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(NEWS CENTER) - If you believe the numbers,teenagers seem to be shying away from Facebook, lately. Kids will tell you it's all about Instagram and Twitter.

See also: How Facebook protects kidsand Tumblr and Snapchat

So what do you need to know?

Let's start with Twitter:

-Twitter is where you can post a status update no longer than 140 characters. Twitter uses the @ symbol when addressing another user and the number sign or # for hashtags.

Hashtags are used when you want to participate in a global conversation on Twitter like say #GoldenGlobes. Many people also use the hashtag to express a funny thought or emotion. It's not always for the global conversation. Remember: @Username, #Hashtag

Twitter privacy:

-When you set up your Twitter account you have a choice, public or protected. Twitter is a public social network by design. The idea is to be able to speak with anyone around the world who is also on Twitter. There is an option to keep your tweets protected and this allows for you to approve the people who sign up to see your tweets. If you choose public, anyone (including people not even on Twitter) can see your tweets.

-If you are public, or protected, there is an easy block or report button.

-A user can follow anyone who is public.You can also block any user who follows them. A user can try to follow a private, or protected account, but the account holder need to approve them.

-Spam/hacking: There are robo tweeters out there designed to gain access to your account. They often will try to tweet you something like "Hey did you see what someone posted about you" and then a link. Most of the time this is a scam. You click the link, you get hacked and then your account is tweeting that same link out to the people you follow or follow you. If it happens, switch your password right away.

-Twitter does not offer the same protections that facebook does, however they have a well-laid-out and easy to understand section for teens and parents:

https://support.twitter.com/groups/33-report-abuse-or-policy-violations/topics/166-safety-center/articles/20169990-safety-tips-for-teens#blockignore

-Twitter parental contract -same as Facebook contract. Parent always has the password...

* TIP: Before your child signs up for any of these social networks, take the time to read over the privacy policies, terms of use etc. Most have a section for parents and teens. These days they've removed the confusing legal chatter and replaced it with easy to read/understandable documents.

Instagram
*Instagram's fucntions and policies are very similar to Twitter: public or private. You can link your Instagram account to post to both Twitter and Facebook on your behalf.

-Once an image is posted as public, anyone can see it, anyone can take it.

Instagram is now owned by Facebook and one of the newer features is tagging. users can tagother users in theirpictures.

As with any social media network,parents should alsywas have their kids passwords and check the accounts often.

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