Make TikTok Safer for Your Children with Family Pairing

You've probably heard some bad stuff about TikTok. It's a video-sharing social media platform seemingly with good intentions, hijacked by users with questionable motives. That means sexual content and privacy concerns.

It's hugely popular, however, so your children will probably want to use TikTok. How can you make the service more secure?

What Age is TikTok Appropriate for?

Browse TikTok and you might find inappropriate language and suggestive footage, porn stars, and users hurting themselves. This isn't all the social network is, but you should know about the darker side alongside the positive stories about communities, fun dances, and joyfulness.

TikTok reacted to media attention by adding Family Pairing. After further concerns were raised, they expanded the capabilities of this function too.

So what is Family Pairing on TikTok? It's a service which lets parents link their own TikTok account to their teen's, so you can impose restrictions on their activities.

The first thing to note is that it's marketed for people over the age of 13. Don't let them use TikTok unless your child is a teenager.

There's also an affiliate app, TikTok for Younger Users, which severely limits what the user can do. They can't post their own videos or comments, send messages, or even have their own profile. It lets them view age-appropriate content only. Doesn't sound too appealing, does it?

How to Activate Family Pairing

Let's be realistic here: all you have to do to fully use TikTok is lie about your date of birth. To make it safer, use Family Pairing. Obviously, you need to sign up to TikTok yourself for this to work.

You'll need access to both accounts. Talk to your child so you can use their phone. Tap Me then the ellipsis on both devices. Scroll down to find Family Pairing then select Parent and Teen on the respective phones. Your teen will then scan the QR code that appears on the parent's screen, giving the latter more control on their account.

7 Things You Can Do Using Family Pairing on TikTok

Now you're in charge. But what do you need to do to make TikTok safer without taking away any fun and personal freedom your youngster should be enjoying?

Here are seven things you can do once you've activated Family Pairing.

1. Make Your Teen's TikTok Account Private

This should be the first thing you do. Making an account private means that only approved followers can see any videos ("TikToks") your teen uploads.

TikTok accounts are automatically public, so content can be shared widely. If you have a public account, individual videos can be made private by account holders. But it's safer to make the whole account private so strangers can't view videos without approval.

Just go to Security and safety and tick Private account.

Make sure your teen has nothing sensitive on their profile as this can still be seen, even in private.

2. Turn off Allow Others to Find Me

Just underneath Private account, you'll see Allow others to find me. You should disable this feature.

Users get suggestions for other profiles they should follow, based on TikTok's algorithm which narrows down the content you're most interested in. Once you've turned Allow others to find me off, your teen's account won't appear in those suggestions, so they're effectively hidden from anyone but their friends.

They can still add contacts using their smartphone's address book, through their Facebook, follow backs, scanning a QR code, or searching for a specific username.

3. Limit Comments and DMs in TikTok

Most of the things you need to pay attention to can be found in this Security and safety menu so don't navigate away just yet. Below, you'll find two handy features which restrict who can contact your teenager.

Make sure Who can post comments and Who can send you messages are set to Friends, rather than Everyone. People shouldn't be able to interact easily with a private account, but changing the preferences on these makes doubly sure. Alternatively, turn them Off, though that might seem unnecessary and too invasive for your teen's liking.

Enable Comment filters as well, just in case any questionable messages make it through.

4. Restrict Likes on TikTok Videos

The whole point of TikTok is interacting with videos, i.e. showing which content you like. But others can similarly see what you're interested in. This could lead to targeted attacks, but it's also a privacy issue.

Related: Time to Uninstall: TikTok Is a Huge Privacy Risk

You can regain your teen's privacy by setting Who can view videos I liked to Only Me. This is a minor thing, and probably not something the account user will even notice, but it's nonetheless a good thing to take control of.

5. Educate About Reporting Content on TikTok

Further down, you'll also see the Your block list. Because of course, TikTok lets you block users too.

The service has community guidelines that forbid dangerous activities including scams, sextortion, drug usage, violent videos, and more. If it's widely illegal, it's banned from TikTok. But these guidelines go further than that by restricting potential hate speech, "hateful ideologies", and similar things that sit in a gray area.

