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The Evolution of Kids Social Media

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Dylan FutureMakers

on 30 November 2015

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Transcript of The Evolution of Kids Social Media

Kids Social Media has changed
10 years ago, kids were hanging out on virtual worlds, hiding their real identity. Today, they're on Instagram and Snapchat, being themselves, but risking their future at the same time.
When I was 8
I was using online virtual world platforms like Bin Weevils and Club Penguin.
I was engaging with other players taking on a virtual alias, and I was encouraged to follow a set of rules to make gameplay for everyone safe and fun.
I was safe
My chat was filtered and moderated, and I wouldn't be permitted to do anything even slightly rude. This enforced good morals in me.
I was not exposed to profane content because these platforms had limits to how much "freedom" you had. I'd call that a good thing.
Over the next 4 years
As this generation entered senior school, things only got worse. Kids turned young adults were abusing the freedom of social media, tarnishing their real identity, probably risking the chances of ever getting a job, as they did the unspeakables.
They were more exposed to content they shouldn't see ever in their lifetime. But that became normal, as they became corrupted by freedom.
The influence on today
It's painful, but true to say that everyone is on Instagram and Snapchat. These platforms have a huge under 13 audience - but that's dangerous.
Today, social media is used by a variety of people, for a variety of purposes, some of which are not always good, which makes social media a good tool with its
downsides.
Come 2012
The year when tons of kids were ditching safe play environments to join social networks like Instagram and Snapchat.
There were no limits. They could take pictures of what they wanted, doodled what they wanted and said what they wanted.
Nobody told them what was right and wrong.
The Evolution of Kids Social Media
Nobody told them what was right and wrong
Kids gained more independence on the internet, as they got their own devices, which they could do whatever they wanted to on.
But there were no filters, no virtual identities. They were being themselves. Leaving themselves exposed to predators of the internet, leading to the scare stories of pedophilia we hear far too often in the news.
Using these platforms was often some kids first encounter with social media, so they didn't learn to follow the moral code of the web.
There was lots on the web, which kids
could view freely.
What did I do?
This actually became pretty handy to me as I reported every person I hated in school to Instagram for being underage.
I have yet to become poisoned by the likes of Instagram and Snapchat, because compulsive photo sharing really isn't my thing.
I still follow the rules of virtual worlds when I'm online - because it doesn't just prevent me from getting banned, but it made me a better digital citizen, so thank you virtual worlds for
your kind wing.
Enter PopJam
Quite possibly the start of safe social networking for kids. It's unfortunate to say that the humble virtual world is gone. Kids will go to Instagram and Snapchat first, and I admire PopJam because they make kids turn around before they go in to the world wide unrestricted web.
PopJam gives creative freedom, but is also moderated, enforces a moral code, but lets you be free (to an extent).
But...
No platform can be completely kid-safe, for many reasons, but PopJam is a good start. In a few years time, kids will be using PopJam rather than other apps, and that's a good thing.
When kids get to 13, they would be posed with the choice of leaving their following on PopJam to start fresh elsewhere, or stay on PopJam. I think they'd choose the latter, which makes this app so important to how kids social media is due to evolve, and how it has evolved more recently.
Wait. Why has this happened?
Kids want two words. Creative freedom. They want to doodle, they want to snap, they want to share. They don't want to be restricted to what's in this month's catalog. They want to draw a cape on to a pear, they want to draw bull horns on their best mate's selfie.
What kids want to do on the Internet has changed.
Should kids always follow safe rules for the web?
I think yes. Yes, because it protects them in a sense. You think twice before hitting "Send".
Being a good digital citizen can lead to bigger and better things. You will be a better person, a better friend, a better role model.
Rules for the web are actually a moral code you should be following anyway. It's just a reminder.
Should kids be using social media platforms for over 13s?
100% no. These platforms aren't made for kids, and they don't welcome kids, so kids shouldn't be using them.
They wouldn't walk in to a pub and order a pint of beer if they were under 13, so why join Instagram and Snapchat.
There are better alternatives made for kids with kids in mind, which are actually better than the apps for teens.
Should kids shield their identity?
I think yes. Yes, because you can change a virtual identity. Once you change your virtual name from BobStar to TimMoon, you're a new being.
Your face won't change, unless you have lots of plastic surgery. Your name won't change, unless you adore paperwork.
If you use your real identity, what you post will stay with you
forever.
Conclusion
Kids social media has changed dramatically over the past few years. What kids want to do online has changed, and companies are trying to keep up.
Disney are rethinking Club Penguin, adding more creativity and personalization, while remaining safe for kids, meanwhile Mind Candy are rethinking the entire Moshi brand.
Kids are powerful consumers, and they're driving this change. I don't think this change should happen. But that's me.
Full transcript