Six Months Later: We Are Still Orlando

“We are still strong. We are still united. We are still Orlando.”

Josh Across The Universe

June 12, 2016 is a day I, and so many others, will never forget. I woke up to my phone buzzing non-stop. There had been a mass shooting at a nightclub not far from my home in Orlando. A nightclub frequented by many of my friends.

June 12, 2016: The First 24 Hours

The morning was spent letting others know that I was okay while also frantically trying to get in touch with friends to know they were safe.

I made an attempt to go to work but anxiety and fear took hold and I asked to go home after just a few hours.

My friend Taylor met me at work to make sure I got home safely. She stayed with me for a while until I felt okay to be alone. The afternoon was spent continuing to reach out to friends and constantly checking social media for updates.

That…

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Not Exempt From the Rules: Donald Trump Could Be Banned From Twitter

Our President-Elect is probably best known for his outrageous use of the popular micro-blogging site Twitter and I have certainly shared my annoyance with this on my personal blog.

Recent Tweets from Trump might be landed him in hot water with Twitter as his bullying tactics have entered the realm of violating the site’s terms of service which could get Mr. President-Elect banned for life.

Twitter’s Terms state that users “may not incite or engage in the targeted abuse or harassment of others”. It makes clear that it will consider a range of factors when deciding whether to lock or ban someone’s account – including whether the reported account is being “one-sided or includes threats”, or is “inciting others to harass another account”.

The following tweet directed towards an Indianapolis Chuck Jones has raised eyebrows regarding Donald’s social media usage.

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Following the tweet Jones began receiving threatening phone calls and messages.

This tweet and the abuse that followed closely echoes the behavior that saw Brietbart contributor Milo Yiannopoulos being banned from Twitter earlier this year. He was permanently banned from having an account on the site because he sent public messages harassing Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones which led to an onslaught of racial slurs and hate speech from others.

From any standpoint this kinds of behavior is troubling from the man who would be President and it’s sending a poor message to all that this is an acceptable way to act whether online or off. This has been a major issue for me since Donald announced his campaign and moreso now that he has won. What kind of example is his setting for our youth?

Regardless, this is certainly a fantastic “teachable moment” as we move towards the holiday break and a reminder for all to be respectful towards one another both online and off.

What are your thoughts on Trump’s almost obsessive use of twitter?

Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit www.HaveYouMetJosh.com

Think Twice Before Posting A Photo of Your Ballot

If you haven’t already (by mail-in or early voting) we are all embarking on the most insane election this country has ever witnessed. Regardless of who you are voting for it’s important to realize that taking a photo or selfie of your ballot may land you in a whole lot of trouble and even invalidate your vote.

Perhaps take a moment before you text, tweet, snapchat, instagram, facebook or post your vote anywhere online.

Take a moment to review the law in your state and be sure to get out and vote on November 8th!

Where ballot selfies are allowed

Connecticut. No law bans ballot selfies, according to Patrick Gallahue, a spokesman for Secretary of State Denise Merrill. But election moderators have discretion to prohibit activity “that threatens the orderly process of voting or the privacy of another voter’s ballot.”

District of Columbia. There’s no ban. Election officials discourage people from taking pictures but won’t do anything to stop them, said Tamara Robinson, a spokeswoman for the D.C. Board of Elections.

Hawaii. A law passed this year allows voters to share a digital image of one’s own marked ballot.

Idaho. There’s no law banning them, the secretary of state’s office said.

Indiana. A federal judge last year barred the state from enforcing a new law prohibiting ballot selfies.

Kentucky. Secretary of State spokesman Bradford Queen says state law does not allow people to record the likeness of a voter, but the law does not say whether voters can record their own likeness. Therefore, the secretary of state’s office routinely tells county clerks the law does not prohibit ballot selfies.

Louisiana. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says ballot selfies are allowed in the state, though he’s not a fan of them.

Maine. The secretary of state discourages ballot selfies because there’s a ban on making unauthorized ballot copies, but there’s no law against voters posting photos of their marked ballot.