Nonetheless, it's important to let your teen know that if they see anything that they think goes against these guidelines or which upsets them, they can report and block users and content.

To report an account, tap on the ellipsis at the top-right; to report a video, tap on the share button. In both instances, you can then Report. To block an account, you need to tap that ellipsis again and select Block.

6. Limit Viewable Content

You've stopped others from interacting with your teen without consent. Now you need to make sure they don't view any adult content on TikTok. To do this, enter Restricted Mode.

Go to your teen's profile and click on the three-dots. Then go on Digital Wellbeing > Restricted Mode > Turn On Restricted Mode.

It's not fool-proof, so sometimes, dodgy TikTok content will get through the filters. That's what reporting is for.

You can also create a passcode so you're the only person who can deactivate Restricted Mode. If your teen finds out you've done that, though, they might think you're going too far, so consider carefully before you take this step.

7. Watch Out for Unpairing on TikTok Family Pairing

Yes, your teen can unpair their account from yours if they get fed up. That's why you need to keep an eye on your phone: if they decide to do this, you'll be notified so TikTok can make sure this is a mutual decision.

You have to tread the line. It's good to protect youngsters, but let them know you trust them by giving them some freedom. Family Pairing also lets you limit screen time, so if you're worried they're spending too many hours on the app, you can cut this down to just 40 minutes a day. If you do that, your teenager might get fed up with always needing parental approval.

Can Your Teen Get Around Your TikTok Restrictions?

Aside from unpairing, your child could find another way around these blocks---by setting up another TikTok account! All they need is a second device using a different account, i.e. an alternative email address without Family Pairing activated.

It's all down to trust and respect, which go both ways. TikTok is massive right now, but its popularity could wane like Vine, Kik, and Bebo, especially if concerns over privacy continue to be highlighted. Chat to your teen about TikTok, establish some ground rules, and tell them they can always come to you about anything that troubles them on social media or otherwise.


18 Creative Photography Ideas for Beginners to Improve Their Skills

You've got new photography gear. You might have even taken some lessons in basic photography. But it can be difficult to get cool beginner photography ideas, whether you're at home, college, or work. It seems like such a simple thing to do, but figuring out where to point your camera or smartphone can be surprisingly difficult.

These photography ideas for beginners will have you snapping away in no time. From toys to animals to the night sky, cool photography ideas abound. All you need to do is start snapping!

1. A Rubik's Cube

Start with something simple. Many of us have a Rubik's cube lying around. If not, they're cheap!

Art lessons often begin with renderings of cubes or spheres with one or two sources of light casting shadows to immortalize. A Rubik's cube gives photographers a similar challenge, albeit also showing off your camera's ability to capture startling colors.

Its crisp lines will also introduce you to the concept of leading lines!

2. Still Life

Once you've mastered one object, it's time to throw more into a composition. We're once more taking inspiration from art courses.

A still life is simply a collection of items, typically against a plain backdrop. Fruit is a reliable example, but you could use books, old electronic hardware, or busts.

Experiment with different lighting. Adjust the proximity of a lamp and ask, how do the shadows change? Which objects are highlighted, and which are hidden? How would the piece look with the lamp as part of the still life?

The items you've chosen say a lot about you. Paul Cézanne's interest in skulls spoke of his fascination with mortality. Steve McCurry's broken sculptures speak of lost societies. Vincent van Gogh's obsession with sunflowers summed up a tortured attitude to life.

Skulls are too morbid, but what do your still life shots tell the viewers about you?

3. Self-Portrait

All art is a reflections: of creators, of consumers, of civilizations. That extends to self-portraits. So we'll take a moment here to tackle one of the most common (and controversial) photography subjects of modern life. We're talking, of course, about the selfie.

You may consider there to be very little skill in portraying yourself. Yet a vast wealth of talented folk have used self-portraits to uncover a hidden side of themselves. What expression are you making? What's in the background? What's the focus of your piece?

This will also help you get to grips with your camera's timer or selfie mode.

4. Your Own Children

You've taken a self-portrait. How do you apply those skills to other people?

Your own kids are perfect subjects. If you haven't got children, ask a relative if they'd mind you taking some photos of their kids. Children differ drastically---not just in age, but in temperament and energy too.

