bio about your school, website and a contact number for people to reach your school.   

 

You are now all set up and ready to go on Instagram :) 

 

What files can I upload? 

You can access Instagram on desktop but Instagram actually only allows you to upload images from mobile and tablet.

The majority of photos and videos you take are taken natively through the Instagram app itself.

However if you wish to take a photo your phone/tablet's camera and upload it later, please ensure your phone takes photos in the following format: (This will be the case with the majority of devices)

•JPEG, PNG.

You can you upload other file types such as GIF’s but you will not be able to apply Instagram filters/tools after publishing.

Videos are recorded directly through the Instagram app and can be a maximum of 15 seconds.

What to upload? 

When you log-in to your Instagram using your account credentials you will be directed to your personal Instagram profile.

1. In the navigation bar at the bottom of the page select the "Upload" button.

2. After selecting the upload button you will be directed to the upload page. Here you have three options: 

  • Option A) Library. Upload photos already stored on your phone.
  • Option B) Take a photo.
  • Option C) Take a video. Select one of the three options. 

3. When you have uploaded or taken a photo /video you will be taken to two more pages. Filters and tools (see above). From here you can apply effects and edit your picture.  

4. Finally when your photo is uploaded and you have applied any filters or edits that you wish, you will be directed to the share page. Always upload to 'share to followers'. From here you have several options. Once you have chosen where you want to post the picture hit the 'share button'. 

  • Upload to Twitter
  • Upload to Tumblr
  • Upload to Flickr
  • Upload to Facebook
  • Tag people (tag an Instagram user)
  • Location (add where photo was taken)
  • Description 

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You are now an Instagram rockstar! 

Well you have the basics.... keep an eye out for more blogs in the future to further you Instagram knowledge young padawans. Or if you really cant' wait until then get in touch with our expert social team who can provide unbeatable social training :) 

We would love to hear any thoughts or comments you have on Instagram below.

Telling your school's story with video

Filmmaking is a chance to live many lifetimes
— Robert Altman

The infamous film showed French workers leaving the factory after a hard day at work. 

  The world's first video "La Sortie de Usine Lumière à Lyon (1896)" 

 

The world's first video "La Sortie de Usine Lumière à Lyon (1896)" 

200 years on and video is EVERYWHERE:

  • 4 billion daily video views on YouTube
  • 300 hours per minute of video uploaded to YouTube
  • By 2017 74% of all content on social media will be video
  • Snapchat users watch 8 billion videos per day
  • Half a trillion Vine loops a year 
  • 1.5 billion daily Vine loops
  • 600% yearly growth in video posts on Instagram since 2014

 

Many social media experts (including ourselves 😉 ) have predicted that 2016 will see the rise of video on social media. 

It's predicted that, by 2017, nearly 74% of all content on social media will be video! 

Perhaps you didn't know it was possible to upload video to some of these social channels...

...so here is the complete guide to uploading video on social media! Enjoy :)

YouTube 

The home of video!

YouTube is now 11 years old. It seems like it has been a part of our lives forever. 

If you have verified your YouTube account you can upload pretty much any video, any size, any length. 

 

- Not verified your YouTube account yet? Click Me :D

 

Here is what YouTube has to offer: 

  • 128 GB maximum file size (The Lord of the Rings trilogy in blu-ray is roughly 35GB, so to upload a 128GB video it would take something very special). 
  • 11 hours maximum video length: People may lose interest after 10 hours (we don't mean to be pessimistic- sorry). 
  • Upload as many videos as you like: The only restriction on YouTube is that after 2000 video uploads you may only upload 50 videos a day. They're generous. 

YouTube should be the centre-point of your school's video content. It's the second biggest social network in the world and is taking over television for attention. 

Have you ever seen the first YouTube video? 

 

For a great example of how to use YouTube in schools  check out our "For the love of social" blog post. 

Vimeo 

Vimeo is actually older than YouTube! It's one of the oldest social media websites. Vimeo is a dedicated video-sharing service. 

Vimeo was the first website to support HD video and has had a long association with high quality videos. Vimeo is arguably a much more professional network than YouTube.

Vimeo tends to be the professional film makers choice - but if you want attention and reach YouTube is your 'go-to' video platform.

