We are in the middle of one of the largest technology booms in our history, and at the heart of that for our youth is social media. New sites seem to pop up every day; some of them people may not even recognize.
"Twitter and Facebook aren't even relevant anymore to today's youth. They've moved on to things like Snapchat, Vine, Ask.FM and Instagram and some of these others that are more hard to monitor," Click Rain Inc. President Paul Ten Haken said.
The harder it is for parents to keep track of their kids online, the more likely it is for the issue of cyber bullying to rear its ugly head.
"The sophistication of these kids in terms of getting around some of these parental controls or dupe their parents to seeing only what they want them to see. Kids are getting really smart with technology and being able to game the system," Ten Haken Said.
A simple search for Sioux Falls in any of these new sites shows how much of a problem cyber bullying is right now; some of the local comments we found are too vulgar to show on TV. Many of those comments were on the site Ask.FM, where you can go on and anonymously comment on someone's personal profile. In his research, Ten Haken says nine suicides in the United States have been linked to bullying from Ask.FM users, but the site keeps on growing in popularity with no signs of stopping.
"As long as teens are drawn to them and their user base grows that's something that can be monetized, so companies and organizations are going to be able to promote them and try to make them grow as long as there is a monetary piece to it," Ten Haken said.
So, what can parents do to keep their kids safe?
The answer may simply be through education and awareness of the problem.
"I know that sounds very pie in the sky, but that's really going to be the best way tot continue to curb cyber bullying is educating the users," Ten Haken said.