5 Social Media Apps: Dangers, Safeguards, and incorporation in Education

Snapchat


Description

Snapchat is a mobile app created by Snap, Inc. to serve as a way to share photos, videos, and messages to people. The main feature of Snapchat was you could send a picture or message to someone, and it could only be viewed for a few seconds or indefinite before it self-destructed or before you deleted it. By having this feature, it hoped the user would be able to able to be more interactive in their communication. Another thing that was cool and people enjoyed about Snap was it also had filters, added AR lenses to snap and could show your live location on a world map.

Snapchat created a culture amongst the millennials in which new vocabulary was started. One of the things users were able to do was not only create Snaps but also they could post stories. The cool feature on Snapchat is that as soon as you turn the app on, your camara goes on and you can use it for pictures, incorporate filters, and even use some Bitmojis. You are now also able to see stories from all over the world. You can also create your own story and it will be played or on display for a period of 24 hours. It will also save pictures in your camara roll and it can show up as a memory.

Warnings

Snapchat is a form of Social Medi in which kids can join. Just like any Social Media app, parents need to watch what their kids are posting, who they are friends with, and who is sending them Snaps. The first issue that comes to light is that the picture disappears after a certain time but there is a work around. Another warning to tell children is anything posted on the internet even though it “disappears”, they do not. Snapchat has access to any picture its members pictures and may choose to redistribute or sell them. An issue that does plague social media recently more has been Bullying, but now, it can continue online. Predators are another problem which younger folks may face. Lack of moderation is another issue with Snapchat with the only exception you have to be 13 to establish an account but, the creator can just input their own birthday without another verification. There is a potential for data breach and privacy breach since it has the self-destruct feature for pictures. Snapchat does sell some of the data to third-party sites meaning your information can be shared.


Safeguards

One of the safeguards Snapchat dealt with Cyber Bullying. It has a feature that is only exclusive to minor/children. The user can also block someone too if there are some issues. Recently, they just started Snapkidz which is created for kids 13-17. Snapchat is also being constantly updated so at times users have a hard time keeping up with the changes. In order to monitor children, there are certain spy apps that can be used by parents. The biggest safeguard for snapchat is parental control and supervision.

Links to the App and other helpful Resources

An article I selected dealt the use of Snapchat in higher education teaching and learning. The one concern individuals have deals with the threat of potential surveillance by big brother. This makes some individuals feel increasingly powerless that their personal data being repurposed by companies for financial gain, which ends up superseding the supposed pedagogical benefit for the student learners (Fenn, 2020). The threat and fear of surveillance is what helps snapchat stand out but the data can still be sold as previously stated. The idea for this article was to see if integrating Snapchat as a too could facilitate easier dialogue between teachers and students inside and outside of the classroom. Many students in Higher Education are accepting the use of it because students can ask questions in a private setting and not post it so everyone can see and think that it is a “stupid” questions. About 90% of the students used Snapchat while studying which they believed it improved their grades. The biggest benefit of using Snapchat improved student engagement especially during the Covid pandemic which allowed the Universities to be able to push notifications to their students. The biggest concern and issue seen with incorporating Snapchat into education is that the end user has to become aware on how their data is being used on their server.

Tik Tok

Description

It was launched in 2016 by a Chinese company called ByteDance. In 2020, a small stake of the company was sold for $140 billion. It is a very popular Social Media App created to allow users to be able to create, watch, and share 15-60 seconds of videos on their cellphone. Other features are that the users can personalize their short videos with music and sound effects, filters, stickers to their videos, and can collaborate on content and create split-screen duet videos.

Warnings

In 2019, President Trump threatened to ban Tik Tok from the US since it was an app from China and it could be used to spy on US Citizens. He demanded it be sold to a US Company so the app could remain in the US. Certain trends can be started which can be dangerous to people and/or property. The current trend is something called “Devious Licks” which it challenges students to steal objects or damage facilities from schools and then post it on Tik Tok.

Safeguards

The company has a digital wellbeing element, which alerts the user when they have been on the app for more than two hours. There is also a “restricted mode” which helps filter inappropriate content on the app. One is also able to set the account to private so the videos can only be seen by the creator, and it also allows the user to approve, deny, or limit incoming messages to followers only. If the user is under 18, will have their accounts set to private which only allow them to accept their followers. Additional safeguards implemented are family pairing, direct messaging for users over 16, tackling fake news and misinformation, prevention of bullying, reducing who can comment on videos created by 13–15-year-old, removing the ability to download videos posted by users under 16, and a bedtime block app alerts.

