ellenThis is a guest post by Adolescent Medicine fellow Ellen Selkie, MD.

We’ve talked about social media on this blog before . It continues to dominate the lives of teens, though the type or platform of social media is always changing. How can a parent keep up? Well, first, you can read this brief overview of social media platforms most used by teens. Then, check out info below about more learning opportunities!

Instagram : Instagram is a photo-sharing app that allows users to share photos or short videos taken with their phone with their followers, along with captions. Posts are generally public, and it’s common for teens to follow celebrities as well as peers. The most popular subject of teens’ photos? Themselves! Instagram has helped popularize the “selfie.”

Snapchat: Another mobile app, Snapchat users can send photos or videos to friends, but the recipient can only see each photo (or “snap”) one time, and only for a few seconds before it disappears. It’s attractive to users because it gives the impression of security, that anything that is sent is not “permanent.” However, in reality, EVERYTHING is permanent on the Internet!

Facebook: Hopefully you know this one by now, and are perhaps on Facebook yourself…one of the larger and older (if you can call 10 years “old”) online social networks, it’s no longer the most popular social network with teens but still used for keeping in touch, chatting, and sharing photos and thoughts in the form of status updates.

Twitter : Sometimes referred to as a “microblogging” platform, Twitter allows users to express themselves….in 140 characters or less. Posts on Twitter, known as “tweets,” are usually public and can include photos or links to websites.

Want to know more? Dr. Megan Moreno and the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT) is holding a conference to discuss the role of social media in health, and you’re invited! Check out the schedule –parents will find Day 3 most useful to attend!

Besides the conference, what’s the best way to learn about these platforms? By using them yourself! That’s why we’re inviting you to participate in our LIVE Tweetchat on Twitter, Tuesday, July 15 from 11 am – 12 pm PST! We’ll be answering questions about the conference and about teens’ use of technology. Here’s how it works:

1)      Log in to Twitter (or create your new account!)

2)      To read the conversation, search for our special hashtag on 7/15 starting at 11 am: #SMAHRTConf14

3)      To join in the conversation or ask us a question, create a tweet! Just make sure to tag your tweet with #SMAHRTConf14 so we recognize it!

See you on Twitter!