Michigan. A federal judge on Monday blocked enforcement of a ban on ballot selfies, saying it violates free speech. Lawyers for Secretary of State Ruth Johnson predicted “chaos” at polling places, but the judge on Wednesday denied the state’s request to freeze her order while they appeal.

Minnesota. Allowed as long as they’re not shown to fellow voters at the polling place or capture another person in the photo.

Montana. Law does not specifically prohibit the use of cameras at polling places, but election administrators and judges have broad authority to limit disruptive activity, according to Emily Dean, spokeswoman for the secretary of state. Sharing photos of absentee ballots is also not banned.

Nebraska. Gov. Pete Ricketts signed a bill in April that allows someone to show their marked ballots to others without risking a $100 fine.

New Hampshire. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston last month upheld a decision that a ban was unconstitutional, saying it suppresses a large swath of political speech and there was no evidence to support the state’s concerns.

North Dakota. Photos inside polling places are allowed.

Oregon. All voting is done through mail-in ballots, which voters are free to photograph. A state law prohibiting showing a marked ballot to another person was repealed in 2014, according to Molly Woon, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins.

Rhode Island. The Board of Elections adopted new rules in time for November’s election that allow for selfie-taking inside polling places. The updated regulations allow voters to take photos as long as they don’t show another person’s ballot.

Utah. Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill last year that makes it legal for people to snap pictures of themselves with their ballots. The law makes it a misdemeanor to photograph someone else’s ballot.

Vermont. No rules regarding photos in polling places. Clerks are encouraged to adopt specific rules for their polling places to maintain order, according to Jim Condos, a spokesman for the secretary of state.

Virginia. Attorney General Mark Herring issued a formal opinion last month that says ballot selfies are legal in Virginia. Nothing in Virginia law prohibits voters from taking pictures of themselves, fellow voters or their ballot within the polling place, he said.

Washington state. It’s not against the law in Washington, but a spokesman for Secretary of State Kim Wyman said the office doesn’t recommend it.

Wyoming. No laws against ballot selfies. Law does allow judges of elections to “preserve order at the polls by any necessary and suitable means.”

Where ballot selfies are illegal

Alabama. Not allowed because voters have “a right to cast a ballot in secrecy and in private,” said a spokesman for Secretary of State John Merrill.

Alaska. A state law bans voters from showing their marked ballots, but Division of Elections Director Josie Bahnke says there is no practical way to enforce it.

Colorado. Ballot selfies or any public dissemination of a marked ballot are considered a misdemeanor. A 2016 bill to repeal the ban failed.

Florida. Photographs are not allowed in polling places or of mailed ballots.

Georgia. Law prevents photos of ballots or the screens of electronic voting machines.

Illinois. Banned by a law that considers “knowingly” marking your ballot so that another person can see it is a felony that carries a prison sentence of one to three years.

Kansas. Secretary of state says a selfie showing a picture of the actual ballot violates state law.

Massachusetts. Taking a photo of a completed ballot in a polling location is banned in Massachusetts. But the state’s top election official, Secretary William Galvin, says there’s little the state can do to prevent it. Photos of mailed ballots are also banned.

Mississippi. Photos showing how someone marked their ballot after voting are prohibited.

Nevada. Photos inside polling places are not allowed, except by the media. Photos of mailed ballots are also banned.

New Jersey. Law prohibits voters from showing their ballot to others. A pending legislative measure would allow voters to take photos of their own ballots while in the voting booth and share it on social media.

New Mexico. Law prohibits voters from showing their marked paper ballot “to any person in such a way as to reveal its contents.”

New York. Photos showing a completed ballot or indicating how a person cast their vote are not allowed.

North Carolina. Photographing or otherwise recording a voted official ballot is not allowed.

South Carolina. Law bars voters from allowing their ballots to be seen. A 2012 state attorney general’s opinion says that makes it illegal to reproduce a ballot by cellphone, video camera or iPad.

South Dakota. Secretary of State Shantel Krebs says ballot selfies are not allowed because they can be considered influencing a vote or forcing someone to show proof of voting.