Links to the App and other helpful Resources

Currently, the use of Tik Tok is promoting student motivation, creating an engaging learning environment, and the development of skills. For higher education, Tik Tok is being recommended to be introduced as a teaching-learning tool to be used with music and movement. By bringing technology into the learning environment that are heterogeneous, appealing, and inspiring. The biggest popularity of these providers and incorporating Tik Tok a positive educational outcome. This can serve as a valuable asset to enrich the teaching-learning process (Escamilla-Fajardo, et. Al, 2021

Whisper

Description

It is an anonymous social media that allows users to be able to post and share photos and video messages. It is considered a social confessional app that allows users to post whatever is on their mind which is paired with an image. It encourages private communications in which users can exchange images and personal information. Sometimes people use it to hook up but primarily it is used as a confession.

Warnings

The user has to be 17 years old before they are able to download the app. Some of the images are sexual and can be used with other users for sex. They use strong language and sexual images although no actual sex is shown. It can be an addicting app. Some of the confessions can be posted as content and they can go viral. It can show ads soon which in turn it can be used to track location or behavior.

Safeguards

It will track users to help deal with bullying. They are constantly reviewing and monitoring, to look at algorithm to make it safer for users. Certain situations like depression and eating disorders are referred to nonprofit organizations to assist. Also, if someone confesses to a crime, they will also get reported.

Links to the App and other helpful Resources

There has been talk about the use of electronic communication means in higher education to be able to extent use of anonymity. The way they can be used it to enrich student’s social life, applications, and social media platforms. Campus-specific approaches that may be employed will depend on the institutional climate, culture, and composition of the student body. (Coyner, 2017). The use of technology allows an effective management of classroom and content and to be able to increase communication electronically. There should be a development of policy and procedures to help prevent and reduce cyberbullying.

Instagram

Description

It is a social media app that allows users to share images and videos. It allows users to follow people and to be followed. It could be used for personal and for business. It lets you add location, captions, tag people, and also let’s you post to other social media accounts. The user is also able to do direct messaging with people on their contact and you can send requests to people. Instagram now lets users also place animated stickers and cartoons on their story, conduct polls and quizzes, post song lyrics and use songs, conduct Live Streams, and also request charity donations. Instagram users can also upload videos up to 15 minutes in length or 60 minutes for desktop version on IGTV about anything. Instagram also does have a shopping feature that also users to purchase things. If you want to post something in the future, you can create it and it will post. You can even save Instagram videos and post. If you do not to have the post up anymore, you can choose to archive it instead of deleting it.

Warnings

If it is a child’s account, one of the biggest risk deals with predators since the app is very popular with minors since it gives the persons full name, phone number, email address, and exact location. Some of the posts are also public viewable if one is not careful on how the account is set up. Some of the content are for mature audiences and not suitable for children like sexual content, harsh language, drugs, certain dark topics like suicide which can be manipulated by marketing. Cyberbullying seemed to be high in the warnings when it comes with the use of Instagram. Certain posts can also go viral which means the public is able to view what was posted and kids can be humiliated due to public visibility. At times, people can also fall prey to hackers which can try to take your personal information for criminal activity. Mental Health issues and problems can also arise from the use of Instagram for example compulsive picture taking to increase likes and followers, the incorporation of certain filters can make the picture look awesome, the use of the filter makes you want to share your photo more which users end up selecting Instagram as their default picture taking app, and the need to stay connected to people. Just like in Tik Tok, sometimes, there may be potentially dangerous challenges that are posted like the cinnamon challenge, ice bucket challenge, planking, tide pod challenge, etc. A user can also get private messages where one is unable to see the messages being sent by others which increases the risk of cyberbullying, blackmail, public humiliation, legal repercussions, or worse off, a minor can try to go meet with a stranger.

Safeguards

One of the safeguards Instagram has for users is that you can select who sees your posts. You can also select if you want your account public or private. People have to send you a request to follow you. If you do not like your username, you can change it anytime you want unlike some of the other social media platforms. I nice safeguard Instagram has is you can disable people commenting on your posts. By doing so, you can reduce the risk of cyberbullying or harassment. One is also able to hide their location. The two-factor authentication was recently added to prevent hacking of the device.

