Tech Updates for Aware Parents

Father And Son Using Laptop At Dining Table

Side view of father and son using laptop at dining table

In the ever changing world of mobile technology, it is hard to keep up with new apps and services. Fads come quickly and leave just as quickly. During the first half of this month, a few tech changes have occurred that a tech savvy parent might want to be aware of. This post is a short recap of new things and changes. If you are interested, please dig further into the apps and/or new functions.


At the beginning of the month, the founder of the video messaging app, Vine, launched a new app named Peach. This new app is more like a Twitter or Facebook than a traditional messaging app. Messages that are written are posted to a home page in real time. The app allows for video, gifs and traditional images. There is also a draw function in case you want to post a doodle. The app is officially only available for iOS systems.

Three days after it’s release, Peach was in the top ten for social networking apps in the iPhone app store. Whether it is the desire for something new or the media hype, it is clear that people are checking out the app. Only time will tell if it continues to be popular or quickly loses ground.  (


Upshot is being touted by technology bloggers as the Snapchat for events. This new app creates a cache of pictures from an event or location of an event such as a party. If the user chooses the autoshare option, any picture they take on their phone or via Snapchat will be posted on the Upshot private event stream that a user creates. The app syncs with Facebook events to make ensure a larger inclusion of photographs. Like Snapchat, the images do have a self destruct period. The stream will only be available for seven days after it has been created. The app is available for iPhones now with an Android launch in February.

The idea of Upshot sounds great. Create a private event for something like a baby shower or family reunion and everyone who is at the event (and who uses the app) can then see all of the photos of the event. I believe this is akin to the intent of the app as it is created by the same people who created the family Photosharing app called Togethera.

Upshot is given a 12+ rating for infrequent alcohol, tobacco or drug use. As with any social app, it can be used for great good. It seems like a great idea for parties and events. On the flip side, I would be concerned about the content of the Upshot albums when they are used at teen parties. We all know that some teens have used SnapChat to send sexual content. What happens if these types of images are uploaded onto Upshot from an event? Is the entire group on the private event then possibly in trouble for possessing sexual images of children? (


You may be wondering why Skype is on this list as it just celebrated its 10th anniversary. On January 12, 2016, Skype just announced that it will be offering free group video calling that will be available on nearly all mobile devices. According to the company, nearly 750 million people around the world use Skype.

Though Skype is most frequently used in business and for legitimate reasons, there are some individuals who do use Skype to engage in sexual chat online. Be aware, that this group chat can now occur.

As always, this blog post is not meant to be an in-depth look into any of these apps or advancements. For more information, please check out the company sites to determine if you think the app is appropriate for your child to use.

Yik Yak

Yik Yak is an anonymous social network app that is popular among college students. I have written about the app previously on other blog posts. The company announced yesterday that the app is now going to also be available in a web version. The web version is fundamentally the same as the app but allows a user to type out their messages on a keyboard for ease of use or for when phone battery is dying.

When Yik Yak was originally created, the app was a problem with high school students but the founders, in a responsible move, geofenced the app around high schools and middle schools so it cannot be used in those locations.

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