Wisconsin. State law prohibits sharing photos of ballots.

Where ballot selfies’ legality mixed, unclear

Arizona. Bars photography within 75 feet of polling places. But the Legislature changed the law that barred showing photos of completed ballots in 2015 to allow posting of early ballots on social media.

Arkansas. Nothing in state law prohibits taking photos while in a polling place as long as it’s not disruptive or being used for electioneering purposes, but state law on sharing voter choices is unclear.

California. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill last month that repeals a 125-year-old law barring voters from showing people their marked ballots. The change will take effect nearly two months after the presidential election, but legislative analysts have found no occasion of the ban being enforced. The author of the bill, in fact, has been sharing constituents’ photos of marked ballots on social media since the law passed.

Delaware. Has a policy against cellphones in voting booths, but elections Commissioner Elaine Manlove said: “I don’t know that we can control what happens behind the curtain.”

Iowa. Law prohibits the use of cameras, cellphones or other electronic devices in voting booths, so Secretary of State Paul Pate has asked voters not to take selfies with ballots. Photos of absentee ballots are OK.

Maryland. Bans electronic devices in a polling place except for the media. And even media members aren’t allowed to photograph a ballot that shows how someone is voting. But photos of mailed ballots are OK.

Missouri. Law prohibits voters from allowing others to see their ballots if the intent is to show how they voted. Secretary of State spokeswoman Stephanie Fleming described ballot selfies as a “gray area” and advises voters to check with local election authorities.

Ohio. Has a longstanding prohibition against voters letting their ballot be seen with the “apparent intention” of letting it be known how they are about to vote. The state elections chief has advised local election boards to consult their own attorneys about how to apply the law. Two Republican lawmakers are sponsoring a bill they say will let voters photograph and make public their marked ballots.

Oklahoma. Officials recommend against it, noting that state law dating back about 40 years suggests it is illegal but outlines no penalties.

Pennsylvania. Law prohibits someone from revealing their ballot “letting it be known how” they’re “about to vote.” But officials recently released guidance on electronic items in polling places that noted the recent court cases that “found a First Amendment right to take ‘ballot selfies.'”

Tennessee. Voters are not allowed to take photos or videos while in polling places. They’re only allowed to use electronic devices for informational purposes to assist during voting, according to Adam Ghassemi, a spokesman for Secretary of State Tre Hargett. The state’s law doesn’t address mail-in ballots.

Texas. Bars photography within 100 feet of polling stations, so selfies are not allowed. Photos of mail-in ballots are OK.

West Virginia. Electronic devices are banned inside voting booths, according to Secretary of State Natalie Tennant. Nothing in the law prohibits photos of mail-in ballots.

Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit www.HaveYouMetJosh.com

My Unsolicited Advice to the Class of 2020

Three years ago I sat down and reminisced about my time in college, specifically my involvement in campus life and how that experience came to shape my life and career. This time of reflection resulted in my wildly popular blog entry “My Unsolicited Advice to the Class of 2017.

As I’m been working on my book You’re Doing it Wrong (available soon!) I’ve been looking back on a lot of different moments in my life in reflection and drawing out the lessons I learned from them. A big part of my life was spent at Salem State University and there’s a lot I wish I had known going into it all.

So I’ve decided to help out the class of 2020 by offering up some of pearls of wisdom. Here are some things I wish I knew as a college freshman.

Get Involved!

I know I stressed this a lot of my original “Unsolicited Advice” entry but I want to make sure the point is driven home (especially if you did read it). By immersing yourself in the campus community you are not only going to have a stro

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The office of the Program Council was all business except when it was a whole lot of fun (which was always)

nger sense of belonging but a healthy social life to boot! Some of my best friends were met through my involvement on campus and many of the skills that I use in my job today were developed while working with groups and clubs on campus.