What are the features of Vimeo? 

  • 500MB per week of upload space
  • Unlimited HD embeds
  • The ability to upload up to 10 videos per day
  • The ability to create 1 Channel, 1 Group, and 3 Albums
  • The ability to download converted video files
  • Basic-yet-robust privacy controls
  • Basic embedding features

To really utilise Vimeo you need Vimeo Pro - which costs £137 a year. We believe that YouTube is better for schools needs. Vimeo is really for professionals and active members of the filmmakers community. 

Feel free to try Vimeo but we strongly recommended YouTube for schools. 

Facebook 

The world's biggest social network. So just how has video grown on Facebook in recent years? 

YouTube has 4 billion daily video views.... Facebook has 8 billion daily video views!!!

These statistics are crazy! In 2014 Facebook had under 1 billion daily video views and in the space two years has doubled the number of daily video views which they are on YouTube. 

You probably hear a lot of statistics around Facebook video views, something to be aware of is that Facebook autoplays videos and counts a view as 3 second play.

So although Facebook video stats are incredible, the likelihood is that the view counts may be lower than reported.

So what are the features of Facebook Video? 

  • 20 minutes maximum video length 
  • 1 GB maximum video upload. 

Unbelievably, Facebook does not officially list this anywhere officially. We had to dig out the information from a Facebook FAQ!!! The main restriction here is the file size. It's unlikely a Facebook video will ever be over 20 minutes. 

So why is Facebook video so popular if it appears so restricted? 

Facebook's timeline and newsfeed style supports video content fantastically because of the invention of the autoplay feature and the impact it has made.

Of Facebook's 1.59 billion users, a staggering 1.442 billion users are on mobile.

An overwhelming majority of Facebook users are on mobile. Videos autoplay in people's news feed. Facebook video is fantastic and is the Facebook feature which gets the most user engagement. 

The reason the limit and size aren't a problem is because Facebook videos should be short, engaging and to the point. 

EXAMPLE: Your school is putting on a play....

- Create video marketing content on Facebook to advertise the play. 

- Upload the full video of the play on Youtube 

Facebook video is immensely popular. The next time you are on Facebook scrolling through your news feed, just look at how much video there is and see what content grabs your eye. 

Twitter 

Twitter seems to be changing a lot recently. Ever since Twitter developed the autoplay feature for video it has been a massive hit. The prominence of video on Twitter has been very apparent to all.  

SO WHAT ARE THE FEATURES OF Twitter VIDEO? 

  • 15MB file size limit 
  • Duration should be between 0.5 and 30 seconds.
  • Frame rate should be 40fps or less. 
  • MP4 files only

Twitter video is very, very restricted. It is restricted for a reason however. 

If Twitter were to allow lengthy video with a massive file size it would really go against the whole ethos of Twitter. Twitter videos should short and to the point. 

Twitter videos are a great opportunity to share real-time bursts of content. 

The key phrase here is "real-time". 

Post real-time video, like you would do real-time tweets. Twitter is your 'what's happening?' channel. Everything is LIVE.

If you want to upload a video to archive it, so you can forever cherish the moment, then YouTube is the place to go. 

Instagram

'I thought that was for pictures - right?'

Initially, a purely photo-sharing service, Instagram incorporated video sharing in June 2013, allowing its users to record and share videos lasting for up to 15 seconds. 

SO WHAT ARE THE FEATURES OF Instagram VIDEO? 

  • Maximum video length of 15 seconds
  • 15MB maximum file size
  • MP4 file uploads only 

Instagram video is functionality is very, very similar to Twitter (if not exactly the same). 

Instagram is a real-time photo and video sharing network. Although Instagram does archive content more so than Twitter, uploads are intended to be short and sweet. 

Instagram videos are fantastic for breaking up people's Instagram feed. 

Instagram trumps Twitter for engagement. 

    Instagram is one of the best social networks for engagement and posting native video will only boost your chances of delighted viewers. 

    Visuals on social media are EVERYTHING and this is why Instagram is such an engaging social network. 

    For a great example of how to use Instagram in schools check out our "For the love of social" blog post. 