Links to the App and other helpful Resources

In a study, Instagram was used as a platform had a positive impact on student’s language learning based on achievement scores (Erarslan, 2019). By using Instagram, it helped the students enhance learning English as a supplement to the formal English classes being given by exposing them to the language while using the app for their daily exercises. It allowed the students to be able to create, share, and comment on content. Incorporating Social Media in higher education can be effectively utilized to help students. This allows the student to be able o be a part of a global community, share their ideas and opinions, help remove barriers placed by certain educational institutions, and allows the student to connect with technology for learning and teaching (Erarslan, 2019). The use of Instagram helped the students improve their language skills by being able to practice the language with peers from around the world and improve those skills outside of the classroom.

Facebook

Description

It was created as a Social Media platform to be able to communicate with friends. A user is able to post comments, share photographs, post links to news or other contents that are on the web, chat live, and watch short-form videos. You can also go Live Stream and order food from it. For businesses, it is an avenue to target potential clients to your products and services.



Warnings

Just like all social media platforms, Facebook does have some dangers associated with it. One of the first things is that your information is being shared with third party groups that will try to monitor your likes and dislikes and target marketing for you. Every time there is an upgrade that occurs, the privacy settings change and may go back to a less secure mode. Unfortunately, some of the adds that look cool especially some of the marketing ones, can possibly contain some type of Malware. Sometimes, your friends can also make you vulnerable. Scammers just like in Instagram, can create face profiles causing users to possibly be affected by them. It is addicting because people want to stay connected to the world around them.

Safeguards

The most interesting safeguard found while researching Facebook was that it does not allow adult content to be shown. If they do, they are reported and banned from the website. One has control over their privacy settings but you have to review them everytime Facebook makes an update. Allows the user to maintain a Friends list and select whom you want to view your posts. One is also able to turn off their location setting. One can also view themselves and see how their profile looks public and then you can go adjust. Ability to deny friend requests from people that you do not know.

Links to the App and other helpful Resources

Facebook has been researched as to it can be a valuable tool for students in education. Multiple benefits of Facebook usage for learning and teaching have been identified in which there is an increase in teacher-student and student-student interaction, improved performance, the convenience of learning, and a sense of higher engagement (Chugh, 2017). When it was incorporated into an English Class in Turkey, they found out the students were able to learn more based on their interactions with other people from around the world. It should be seen as a gateway to learning and teaching rather than just a platform aimed at enhancing social interaction, increase participation and engagement, content dissemination, improving pedagogy and information sharing.

Conclusion

The use of social media has seen an increase throughout the years. Some of the use can be beneficial and some can be damaging to the user. We were able to demonstrate certain warnings or dangers some of these sites had. Additionally, we were able to discuss some of the safeguards the companies have taken to reduce problems from occurring. Finally, we were able to see how some of these social media apps can be beneficial through them being used in education.



References:

Chugh, R., & Ruhi, U. (2018). Social media in higher education: A literature review of Facebook. Education and Information Technologies, 23(2), 605-616. http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/10.1007/s10639-017-9621-2

Coyner, Sandra C. and McCann, Peggy L. (2017) "Electronic Anonymous Communications: Considerations for Higher Education Administrators," Journal of Research, Assessment, and Practice in Higher Education: Vol. 2 : Iss. 1 , Article 5. Available at: https://ecommons.udayton.edu/jraphe/vol2/iss1/5

Erarslan, A. (2019). Instagram as an Education Platform for EFL Learners. TOJET: July 2019, Vol 18 issue 13 retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1223776.pdf

Fenn, P. and Reilly, P.J. orcid.org/0000-0002-6890-778X (2020) Problematising the use of Snapchat in higher education teaching and learning. Journal of Social Media for Learning, 1 (1). pp. 140-146. ISSN 2633-7843 10.24377/LJMU.jsml.vol1article383

Paloma Escamilla-Fajardo, Mario Alguacil, Samuel López-Carril, Incorporating TikTok in higher education: Pedagogical perspectives from a corporal expression sport sciences course, Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism Education, Volume 28, 2021, 100302, ISSN 1473-8376, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhlste.2021.100302.

Mansor, N., & Rahim, N. A. (2017). Instagram in esl classroom. Man In India, 97(20), 107–114

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