Parent Tech Coffee Morning: Life After Facebook

We had another great Parent Tech Coffee Morning today! We talked about many of the different ways that our children communicating today – from Snapchat to Instagram to group messaging. Noticeably absent: Facebook. Most students today treat Facebook more like an obligation, or a place to check e-mail, than a place to network. Today’s session was about some of the newer places that students are getting connected.

We started by sharing some of the places that YIS students are sharing online:

We had a look at this chart created by Student Council during Digital Citizenship Week:

Snapchat is already off the charts as gr6-8 students track their time spent online for Digital Citizenship Week #yisdcw15

All middle school students were asked to track the amount of time they spend online in the spaces listed above. You can see that Snapchat was the most popular among all grade levels, with Twitter a close second. Interestingly this chart changes every year, which makes it a great way to track where YIS students are spending their online time. In previous years, Tumblr was most popular – this year it wasn’t even on the chart!

Why is Snapchat so popular this year? Have a look at this video:

After watching the video we talked about how and why students like to connect in online spaces, and why they are constantly changing. Here are some highlights:

One of the most interesting things about this Snapchat video is the addition of “stories” – the idea that people can share little clips of their day to create a whole digital story, rather than creating a “perfect” version of their day through filtered images highlights an increasing interest in the ephemeral – the idea that we want things to be available for a short time, rather than permanently.

Although the video highlights an example of Snapchat fame, we talked about how hard it actually is to build such a following on any social media site. If there was a quick and easy formula, we are sure we would already know all about it! So, although our YIS students might be following some social media stars (on Snapchat or Instagram or YouTube), the chances of them becoming that famous are pretty slim.

Awesome impromptu social media quiz for each grade level at MS Assembly #yisdcw15

As international school families, we understand the importance of staying connected – not just with our friends and family who happen to live in the same city or country, but also with all of the friends and family who live so far away. Staying connected on a variety of social networks can soothe the anxiety of moving to a new country, and help maintain long lasting friendships. A great example is this article: Grandparents Develop App to Stay in Touch with Family.

Although each family has their own practice in terms of allowing their children on social media sites, it’s important for parents to understand the value of having access to these tools, particularly in terms of staying connected with family and friends. Some of the main challenges are:

  • stay on top of all of the new social media sites that students are using
  • understanding how to use each tool so parents understand what their children are doing
  • deciding if it’s OK for their children to sign up for apps with an age minimum

Here are a few resources that may be helpful:

Thanks for joining us this morning!