Snapchat, the mobile app that lets users send “self-destructing” photos, has the distinction of being the only digital tool that does not have a single redeeming feature. While the moral panic associated with blogs, cell phones, social networks and online games has largely faded in grudging recognition of their more positive uses (indeed, research shows that many parents have actually helped their children lie about their age register for Facebook accounts), Snapchat is seen as the Q-tip of the digital age: its sole function is to do the thing that you’re warned not to do on the box.

I’ve already written about YouTube and Instagram, but today I wanted to share some information about four other popular sites and apps that are on my radar right now: Snapchat, Vine, Tumblr and ask.fm.

Is technology drawing us closer together, or pulling us apart? When it comes to TV and digital media, the answer may well be “yes” to both.

Building your brand: Establishing a positive presence online

Like it or not, if you use the Internet you have an online identity. Some people call this your “brand.” What’s a brand? Think about a brand of soft drink, or computer, or jeans, or a band or a sports team. You probably have a certain idea about each one – what it’s like, who buys it, and so on.

How #Ottawapiskat turned the tables on media coverage of native issues Over the last few months the Idle No More movement has succeeded in bringing Aboriginal issues to national attention. This has been due in no small part due to the movement’s use of Twitter, where #IdleNoMore was a Trending Topic in both Canada and worldwide.

Social Media Rules

Having a family agreement or set of ground rules for using social networks is a good idea. It’s a great way for parents and kids to work together on how to be safe, wise and responsible online. Here are some ideas:

Like it or not, if you use the Internet you have an online identity. Some people call this your “brand.” What’s a brand?

This tutorial (Licensed Resource) aims to teach students essential digital literacy skills through simulating their favourite online experiences.

This interactive tutorial (Licensed Resource) teaches students the critical thinking skills they need to apply to their online experiences, including online safety, authenticating online information, recognizing online marketing ploys, protecting their privacy, managing online relationships and dealing with cyberbullying.

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