How Do I Make My Tween Sister Understand The Dangers Of Social Media?

Youngins aren't the only ones at risk partaking in social media platforms—just look at some of the controversies that transpired over Twitter that resulted in people being let go from their jobs—but they're perhaps the most naive to it. On this week's Ask Kotaku, I address that concern and more.

Be sure to email me more questions for next week's segment.

Introducing A Dog To A Family With Cats

I have two cats that were adopted a couple years ago. They don't exactly get along, as Sinatra (male, 4) is always jumping on Ashe (female, 7). Sinatra is only being playful, but Ashe isn't interested. Now here's the problem...my daughter wants a dog. I've always wanted one, but they are so much work. I'm afraid a dog may be too much for Ashe to handle. Not quite sure how to introduce another pet. Any insight for me?

Well first things first, you'll need to find a dog that is good with cats. It doesn't sound like Ashe is a timid cat, maybe just a more chill one, at least based on her interactions with Sinatra. So it's possible that if you find a chill dog, they will get along ok. I suggest you foster a dog that is known to be good with other animals and specifically cats. See how it goes, how your cats take to the dog. If all goes well you can keep him/her.

Basically take it slow, don't make any big decisions until you've tested the waters.

Grooming Your Beard

Question for Evan...How do you prefer to keep the face hair monster in check barber or self-groomed? And if self-groomed do you prefer safety, straight or cartridge/disposable razors.

Evan says...

Self-groomed, with cartridge/disposable razors. I shave about every other day and trim my sideburns once a week. I use a shave brush with some kind of gel. I like King of Shaves' stuff. I finish with an Neutrogena Triple Protect Face Lotion lotion. Also: I can't believe I was just asked this question.

Keeping Up With A 24/7 Kotaku Cycle

One of my favourite things about Kotaku is that you have new content almost constantly. But what sort of logistics are involved when you have writers and editors literally all around the world?

We have 14 full-timers across the U.S. and the rest of the world. Ash has his team in the East (Richard, Toshi, Eric and himself of course). Luke is by his lonesome in Australia. András and Gergo are in Budapest. The rest of us are spread across America, with headquarters in NY.

The timezone differences work out so that we're basically transitioning between shifts. So you've got Owen, Fahey and Evan on early morning crew with András and Gergo's shifts overlapping from Kotaku East. Then Stephen, Jason, Chris, Steve and myself get in soon after. Followed by west coasters Patricia and Kirk. Luke gets in during the evening and Ash and his team get in to take over with Kotaku East from late evening/early, early morning.

We keep a spreadsheet of stories we're working on (and when we expect to publish them) so that others can be aware. Internally we call it Sheet16. The rest is all direct communication through email, IMs, and our group chat in Campfire. Those are the basics!

Telling Your Best Friend You Want To Be More Than Friends

This is probably a common occurrence, but I've no idea what to do. I've been friends with my best friend for a couple years now and she's probably the most important person in my life and the one I trust the most. Maybe it's that old saying that men and women can't be just friends or maybe I'm a fool, but for the past few months my affection for her has been growing exponentially. This is troubling. I never, ever want to jeopardize our friendship as I don't know what I'd do without her, but I don't know if I can keep up with this. Thanks in advance!

As a female, it's a great feeling to have male friends you can trust as strictly your friend. At the same time, though, I think the "we were best friends and now we're happily married" stories are super cute. So, really, it could go either way and depends on her feelings for you. Do you get a sense that she might reciprocate those feelings? If you can't tell, I suggest you start doing some subtle, sweet things and see if she picks up on it. Take her out to a potentially-romantic-but-maybe-this-isn't-a-date dinner. Do what feels right to you, though, based on your style. That's just one suggestion. Either way, based on her reaction, you might get a hint as to what she wants or is feeling.

She might also have not thought of you in that way. But that doesn't mean she can't in the future. So dropping subtle, harmless hints that you can also easily back away from would be a good way to gauge her reaction before getting to a more "serious" chat with her about it (which could potentially not end well if it's sprung on her).

Warning Your Sister About Social Media

How do I make my tween sister understand the dangers of social media? How do I make her realize that you shouldn't befriend STRANGERS. She tried to play it off like she knew all 400 of her followers on Instagram I feel bad but she's posting pictures that are kinda lolita-ish. And I went through some of her followers and they could so be creepos.

They definitely could be creepos, and you're right to be concerned if there are 400 people following your 10 to 12-year-old sister. The chance of creepos is exponentially high at those numbers.

Your sister is at a weird age where she likely won't listen to you, but it's worth trying to explain the situation to her. Tell her she can post her pictures if she wants—it could very well be her form of creative expression—but to keep her account private and only let people she actually knows to view it. I very much doubt that number will still be at 400. The fact that she tried to convince you that she actually knew all 400 of those people shows that she's at least somewhat aware that there's something sketchy about what she's doing. But the fact that she's defending it shows that she probably won't let this be easy.

So if she doesn't oblige, do what you're not supposed to do: snitch. Tell your parents. Explain to them how Instagram works (if they don't know—you know, parents), the kind of pictures your sister is posting and the kind of people who are following their daughter on Instagram. It could very well be harmless viewers, but I doubt there isn't at least one creepo on there and I'm sure your parents will be as uncomfortable with the situation as you are. And then let them lay down the law to make her private the account. If she doesn't understand today, she'll understand in X amount of years, and until then all you can do is let the parents do their job and enforce rules whether anyone likes it or not.

Top image from Shutterstock

To contact the author of this post, write to tina@kotaku.com or find her on Twitter at @tinaamini.