You'll naturally want to capture your kids having fun. But what about those more intimate moments when they're worried, reading, or listening to music? These are perfect times to practice some of your creative photography at home.

Get their consent first though.

5. Crowds

You've mastered taking a portrait of one or two people. Now try a crowd.

People are unruly. Even in a straight line, we stop and start at strange intervals. We suddenly change direction, begin conversations or break off from them, and deviate from directions.

You'll find an infinite supply of photography ideas in any crowd. Capture the movement of the crowd itself. Look for interesting shots of individuals. How do people behave? What makes some stand out? How does a large mass of humanity differ from a single person?

You're capturing people in their natural habitat: together.

6. Moving Vehicles

Vehicles offer a wide color palette, interesting lines, reflections, textures, and many other facets that photographers love.

But moving cars are another challenge entirely.

What's the main point of interest? Does an entirely blurred composition demonstrate what you're trying to achieve? Or does having one aspect in focus make the rest of the image "speed up"? Capturing moving objects will also make you experiment with shutter speeds.

Related: How to Find Photos to Study by Lens, Aperture, Shutter Speed, and Genre

7. Carnivals

Fun fairs are always better on gloomy evenings. They're more challenging for beginners and professional photographers too. You have to think about shutter speeds and composition, and add ISO into the mix.

ISO is the sensor's sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO, the better your camera will be at shooting in the dark. But higher ISO results in more "noise," grains that pockmark an image.

With lots going on all around you, you'll want to be ambitious. Restrain yourself. Remember: there's beauty in simplicity.

8. Animals

You've mastered people. Now try animals.

If you're looking for fun photography ideas, you can't go wrong with photographing pets. Candid shots are ideal. Trying to direct your animals to obtain a particular composition is equally challenging.

Get onto the same level as your pet. Aim to capture eyes. They're great focal points.

The best results come from extremes. Get up close or stand back: the former gives unusually intimate insight into the animal world; the latter gives context and shows playfulness.

9. Cobwebs

This is one of the most difficult photography assignments you'll attempt. Why? Because you're trying to capture a virtually intangible object.

We often can't see cobwebs with the naked eye, so how can your camera do it?

The obvious answer is moisture in the air. That means early mornings or late evenings when a mist is settling on the land. Don't spray water onto them: let nature take its course.

Factor in light. Where should its source be to illuminate your subject?

10. Sunrise and Sunset

If you're trying to shoot cobwebs in the mornings and nights, there's a perfect subject in the sky: the sun.

It's dazzling. What's more, it leaves gorgeous colors streaking across the roof of the world, especially as it rises and sets. In fact, if you're ever struggling for motivation, look up. That's your challenge.

Don't look at or point your camera directly at the sun when it's high in the sky.

Have patience. A "second sunset" occurs 20–30 minutes after the sun goes below the horizon, and will produce great results.

Don't be afraid to take lots of images. You may only be happy with one in 50, but that's one of the great things about digital and mobile photography.

11. Reflections

Playing with reflections in pictures offers an opportunity for presenting unique perspectives.

Combine reflection photography experiments with the sunrise or sunset and you can create numerous points of interest and end up with a bright, rich final product. Use mirrors for every situation on this list and you might carve out an interesting niche.

12. Fountains

When it comes to creative photography ideas, it's hard to beat water. It contains infinite changing lines. It reflects light in interesting ways. It's found in so many contexts.

Fountains are a good place to start. If you miss one freeze-frame, you'll get the chance again imminently. This allows you time to prepare yourself. Start with a shutter speed of 1/500 of a second and a lower ISO: you'll capture enough detail without detracting from the overall effect.

A lower aperture typically gives you a deeper depth of field---great in natural light, but less so under artificial illumination.

13. Fire

Let's turn our attentions to another unpredictable element: fire.

Take safety precautions. Make sure you're in a well-ventilated area and can put out the flames easily. Don't mess around. Better yet, simply take pictures of a candle or your home's fireplace.

Begin with a shutter speed of at least 1/250 for capturing individual flames or smoke. A slower speed will help if you want to show the full glow. What happens when fire is the sole light source?

14. Weather Extremes

All extremes are great to photograph: the light and the dark, anger and happiness, construction and destruction. Few things are as extreme as the weather.

