Periscope, Facebook Live, Twitter, Houseparty, Squad, Instagram, and now here comes Ping Pong. These are all ways to record or live broadcast your life or segments of your life for the entire internet to see. Our teens and young teens are eating up this new live and sometimes raw form of communication. I’ve mentioned Musical.ly a few times in the past and warned parents about some of the risks associated with the app. This week, Musical.ly has announced the release of a their newest application, Ping Pong. This app allows users to record and send video messages much like Snapchat or Instagram Stories.
Musical.ly launched Live.ly, a live broadcasts app last fall and have seen major success in adoption of the service. In fact, there are many users who are now just live streaming almost every moment of their lives. Users can create their own channel for people to follow and be live online at any given moment. The issue here is that some of Musical.ly and Live.ly’s most popular users are young people who aren’t even old enough to have their own social media page. Apparently that doesn’t bother the CEO of Musical.ly at all.
While Ping Pong hasn’t fully launched yet (it’s available but you can’t create an account) it is being rolled out soon and will be another app that parents must understand.
What a Parent Should Know
Live video and video messaging are now mainstays of the social media your teens and young teens are using every day. It’s important to remember that they are able to broadcast and watch broadcast of everything that happens in their and their friend’s daily lives. For most young people this is going to be trips to the coffee shops, dumb stunts in the gym at school, and evening’s at friend’s houses goofing off. Unfortunately it can mean other, less savory, content as well. These apps are rated for ages 17 and up because the content is provided by the users of the services. This means that parents are expected to be monitoring what their kids are doing on these applications. Allow me to second that expectation. Use monitoring software like TeenSafe and filters like NetNanny to guard your teen from unwanted content. This will protect them while giving them full use of the social media they want to have access too. They will just be using it under your boundaries.