Take Advantage of Campus Offerings

Just because you don’t follow through with being a member of a club doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the amazing offerings. Our campus’ Program Council (I was their Publicist my senior year) was responsible for many amazing events happening on campus and a good number of them were free including movie nights, poetry readings, comedians, magicians and so much more. The Student Theatre Ensemble hosted theatrical events every semester. There were dances, improv troupes, and so much more. Like I said, many of these events were incredibly cheap or even free. At one point our Program Council bought a chunk of tickets to a Red Sox game and sold them for $10 each.

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin               

College is tough. It may not too so right away with your introductory courses but it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by it all. Make sure to budget your time wisely especially when involved on campus on top of taking a full-time course load. By all means check everything out when it comes to extra-curricular but try to quickly narrow it down to what you’re most passionate about and what fits well with your schedule. Same goes for choosing classes, put together a schedule that makes sense and doesn’t have you sprinting all over campus.

Get To Know Your Professors

When it comes to the educator/student relationship forget everything you knew in high
school. Take the time to get to know your professors outside of the classroom. Visit them

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Professor Peter Zachari (Pictured here performing in a production of Shake It Up!) was one of my biggest influences in college and taught me so much outside of the classroom. Today I credit much of my success to him.

during office hours and take advantage of lunch offers. Each semester our dining hall actually offered free lunch to student dining with their professor. I can’t even begin to describe some of the amazing conversations and insights I receive during these lunches and chats, especially when it came to classes I was struggling with. It also helps later on down the career line if you’re looking for a letter of recommendation or the scoop on an internship.

Don’t Be Shy

Be sure to branch out in that first year and strike up conversations with strangers. This is how I made many of the friends I had during my first semester. Some didn’t stick around beyond that first half of the year but the experience of chatting up that one stranger gave me the confidence to chat up and meet others. One of the best things I would do, and this is something I highly encourage, would pick a couple people in class and exchange contact information. This way I had someone to reach out to if I missed a class and needed notes and offered them the same. I can see this idea changing a bit with the wake of social networking (Facebook didn’t show up until my second semester of college and it was a difference animal back then). Get to know the people in classes and out. It’s a lifesaver!

Sleep

Had I known about the ‘3 by 5’ rule when I was in college I would have been sure to follow it. The rule states that you should study three hours a day, five days a week. Now, that sounds like a lot but when I consider the little bits of time I would waste between classes, I could have been studying. Try to find those random chunks of time during your day to get in your reading or studying to help limit the all-nighters. Cramming to all hours and not getting any sleep is super counter-productive.  Try your best to study those three hours a day and see how much it helps balance your social life and sleep schedule!

Get Off Campus and Explore

I went to college in historic Salem, MA (home of the witch trials!). There was so much to explore and experience outside of the halls of academia. I encourage you to explore the area where you are receiving your education and learn more about it. Even if you feel like you o to school in the middle of nowhere, get to know your new home! Salem was a short train ride away from Boston which offered even more exploration. Take advantage and have fun!

Don’t Buy All Your Books Right Away

Okay, this is gonna raise some eyebrows but I’m gonna go ahead and say it. Don’t buy your books right away. Wait until you get to class, check out the syllabus and go from there. I took a lot of literature classes which required hundreds of dollars for books. It was enough to make one cry. The first thing I would do is take a look at the workload the professor was requiring and whether or not I could make it work with everything else I had going on that semester. If I was sticking with the class I would then look for the book online rather than in the bookstore in an effort to save money. If I ended up dropping the class or switching to another, I wasn’t stuck with books I wouldn’t need. Also check out Studentrate.com to compare textbook prices.

Discounts! Discounts everywhere!

Carry your school ID everywhere, especially if you live in a “college town.” So many different restaurants and shops offered student discounts but didn’t advertise them. Don’t ever be afraid to ask about student discounts for food, movies even museum admissions. You’d be surprised where you can save a few dollars here and there if you just ask. Be sure to have your ID for when they say ‘yes’!

Have Fun

I’m sure there are many more things I could mention but for now I’ll leave it with what I have above. As I think of more I’ll certainly write up new blog posts. All said and done g out there and discover the new you. This is a whole new chapter of your life and a time to discover who you truly are. Get out there and do it!

Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit www.HaveYouMetJosh.com

Anti-Gay Internet Trolls Are No Match for J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling is easily one of the greatest voices the in world. While she certainly isn’t perfect, she is one that will not hesitate to sound off when she sees something amiss in the world. She is an advocate in every sense of the word and stands for what she believes in. So when a Christian group on Twitter began making homophobic remarks about one of her countrymen, she was having none of that nonsense.

Another person I greatly admire is Olympian Diver Tom Daley. He is not only an amazing athlete but another who stands for what he believes in and inspiration to many.

Following Daley’s early exit from the Rio Olympics UK religious group Christian Voice took to twitter to voice their opinion on the matter:

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Despite instant and insane backlash over the tweet, the group wasn’t fazed and continued on with their anti-gay rant, dragging Daley’s fiancé (screenwriter Dustin Lance Black) into the mix:

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A number of people came rushing to Daley and Black’s defense, most notably J.K. Rowling who shut it all down with her no-nonsense attitude:

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Christian Voice seems to forget that, despite coming in last for the men’s solo 10 metre platform diving, Daley won a Bronze medal during the men’s 10 metre synchronized dive with teammate Dan Goodfellow.

This wasn’t the first time Rowling has shown support and love for the gay community. Following the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Rowling showed her support, not only for the entire community, but for those who were working at the Harry Potter areas of Universal Studios in Florida including my friend Luis Vielma.

Rowling wasn’t the only big name jumping to Daley’s defense. One British politician jumped in with another shut down:

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It wasn’t all negative following the diver’s from the olympics. Fiance Dustin Lance Black voiced his support

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Despite being “heartbroken” by his shock early exit from the competition, the diver hinted to the BBC that he will be returning for another shot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit www.HaveYouMetJosh.com

Ellen Catching Heat for “Racist” Twitter Post

We live in a very politically correct world so this story really comes as no surprise.

Everyone’s favorite human being (and voice of the beloved Dory) has cause a bit of a stir by posting the following meme on her twitter account:

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In case you aren’t following the Olympics at all (I’m not) the man in the picture is Usain Bolt who won the men’s 100 metres gold medal with a time of 9.81 seconds. With this win, Bolt became the first athlete to win the event three times at the Olympic Games.

As a follower of Ellen, I saw the tweet the other day on honestly thought nothing of it. I chuckled an moved on with my day.

Other people seemed to have a different interpretation of the meme:

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Not everyone was on board with the idea of racism however and quickly came to the TV host’s defense:

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While the post has seemed to cause friction in the online world, Usain Bolt retweeted the image, finding the humor in it.

Ellen did respond to the onslaught of criticism but as of this posting has not removed the original tweet.

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Many have called for a boycott of the TV host saying that the tweet was in poor taste.

I see this as a great teachable moment to discuss with students as we head back to school. Was the tweet offensive? Is this a good time to reinforce the idea of ‘think before you post’?

What do you think?

Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit www.HaveYouMetJosh.com

Pokémon Go Update Encourages User Safety

Okay. I’m sure at this point people are getting sick of me talking about Pokémon Go but I honestly can’t get over how much hate the app is getting. Now, I will argue that there are a number of updates I’d still like to see come to the app but if I’m being honest, they all pertain to game play.

So you’re probably thinking, “But Josh, you’re all about safety and clearly this app isn’t safe. Don’t you want to see updates to make it safer?”

Have you not been reading?

I’ve said it time and time again that social networking application and sites as well as these games WANT their users to be safe. They have done everything in their power to help their users be safer but when it comes down to it, there requires a degree of common sense.

In the latest update for the app, Pokémon Go has taken steps to ensure that users are safe.

Now, if you recall from “What Parents Should Know About Pokémon Go” the loading screen for the app features a Gyarados (I literally just learned what it was today when I caught one) with the warning “Remember to stay alert at all times! Stay aware of your surroundings!”

This warning has been there since day one.

Today, they have taken those reminders a step forward. As the app finishes loading, before the user can enter game play, a dialogue window will pop up with a new warning that users have to click on to make go away. Giving them a small reminder of safe game play.