You don't have to live in hurricane territory to show the ferocity of nature. There are loads of photography ideas in more mundane weather. A deluge of rainfall is as interesting as a monsoon. So too signs of drought. Photography is about documenting the world around us,; if there's one thing that unites us, it's the weather.

Most conditions don't last long and come without much warning, so be ready! Snow may stick around for days, but its fall can come and go intermittently in minutes.

15. Graffiti

This is divisive. For some, it's art. For others, it's vandalism. Either way, it's a perfect photography assignment for beginners.

No matter your view, you can get a point across. Should you crop close? Do you give wider context? What's in the background or foreground? This is about storytelling.

If you intend to profit from your photos, however, research copyright laws. Some graffiti artists attempt to trademark their work.

16. Cityscapes

Skylines are compelling, evocative, and nostalgic. If you've got time, stay in a position for much of the day. See how the light changes the composition and think about which you want to retain on film.

Get low to portray incredible scale or intimidation. Overlook an intersection to show how busy or empty something is. Search for leading lines or patterns to draw the eye.

17. Woodland

Woods are microcosms of life!

There's the grand scope of trunks, the rough bark, branches twisting up, and leafy veins. Daylight or twilight are excellent times to shoot, but using an artificial source of light at night might give you unusual pics.

18. Astronomical Events

At night, look up. Isn't it amazing? Capturing the infinite wonder of space? Now, there's a challenge. How do you photograph stars and natural satellites?

Start with a tripod. You'll need different ISO and aperture settings depending on what you're trying to photograph.

Start with our moon. Set your DSLR to its base ISO---likely either 100 or 200. If it's the former, you'll require a shutter speed of 1/125. For the latter, 1/250. Accompany both with an aperture of f/11.

There's too much to go into here, but as long as you're inspired, you're doing it right. But if you want to delve deeper, check out our article on tips for better night sky photographs.

Discover Your Own Photography Ideas

Mix things up by combining a few of these ideas together. Experimental is the key.

And if you've experimented with all these situations, you're not a beginner anymore. You're an experienced photographer.


The 8 Best Marvel Games for the PlayStation 4 | MakeUseOf

What are the best superhero games on the PS4? Marvel has dominated the box office for so long that a steady stream of related video games are available on your console.

It might be your dream to be a hero, but which releases actually help you realize your destiny? Which are the best Marvel video games all PS4 owners need to play? Read on to find out.

1. Spider-Man

Spider-Man is one of the most critically-acclaimed titles on the PS4.

The importance of Peter Parker cannot be underestimated. Finally, here was a hero who was worried about everyday concerns. He had acne, girlfriend troubles, and was bullied. He can also climb walls and swing from webs. This game puts you in his shoes.

Spider-Man features an original storyline which starts with a showdown with the Kingpin. It then spirals to include many others from Spidey's villain roster including Doctor Octopus, Electro, the Shocker, Scorpion, and Vulture. DLCs also incorporate Hammerhead, Silver Sable, Black Cat, and more.

This game is so popular that it has spawned its own continuity, including an original novel, multiple comic series, and a sequel with Miles Morales.

2. Marvel's Avengers

Following the success of Spider-Man, Square Enix unveiled this exciting team-up title.

The story actually begins with the Avengers having disbanded five years previously. It's up to new hero, Ms Marvel (Kamala Khan), to bring them back together in order to stop the Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM).

Rather surprisingly, the lead Avengers take a back seat for much of the early campaign. Fortunately, playing as Khan works beautifully: she's a fun and layered hero with really cool powers. Don't worry: you get to play as Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, and all of your favorites too!

Though it's also available on Xbox, PlayStation users will also get Spider-Man as DLC.

3. LEGO Super Heroes

This is the bestselling LEGO video game of all time.

It's testament to the enjoyability of LEGO Super Heroes that, despite coming out in 2013, it remains popular and addictive. LEGO games have a successful formula, combining fun aesthetics with recognizable-yet-innovative storylines.

This instalment captures the thrill of comic team-ups as heroes from groups like the Avengers, X-Men, and Fantastic Four unite to save the world. Visit distinct locations like the SHIELD Helicarrier, Raft prison, and Times Square, and encounter more obscure heroes and villains.