    Vine 

    Vine - Twitter's best friend. Founded in 2013 Vine was created to work in unison with Twitter. Vine adds a whole new dimension to video content on social media. 

    SO WHAT ARE THE FEATURES OF VINE VIDEO? 

    • 6 second maximum video length
    • Looping videos 
    • Camera records only while the screen is being touched, enabling users to edit on the fly or create stop motion effects
    • Vines can be viewed on desktop but only uploaded via mobile

    Vine allows you to be super creative. This is just one fantastic example of how to utilise Vine's stop-motion features. 

    Vine is a really unique application that add something different and original into your news feed. 

    Download the Vine app and try it out for yourself. The best way to learn Vine is to try it out for yourself.  Check out the beginners guide to Vine. 

    Periscope 

    The original periscope was first invented back in the 1400's to help pilgrims see over the crowd at a festival but unsurprisingly this is not the periscope we are referring to.

    What's more real-time than live streaming? Periscope launched back in March 2015 and has propelled live streaming into the mainstream. 

    As we predicted in our social media predictions 2016 blog! Periscope live streaming has been integrated into Twitter.

    SO WHAT ARE THE FEATURES OF periscope VIDEO? 

    • Mobile/Tablet apps only, no live streaming from desktop. Though you can watch a stream on desktop.
    • Periscope has its own channel on Apple TV. Watch people's live streams as a unique television channel. 
    • Public/Private streaming. Either stream directly to your adoring public or just a select group of people.  
    • Periscope is live, it is not edited or tampered with. What you see is what you get. Real stories and a real insight into peoples lives.
    • It's free. How much would you have to pay to broadcast an event several year ago? Periscope is free and you can broadcast any event live from your mobile phone. 

    Check out our "Streaming your stories as they happen" blog for information about live streaming. 

    Snapchat 

    Founded in 2009, Snapchat is now a household name and one of the hottest social media among young people. It is the 3rd most popular social media channel for teenagers only behind Facebook and Instagram. 

    • 8 billion daily video views 
    • 10 second maximum video length 
    • Native video recording only (can only record on app)

    Snapchat video uses a style of messaging called 'ephemeral messaging'. This means that once your video is sent to the recipient(s) it will automatically delete after they have viewed the message. 

    You can post a video to your 'Snapchat Story'. This will make your video available to view for 24 hours to all of your followers. Snapchat stories have great engagement. 

    Subscribe to #SchoolBytes for our ultimate Snapchat guide coming in the next two weeks :) 

    Video has become a massive part of all social media channels and will only become more influential on social media over the next few years. 

    It's really important and beneficial for your school to start getting involved with video now across all platforms. Have a go and experiment with posting video content on your various social channels. 

    We would love to hear and comments/thoughts you have on video and social media below :) 

    #WorldBookDay: How digital is changing the way we read and learn

    After nourishment, shelter, and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.
    — Phillip Pullman

    Since we've entered the digital era, the way we read and consume books has completely shifted.

    The advances in technology has led to many of us dropping the physical, hard copy book in favour of a digital eBook.

    But how has digital changed the way we read, and learn?

    Books 

    Books definitely have a place in the digital era. 32% of children read daily for pleasure and 72% will read a book weekly for pleasure. As much as we love anything digital and social, preserving books is still of the upmost importance. 

    Reading books can greatly benefit our mind and body:

    1. Mental Stimulation: Just like any other muscle in the body, the brain requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy, so the phrase “use it or lose it” is particularly apt when it comes to your mind.
    2. Stress Reduction: No matter how much stress you have at work, in your personal relationships, or countless other issues faced in daily life, it all just slips away when you lose yourself in a great story.
    3. Knowledge: Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face.
    4. Vocabulary Expansion: The more you read, the more words you gain exposure to, and they’ll inevitably make their way into your everyday vocabulary
    5. Memory Improvement: When you read a book, you have to remember an assortment of characters, their backgrounds, ambitions, history, and nuances, as well as the various arcs and sub-plots that weave their way through every story  
    6. Improved Focus and Concentration: In our internet-crazed world, attention is drawn in a million different directions at once as we multi-task through every day. In a single 5-minute span, the average person will divide their time between working on a task, checking email, chatting with a couple of people (via gchat, skype, etc.), keeping an eye on twitter, monitoring their smartphone, and interacting with co-workers. This type of ADD-like behaviour causes stress levels to rise, and lowers our productivity.
    7. Tranquility: In addition to the relaxation that accompanies reading a good book, it's possible that the subject you read about can bring about immense inner peace and tranquility. 