Additionally , another aspect of the app is a speed sensor. As the app requires GPS to be on in order to catch Pokémon and as a result it knows your movement and how fast you are doing it.

Now, walking is a big part of the app as you can earn medals, find new Pokémon, hit the PokéStops and hatch eggs. In all generations of the app there has been a speed sensor and anyone moving faster than 12 MPH don’t receive “credit” for walking and it won’t count towards hatching eggs.screenshot_2016-08-09-21-25-22-1.png

In this latest update, Niantic has taken it a step further. When the app detects you going over a certain MPH (the exact number is unknown to me, I have experimented with it as a passenger and it varies too much to give a good answer).

The game itself won’t deactivate after a certain speed level but the warning is enough to give anyone pause.

Now, at the end of the day, it all comes down to whether or not the user chooses to heed the warnings.

So is Pokémon Go safe for your kids?

Yes.

The app is as safe as the user. I encourage parents to talk to their kids about safely using the app to hunt Pokémon.  Please review my warnings in my previous post “What Parents Should Know.”

I know I come across as defensive on the subject off Pokémon Go and I’m okay with it. Over the past month I’ve had a number of conversations (read: argument) about the safety and security of this app. Many people cite robberies and accidents (please read my post debunking rumors about the app) and others will point me towards news articles citing violence involving the app.

My problem is that a lot of these articles are what is known as “click bait”. They are purposely using words and phrases that will encourage someone to click on the link to earn money from advertisers. They will cite Pokémon Go as a part of the newsworthy event because it’s going to gain more attention.

This drives me insane.

Today, when my app updated, I was walking around Universal Studios playing the game with my friend. The game itself has been a major help to me over the past month. With all that has been going on in my hometown of Orlando and my anxiety disorder, it has been very difficult for me to do the things I love which is going to theme parks.

I don’t do well in crowds as it is but recent events have intensified that. Having the distraction of hunting down Pokémon has been a big help. I was able distracted from the summer crowds and even able to survive a 75 minute wait for a ride (I typically can’t handle more than 15 minutes).

It may not seem like much, but this little game has meant a lot.

Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit www.HaveYouMetJosh.com

What Parents Should Know About DisneyMix

Disney has thrown their hat in the social media messaging ring. This may come as a surprise to some but Disney has been in the social media business for a while with popular platforms like Club Penguin and Marvel Kids.  The app serves to be a contender with apps such as WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger and more but with a safer user in mind.

Disney started developing the app with what they had learned from Club Penguin and grew from that point. New tools for moderation and education were implemented to set Disney Mix apart from other apps.

Upon signing up for the service, users agree to a series of community rules that are strictly enforced for all users.

Stay Safe – Don’t share details about yourself with people you don’t know. That includes your real name, phone number, home address, email address, social networking information, school name, and/or personal blog.

Respect Others – Be respectful and kind to other Disney Mix users. Treat others how you’d like to be treated! Bullying and harassment will not be tolerated.

Keep it Clean – Inappropriate language is not allowed in Disney Mix. You should only use language that you would feel comfortable using in front of your parents and teachers.

Users found to be violating any of these rules will find themselves either temporarily or permanently banned from using the app.

tK1wuYl07fPx8uiT4C9zmGYFlWl43vFjo-uOUCvWn8t7AIGnh-5Ayzyp5PMS51yP6g=h900Upholding the rules are a team of moderators that monitor usage but can also be called into situations using the “Whistle” icon at the top of every chat thread. This action reports a chat thread to the moderators who will step in to help handle the situation. Users have the ability to remove people from their friends list with a simple swipe.

Disney Mix is rated 4+ in the app store but will more than likely resonated with older, teen, users and parents.  The chat allows users to send stickers of popular characters like some of my favorites: Flash from Zooptopia, Hank (my spirit animal) from Finding Dory, and my absolute favorite Stitch!

What sets Disney Mix apart from a standard messaging app is the ability to play interactive, built-in games like Spike, Elsa’s Winter Waltz and Cards of Doom. These games can be played with friends within the chat screen.