Most impressively, you can play as over 100 characters. These include: Daredevil, She-Hulk, Kraven, Groot, Moon Knight, Carnage, Phoenix, Kingpin, Howard the Duck---and not forgetting Stan Lee!

4. Deadpool

Break the fourth wall and a CPU's face.

This hilarious title, released in 2015 just prior to the Deadpool movie, went under the radar for many. And that's a huge shame because, as it's written by comic scribe Daniel Way, it perfectly captures the tone of the character. Deadpool hires Nolan North as his voice.

This is a hack-and-slash third-person shooter featuring a smorgasbord of familiar comic characters like Cable, Domino, Mr. Sinister, and a mysterious X-Men hero. I can't tell you who, but it does rhyme with "Pullverine".

Obviously, there are copious amounts of violence, sex, and swearing, so this game isn't suitable for children, DC fans, or anyone who thinks New Warriors is a good idea.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series

This episodic game is the most reminiscent of comic books, coming in issue-like instalments with cliffhangers. Each episode spotlights a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy as they steal the Eternity Forge, an immensely powerful cosmic artefact, from Thanos---then must recover it from Hala the Accuser (of the Kree).

It's not an action game; instead, you have to make decisions which affect the overall narrative. It was a speciality of Telltale, which has sadly folded now, whose other franchises include The Walking Dead and Batman. This is one of their best.

This is definitely one for Marvel Cinematic Universe aficionados: its soundtrack, locations, and character designs are directly inspired by the GOTG cinematic brand. Check out our review of GOTG: The Telltale Series on smartphone.

6. Iron Man VR

Ever wanted to be Iron Man? To fly around, save people, and be a hero to millions? Taking away the suit, do you have desires to be a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist? Sorry, but that's not going to happen.

However, Iron Man VR is the next best thing to that impossible dream.

Don't expect HD graphics, but it's nonetheless an immersive and thrilling experience. You're tracking down old Stark Industries weapons that have fallen into the wrong hands. Gameplay isn't extensive, but with VR, that's no bad thing.

Plus, you're encouraged to replay levels like an arcade game to get better. The higher your scores, the more you can customize your armor.

This is a dream for Marvel fans. But you do need extra equipment to play VR on your PS4, including a headset, Move controllers, and PS Camera.

Related: Is It Worth Buying A PlayStation Camera For The PS4?

7. Marvel v Capcom: Infinite

Infinite revives the iconic fighting franchise, Marvel v Capcom. X-Men vs. Street Fighter launched the series in 1996 and six further titles were released, although Marvel vs. Capcom Origins seemed like the last in 2012. Then Infinite came in 2017, once more pitching heroes and villains from the two brands against each other.

Though the number of playable characters is limited, there were a further six added just for this game: Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers), Gamora, Ultron, Black Panther, Black Widow, and the Winter Soldier.

It's bright and fun, perfect for fans of classic Street Fighter or anyone who wants to see Dormammu beating up Ryu.

8. LEGO Avengers

LEGO Super Heroes might have had a sequel, but this is its first spiritual successor.

Astonishingly, LEGO Avengers includes over 200 playable characters---a great mix of well- and lesser-known heroes and villains.

More so than LEGO Super Heroes, LEGO Avengers is inspired by the MCU, meaning it's very accessible. The core narrative loosely follows the plots of The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Then there are additional levels based on Phase I and II films, Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

What's the Best Marvel Game on PS4 for You?

If you're on a budget, you need to know which of these is an essential purchase. Here's our advice:

  • For replayability: LEGO Super Heroes
  • For most playable characters: LEGO Avengers
  • For Virtual Reality addicts: Iron Man VR
  • For MCU fans: GOTG: The Telltale Series
  • For epic fights: Marvel v Capcom: Infinite
  • For unadulterated laughs: Deadpool
  • For big kids: Marvel's Avengers
  • For anyone who wants to be a hero: Spider-Man

Downloads are inevitable and tedious. But they'll be worth it... eventually. At least you can read some comic books and graphic novels while you wait to become one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.


