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“But we don’t think that the technology is bad, or that parents should ban it,” she says.“Instead, we think parents should engage with the social media their children are using and teach them to use it in a responsible way.” In other words, handling the latest technology comes back to one of the oldest rules of good parenting: Sit down and talk to your kid.

“And for most kids, it is harmless.” At the same time, Knorr acknowledges that the anonymous nature of these apps enables some kids to act on their worse instincts.

And because apps like Instagram are more ubiquitous than many of the other anonymous sites, they may be just as likely to host bullying.

So it’s essential to make it clear that talking about someone else anonymously online in any form is gutless—and violates the fundamental value of standing firmly behind what you say.

But, he added, “it didn’t help.” Here are a handful of things for parents to keep in mind as they try to navigate this difficult terrain: First, understand that even “good” teenagers can succumb to peer pressure.

Parents can’t assume their kind, sweet kids won’t participate in teenage meanness—especially if they think they can hide behind anonymous talk or ephemeral social network or mobile messaging sites and apps such as Ask.fm, Yik Yak, Secret, Backchat, Whisper or Burn Note.

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