    The reason we don't tell stories on cave walls anymore is because it's not practical. Books are in no way obsolete. It's an old method of storytelling but it's got many practical benefits and countless educational and health benefits. 

    Tablets (iPads, Chromebooks, etc)

    iPads in use in a classroom at Moulsford Preparatory School

    iPads in use in a classroom at Moulsford Preparatory School

    Tablets in classrooms are becoming a more and more regular feature of the modern day classroom but why? When many people think of the iPad they probably think of children playing on Angry birds or Farmville. However iPads and schools really do go hand in hand. 

    In the last five or six years tablets have become more and more accessible to people and the numbers of iPads used in schools have surged. 

    So why do Tablets and schools go hand in hand? 

    1. World's biggest library: The three largest publishers, producing 90% of all textbooks used in schools are all partnering with Apple to sell digital versions. Apple gives you access to near enough every book in the world. What a resource to have in the classroom.  

    2. Interactive textbooks: With apps such as iBooks Author, students and teachers can create interactive textbooks featuring 3-D graphics, videos, and the ability to take notes. It has increased the level of learning through interaction and participation. This really adds a new a dimension to storytelling and allows the reader to interact with the story. 

    3. Mobility: Books were created to be mobile. Guess what so were iPads! , They are light, powerful and with the right case durable too

    4. Personalise lessons plans for students with disabilities: By using the touch screen capability students who lack motor skills can actually watch their finger move and write directly on the screen, this greatly improves their fine motor skills.

    5. Budget friendly: You no longer have to replace old textbooks, digital updates make this cheaper, easier and faster. Teachers also don’t have to worry about damaged or lost books as well, all of this saving money in the long run.

    6. Speaking 'their' language: Students these days use tablets and mobile devices from an early age, some as early as 1 or 2 years old! By the time they are in school it’s second nature to use a tablet or mobile device. The iPad will keep their attention and resonate with students by aligning with how the new mobile generation wants to learn and communicate.

    7. Ready for tomorrow: Students today need to be technology literate. iPads and tablets play a huge role in preparing our students for college, university and eventually their careers.

    8. The future: Whether you like or not mobile is here and it’s only getting bigger and better. With 75% of students saying that technology helps them learn in class

    9. Security: Apple has arguably created the most secure operating system available on mobile devices. Downloading apps is more secure and iOS provides great systematic protections for multiple devices

    10. Ease of Use: iPads particularly seem to be extremely easy to use right out of the box. Apple has given the iOS a very streamlined, organised feel; you have everything you need, and it works!

    It would be easy to write hundreds of reasons why iPads are so perfect in modern day classrooms. They are the essential teaching tool, which makes storytelling more of an interactive experience for the whole class.

    Apps 

    They are over 65,000 educational apps on the App store, so it's easy to get lost, the app store can be a bit of a minefield if you are not careful.

    So take to make it easy for you here are some our hottest apps for iPads in school to enhance your storytelling experience in the classroom.

    1. iBooks Author:  iBooks Author is an amazing app that allows anyone to create beautiful iBooks Textbooks — and just about any other kind of book — for iPad and Mac. With galleries, video, interactive diagrams, 3D objects, mathematical expressions and more, these books bring content to life in ways the printed page never could.

    2. Nosy Crow Interactive stories: British books and apps publisher Nosy Crow has made a succession of beautiful fairytale apps, all with a strong eye on encouraging reading, not just tapping on interactive whizziness. Jack and the Beanstalk was their best effort yet, blending storytelling and light gaming with the company’s now-familiar voice narration from children, not grown-ups. This is the future of storytelling the super pack is £18.99 but this is a fantastic app.


    3. ScratchJr: Scratch is one of the most popular languages used in schools when children are learning computer programming schools. ScratchJr took the idea to tablets this year, from a team including MIT, which was responsible for Scratch. It’s an app that gets children to create stories by slotting together blocks of code: fun and creative.