Is DisneyMix safe for kids? Absolutely! With Disney behind the app, it offers a level of safety and security you won’t be able to find of Kik, Snapchat, Tumblr and others.

The app is username based so the only way people can communicate with users is if they have their username. This puts control of who has access to your account strictly in your kids hands.  Remind them that they should be selective with handing out their username and restrict it to people they know in the real world.

Encourage them to report inappropriate behavior and be sure to go over the Community Guidelines with them.

Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit www.HaveYouMetJosh.com

Instagram Launches “Stories”: What Parents Should Know

I’ve found, over the past year, the best way to describe the difference between Instagram and Snapchat is by looking at how we share. For Instagram we are highlighting moments from our day or week in a one off way that sticks around forever. Snapchat allows a you to share so much more by posting a continuous stream of pictures and video clips into a mini-movie called a story. As each segment of your story is posted, it received a 24 hour expiration. After one day, it’s gone.

This past week, Instragram launched the “Stories” feature on its app. Instagram fully gives credit to the creators of Snapchat for the idea for the sharing format. In a recent interview Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom admitted, ” “They deserve all the credit,” but insisted “This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.”

Despite it’s insane popularity, sharing on Facebook-owned Instagram was down 15% in the beginning of 2016. The reasoning, according to Systrom, is that people don’t want to overwhelm their friends feeds with photos so they are selective about what is posted and as a result don’t post as often. “Stories” allows people to share those “in between” moments.

Systrom explains that “It basically solves a problem for all these people who want to take a ton of photos of an event or something in their lives, but want to manage what their profile looks like and not bomb feed, obviously, as that’s one of the no-nos on Instagram.”

Facebook has attempted this before with other apps like Poke, Slingshot, and Instragram Bolt but people didn’t want yet another app to keep up with. Instead of trying to create something new, Instagram has decided to go with what works.

Here’s the breakdown of the differences and similarities between the apps:

The same

  • The Stories format laces the last 24 hours of 10-second-max photos and videos you’ve shared into a slideshow you can tap to fast-forward through
  • Everything you post disappears after 1 day
  • You shoot full-screen in the app or upload things from the last 24 hours of your camera roll (recently added to Snapchat with Memories)
  • You adorn your photos with drawings, text, emojis and swipeable color filters
  • You can save your individual Story slides before or after posting them
  • Your followers voluntarily tap in to pull your Story and view it, instead of it being pushed into a single feed
  • People can swipe up to reply to your Stories, which are delivered through Instagram Direct private messages
  • You can see who’s viewed your Story

Different

  • Instagram Stories appear in a row at the top of the main feed instead of on a separate screen like Snapchat, and are sorted by who you interact with most, not purely reverse chronological order like Snapchat
  • Anyone you allow to follow you on Instagram can see your Instagram Stories, though you can also block people, as opposed to building a separate network on Snapchat
  • You don’t have to be following someone to view their Instagram Stories, which can be viewed from their profile as long as they’re public
  • You can swipe right or tap the Stories icon in the top left to open the Stories camera, as opposed to Snapchat defaulting to the camera
  • You can hold the screen to pause a slideshow, or tap the left side to go back a slide, as opposed to Snapchat’s time-limited, constantly progressing Stories
  • You can’t add old content to Instagram Stories unless you re-import or screenshot, while Snapchat lets you share old Memories with a white border and timestamp around them
  • Instagram offers three brush types for drawing: standard, translucent highlighter and color-outlined neon, as opposed to Snapchat’s single brush
  • Instagram offers custom color control for drawing with an easy picker, as well as pre-made palettes like earth-tones or grayscale, while Snapchat custom color control is much more clumsy
  • Instagram currently lacks location filters, native selfie lens filters, stickers, 3D stickers and speed effects, but you can save content from third-party apps like Facebook-owned MSQRD and then share them
  • You can’t see who screenshotted your Instagram Story, while Snapchat warns you
  • You can’t save your whole day’s Story like on Snapchat, but you can post slides from your Story to the permanent Instagram feed

 

For me, I plan on sticking to Snapchat because I have a lot more control over who can see it as my Instagram account is public. But as a business owner and social media personality, I can see the appeal of utilizing a service with an already established audience.

