(Thanks to Anne Collier of Net Family News.  – Mike)

Likes in Facebook and Instagram, +1′s in Google+, (potentially) “HISCORE(s)” in Snapchat are fun to get (though there isn’t much evidence having a HISCORE is a big deal for Snapchat users yet). They’re a great example of gamification, a word that’s increasingly heard in pop culture as much as education. There’s nothing wrong with liking likes and other gamification forms (more on this in minute). What isn’t great is when they become an obsession or a much bigger reason for “playing” in a social app or social site than your friends. Why? Well, in effect, you’re letting the app or whatever play you.

This is just one way parents can help kids make sure they’re in control of their technology use and not the other way around. “I know you want to gain more and more followers … but amassing more and more followers is a never-ending pursuit,” blogs my friend Sameer Hinduja, professor, researcher and co-founder of the Cyberbullying Research Center, who blogs about a lot of things besides cyberbullying (this post isn’t about that).

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