    4. Teach your monster to read: Based on the well-regarded educational website, Teach Your Monster to Read was an excellent app introducing children to synthetic phonics, as a complement to their learning in the classroom. Its fun, accessible games introduced the letter sounds although – important note – it’s not describing your kids as monsters. Instead, teaching the in-game monster to read is key to the app’s structure.

    TYMTR_image.jpg

    5. iBooks: iBooks is an amazing way to download and read books. iBooks includes the iBooks Store, where you can download the latest best-selling books or your favourite classics — day or night. Browse your library on a beautiful bookshelf, tap a book to open it, flip through pages with a swipe or a tap, and bookmark or add notes to your favourite passages.

    6.StoryKit: This is an awesome app that allows users to easily create an electronic storybook via illustrations by drawing on the screen, using pictures and text, and recording audio to attach to stories. This is a great app for children to actually create a story, rather than just read one. 

    This is just 6 from 65,000 but its 5 we really love. Don't be afraid to see what else is out there on the app store :) 

    What about Kindle / Ebooks and other tablets? 

    There is clearly a wealth of technology available to us and it would be naive to think otherwise. 

    Kindle/ E-books

    The first electronic book was published back in 1949 believe it or not! Electronic books have been around a very long time. The fantastic thing about e-books is that they are a simple tool. 

    E-Books are still hugely popular! However they do not have the same interactive features as iPads for classrooms. 

    The real bonus for E-books is that their core design and purpose is an electronic book. 

    iPads and tablets are built to be everything from your wallet to your flight simulator! With this in mind many people tend to strive towards E-books for a reading only tool. 

    Budget E-books could be a really handy tool for schools. With access to millions of books, pupils could really benefit for classroom e-books. 

    E-books also have no apps or other functionality for children to perhaps get distracted. There is no risk to viruses or dangerous apps. It's a simple but effective reading companion and classroom tool. 

    Tablets 

    They are now hundreds of tablets available to buy for a very reasonable cost on several different operating systems.  

    So why not use a different tablet for classrooms? These tablets have a host of apps (many more than Apple) and much cheaper than the iPad with great functionality. 

    We are sure that many of these tablets could work for your school but when compared against the iPad they are just some obvious shortcomings. 

    Apple and the iPad just provide that level of class and provide a really smooth user experience. The iPad has fantastic durability and Apple products are tried and tested in schools. We recommended the iPad for this reason.  

    If your school does use different tablets we would love to hear from you in the comments section at the end of the blog! 

    Reading and learning in schools has come a long way....

    Reading will continue to be important in education but it will evolve as technology advances.

    It is time to be unafraid of the digital age, and explore new technology and techniques that could better our children's education. 

    We would to love to hear your thoughts and comments on how the digital age has revolutionised the way we read and learn! 


    How is your child using social media? A safety guide for parents.

    Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself
    — George Bernard Shaw

    Social media - two words which scare many people for many different reasons. Over 2 billion people are on social media...

    2 BILLION!!! That's a 3rd of the world and the numbers are only rising... 

     But how many children are using social media? 

    The Facts (13-17 year olds on social media) 

    • 71 % of all teens are using more than one social networking site 
    • 41% of all teens use Facebook
    • 20% of all teens use Instagram 
    • 11% of all teens use Snapchat 
    • 6% of all teens use Twitter 

    71% of all teenagers on social media? Surely these social networks have age limits and restrictions to ensure the safety of our children?

    So what are the age limits on the most popular social media websites? 

    • 13 Years Old: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, Reddit, Snapchat, Skype, Myspace. Tinder (13-17 year olds version)
    • 14 Years Old: LinkedIn
    • 16 Years Old: WhatsApp
    • 17 Years Old: Tinder (Adult Version)
    • 18 Years Old: (or need adult permission): YouTube, Flickr, Xbox Live

    Some stats can make for a scary read above more worryingly the harsh reality is that...

    THESE AGE RESTRICTIONS MEAN NOTHING!!!

    If a child wants to sign up to social media, they will do. Facebook will not ask for proof of age.