For more information about “disappearing media” be sure to check out “What Parents Should Know About Snapchat“.

Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit www.HaveYouMetJosh.com

Justin Timberlake Encourages All ‘Don’t Waste Your Twenties’

I will admit that I’m not big on award shows especially when it comes to “smaller” ones like the Teen Choice Awards but I have to admit I was curious to check out Justin Timberlake accepting the first ever Teen Choice Decade Award last night. He was awarded the honor for his many achievements in music, movies, television, fashion and philanthropy.

Upon accepting the award, Timberlake delivered an amazing speech aimed at inspiring the younger generation to have respect and compassion for all people.

If you didn’t have a chance to see the awards ceremony which aired Sunday night, I’ve including the text from his acceptance speech below here:

“Thank you, Teen Choice. As a former teen, a while ago, who’s made a few choices along the way, I’m here to tell you that you and your choices matter. In my case, I grew up in Millington, Tennessee, just outside of Memphis, where I was blessed to be raised by parents and a family who taught me some big lessons. They taught me to respect them. They taught me to respect myself and to respect all people on the basis of their character — not where they live, not what they did for a living or the color of their skin. My parents did their best to fill my young mind not with prejudice or hate but with compassion and love. I think it’s part of the reason why to this day I try to live my life working closely with, making music with and spending so much of my time with an amazing group of people: male, female, straight, gay, every walk of life … People who help each other and find a common ground. I was drawn to all these people not because they look like me, but because they think and feel like me. The truth is we are all different, but that does not mean we all don’t want the same thing.

So, message: to all you teens out there, I ask you to not learn from my example, but from the example of all the greats that have come before me. For me, a big moment growing up was when I discovered that there was a music legend living right down the street from me, the Reverend Al Green, who taught the world a lesson that resonates now, I think, more than ever: let’s stay together. I learned from so many music greats: Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Garth Brooks, Stevie Wonder. I even learned a lot from the guy standing next to me onstage [Kobe Bryant] on how to arrive early and stay late — because that’s how you become a champion.

Speaking of great champs, I believe we can all learn from the greatest of all time, a man who grew up just 400 miles down the road from me in Louisville, Kentucky: Muhammad Ali. Muhammad Ali fought in the ring, but he fought for peace, too. And he became the heavyweight champion of the world because, as we all know, he could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. Our world lost that champ this year, so tonight, I want to share three pieces of his undying wisdom that has helped me and may help you along your journey.

Number one — champ said this: don’t count the days, make the days count. Pretty good. Now you are young, as I once was, but do not think for a moment that what you do doesn’t count. It does. Not just to you, but also to the world and your generation who will someday inherit this world from old-timers like me and Kobe.

Number two, the champ said this: service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth, so be generous, be kind, be fair. It’s not just the right thing to do. It’s the good thing to do. I think we all can agree that with all the tension in the world today that can divide us, we should be part of the solution and not part of the problem. You don’t have to make a difference on a global stage. You can volunteer in your neighborhood or in another neighborhood nearby where people might look a little different from you, and they might teach you a thing or two.

Third, and finally, here’s maybe the greatest thing a teen or anyone in this room and who’s watching on the television at home can learn from the champ … these are words to remember when anyone tries to tell you to give up, tell you to give in because whatever you’re trying to do is impossible. The champ said this: impossible is just a word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing. Greatest quote ever.

So, as a relatively new dad and a former teen, I’m here to say you will make mistakes along the way. You will fall down. I have many times. Even Ali did. But what we do after that fall is how we make history because impossible is nothing. So don’t waste your 20s. They’re gonna be here before you know it, and they will go fast. Be nice to your parents. (I hope my son watches this one day.) They aren’t perfect, either, but they have been through this movie before, and they love you more than you can imagine. So go out, do the impossible and just go on and become the greatest generation yet. Thank you so much.”

Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit www.HaveYouMetJosh.com