    Don't worry it's not time for a mass panic! It's just important to understand that children will be using social media and in instances they will be using it excessively.

    So how do we educate children on social media? 

    Educate Yourself.

    As parents there are plenty of things we won't understand about our children. Why are they wearing those clothes? Why are they singing that song?

    As parents and role models it's important that as adults we understand social media. And to understand the behaviour around social media.

    We could just read all of the bad stories about social media and go into a mass panic, urging children to keep away. I't just won't work. Children will use social media. You can't control it.

    And if you can't control it, adapt to it.

    So how do you educate yourself on social media? 

    1. Create an account: "There are so many social media networks! Where do I start!?" Start easy. Try the biggest social networks, especially those popular with teens aged 13-17 (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat). 
    2. Seek help from an existing user: Social media channels are created to be simple. You will most likely manage alone but getting advice from an existing user during your first steps can be really beneficial to your understanding.  
    3. One step at a time: Do not grab a list of every social network and sign up today. It's important to get a proper grasp of one social channel at a time. Being enthusiastic is great but just be patient. 
    4. It's not a spying tool: Don't sign up to Facebook and immediately send a friend request to your son or daughter and their closest friends. Sign up to educate yourself on how to use social media. Try making your own circles and using it for your own entertainment. This will give you a proper working knowledge of the network. If you spook your child they will just move onto a new network which you don't understand. 
    5. Watch and learn: Ask actual teenagers how they use social media. Create an open and honest dialogue and observe how other teenagers communicate in a mobile and social world.

    Educate Your Children 

    Once you have educated yourself on social media you are able to educate your children on social media. Understanding each network and why children want to be on there allows you to have deeper knowledge and give better advice.

    People fear what they don’t understand and hate what they can’t conquer.
    — Andrew Smith

     

    Social media is still relatively new and is still a mystery to many people. It's in our human nature to be afraid of things we don't know. By understanding social media we lose the fear and can educate our children clearly.

    We aren't giving you parenting or teaching tips here but here are social media lessons which need to be taught.... 

    The Practical Lessons

    If you stop children from being on Twitter or Facebook they’ll just move to WhatsApp or Instagram or SnapChat or Google+ or … you get the point. Give them the skills to make good decisions and to stay safe first and foremost.

    1. Teach children that whatever they put online is permanent (this includes texting!) Private is not always private. The photo they post online is not owned by them anymore. It’s owned by Facebook, Instagram, and Google, etc… and they can do what they want with it (so can that bully who happens to be a friend of a friend on Facebook which gives them access to certain photos your child's posts).

    2. Teach your child not to interact/follow people they don’t know in person. YouTube star Coby Person has made two fantastic, powerful videos conducting social experiments in which he messages teenagers using a fake profile. This is a real hard-hitting video which should be shown to all children to highlight the dangers of social media. 

    3.  93% of managers check a candidate's social media profile. This stat is really important. If a child uploads anything which an employer would deem inappropriate, it could stop them from getting for their dream job or even going to their preferred University.

    • 55% of managers reconsider a candidate based on what they find on their social media channels
    • 44% of hiring managers see posts about alcohol as concerning
    • 83% see references about illegal drugs as a huge turn off
    • 26% of hiring managers check an applicant's Facebook page
    • 16% of hiring managers check an applicants Twitter page

    These are just practical lessons to teach your children and are arguably some of the most important lessons about social media. Everything is permanent and your social profile is an extension of yourself, so be cautious and sensible. Not boring... but sensible. 

    What if a child asks you if they can sign up to social media?  

    Don't start with NO! If your child is one the few children who has asked you to sign up to social media before doing so. It's important to discuss with your child there reasons for wanting to sign up to social media. 

    1. Why do you want a Facebook account? They’ll probably answer with something like “Because ALL my friends have one”

    2. Which of your friends are on Facebook? Hopefully they will tell you. If not maybe they’re not ready to be on social media

    3. Are these the only people you would be friends with on Facebook? This might be a good time to talk about only interacting with people they know in real life. Ask them "what would you do if a stranger added you?"

    4. What do you know about Facebook? They may say something like “You talk to friends and share photos”

    5. What kind of photos would you be sharing? Our guess is that they’ll say something like “I don’t know. Me and my friends.” This is a great time to talk about what types of photos are appropriate to share online and why

    'Hot' Social Networks

     

    You have probably been hearing about these social networks over the past year and have probably heard some stories about them. These social networks are fantastic and have been revolutionary.

    However is your child is on the social networks it is important to have a discussion about their proper use. 

    Here is a quick breakdown on the 'hottest' apps with teenagers right now and some possible dangers to look out for. 

    Snapchat

    • 11% of all teenagers use Snapchat
    • 100 million daily active users
    • 65% of users post at least once daily
    • 30% of all millennials use Snapchat 
    • Worlds fastest growing social network.

    The main appeal (and thus the importance) of Snapchat is about ephemeral messaging, and the desire to leave less digital tracks, with teenagers having watched the social over-sharing of the generation that came before them.

    The app that allows users to send a photo that will disappear “forever” after 10 seconds. The problem is that it’s easy to take a screenshot, which makes that statement ridiculously untrue. 

    With this new wave of ephemeral messaging rising to prominence it is crucial now more than ever that teens are being educated in the dangers of sexting and inappropriate messaging. The 'self-destructing' style messaging can lead people into a false sense of security. 

    Tinder

    • 79% of Tinder users are millennials
    • 50 million users
    • 10 million daily active users
    • 1.4 billion Tinder 'swipes' a day 
    • 7% users are aged 13-17

    Online dating has been a pretty active scene since the very early days of the internet. Sites like Match.com and eHarmony have been using the magic of modern technology for years to match up singles, but the game was taken to a whole new level with the advent of the mobile app. 

    Tinder has revolutionised the dating world. 

    Many people don't know that you only have to be 13 to sign up to Tinder!!!

    When 13-17 year olds sign up to Tinder they are only allowed to search and be seen by other 13-17 year olds. However it's worth keeping an eye out to see if your child uses Tinder. 

    13 years old is very early to be introduced to a dating app. 

    Tips for monitoring children's social media use

    It's very likely that your children will know more about social media than you do. So how do you monitor your children's social media use without invading their privacy? 

    1. Ask and discuss: The best approach to discussing social media with your child is to open up a line of communication with them without judgment or consequences. Ask them about how they use social media, what they like, what they dislike, and what they use it for. If they’re willing to share, it’s important to keep an open mind and not overreact or to let anxiety take over when they respond. If you want them to feel comfortable sharing with you, there has to be mutual respect and some room to experiment and grow.

    2. Consider the benefits: Communicating on social media is how this generation makes friends, deals with problems, finds jobs, and learns about what’s going on in the world. There are limits to what should be experienced behind a screen and what should be done without the aid of technology, but there’s no better way to stay informed and communicate with others in an instant than through social media.

    When teaching them, we need to focus on proper use and what’s appropriate and inappropriate. Teach them how to use social media effectively and educate yourself on how best to assist them. Encourage safe behaviours and habits, so they will be able to enjoy learning and sharing on social media, and make the communities they participate in a positive and enjoyable place for others.

    3. Learn about the network: After learning about the sites and apps that they use, do your own research. Check the app or network’s about page, reviews, FAQ’s, and consider contacting them if you have unanswered questions.

    4. No need for spyware: If you Google 'monitoring your children on social media', you will see results appear with fancy, expensive, spyware. All we can do is educate children to our best ability. We tell children that stealing is bad. We don't follow them around shops making sure they don't steal. We have to hope they understand what is right and what is wrong through what we have taught them.

    5. Check privacy settings: Check that your privacy settings for the Internet and Facebook are set to the strictest levels. Depending on which browser you are using, you can adjust the settings directly from the options tab and adjust levels around cookies, third party sites and more. This not only protects the computer user, but also the computer from the threat of viruses. Checking your Facebook privacy settings is easy as well. Simply go to Facebook's policy page to ensure that you are up to speed on its privacy policy and make any changes you deem necessary.

    Social media is NOT scary, nor is it bad. What scares people the most is that they don't understand it.

    By understanding it, we give ourselves the deep understanding to give the best advice for our children.

    We would love to hear any thought or comments your have below about staying safe on social media!