What Is “Our Story” on Snapchat? | MakeUseOf

Stories have been a key part of social media since 2013---but what's Our Story on Snapchat? Introduced in 2015, Our Story appears to have a similar functionality as My Story, but adding a Snap to Our Story is actually very different.

So what's the difference between My Story and Our Story? How do you use Our Story? And is it safe to do so?

You can add images and videos to My Story in the same way you send them to contacts. However, anything you add to My Story is viewable for 24 hours and can be seen by everyone on your friends list.

What's Our Story? Whereas Snapchat has traditionally focused on private conversations, this feature adds to the wider community. Our Story consists of curated content related to location.

Want to see pictures someone has uploaded in your town? How about videos of local landmarks? Or find folk celebrating walking up a particularly steep mountain nearby? Our Story is perfect for all of those.

Any content added to Our Story can be viewed on Snap Map, as well as third-parties. Snapchat enthuses that this could mean your Snap is shared "on the jumbotron while you're at a game". Our Story Snaps can be forwarded on through texts and emails too.

Stories are regulated by Snapchat staff, ensuring content isn't offensive.

This is in contrast to My Story, which can't be easily shared. You'll even be notified if anyone screenshots My Story.

To see other people's content, just navigate to the Discover page on Snapchat; to the right of the main screen. Alternatively, check out the Snap Map in your profile or by swiping down on the main screen. You must have location-based services enabled.

If this makes you uncomfortable, learn how to turn off your location on Snapchat.

You can also search in the app using the field at the top of the Camera screen. Looking for content related to a location can result in loads of hits.

Take a Snap or video as you normally would: Open the app to its main screen and capture content by tapping or holding down the large middle button on your interface. Click on the blue arrow to the bottom-right of your screen to send this on.

You can send it to any contacts, but above your friends list, you'll see My Story and Our Story. When you click on Our Story, Snapchat will tell you that you're intending to, "Add to the Map and Stories on Discover".

You can also click on your profile at the top-left of the Camera screen and click Add to Our Story.

Make your content creative and interesting but not risqué as Snapchat staff won't approve anything NSFW.

Memories and images from your Camera Roll can't be added to Our Story either.

Live Stories are curated by Snapchat during major events.

If you're experiencing something monumental that Snapchat is creating a Live Story about, you can add to it by using the above method of creating content for Our Story. Under the Our Story contact, it will list a particular Live Story you're adding to.

You need to make sure your filters are turned on.

Related: How to Use Filters on Snapchat Quickly and Easily

Anyone with location-based services enabled can see what's added to Our Story, and more besides.

You can view the Snap Map online, meaning anyone can browse their locality, their country, or anywhere else in the world.

Campus Stories are a kernel of Our Story, applying the same idea to select educational institutions. Students add Snaps and videos based on the college campus, which can then be seen by anyone visiting the site.

You'll see them if you've been on a campus in the last 24 hours. It's a neat way of adding to the student community, but could be used for insidious purposes too. Don't share any personal details, or indeed anything you wouldn't want strangers seeing, like where you live.

Yes, you can save or delete what you've added to Our Story. Deleting Snaps, however, means erasing it from the app. There's no guarantee it's not been shared elsewhere, like third-party apps.

Open your profile and tap on the cog icon at the top-right of your screen. Next, tap "Our Story Snaps": the symbol with the arrow pointing to an in-tray saves the Snap to Memories, while the trash icon deletes it.

The latter deletes your selected content from Search and Snap Map.

No. Otherwise, if your Snaps are popular, you'd be overwhelmed with notifications (and maybe alerted to screenshots!).

That's why you need to bear in mind that anything added to Our Story can be seen by anyone---your family, friends, neighbors, tutors, and even complete strangers.

Don't add anything you wouldn't be happy literally anyone seeing. Remember these simple tips for keeping Snapchat secure.

Related: 8 Tips to Keep Your Snapchat Secure

Our Story balks at what Snapchat is traditionally used for. In that way, it breaches your privacy. However, you are actively allowing Snaps to be shared widely, so it's only as much a risk to your security as other social media apps such as Twitter.

We should reiterate that you can delete anything you add to Our Story too.

But there's a caveat to that. Our Story can be shared online, and Snapchat can't guarantee that content on the Stories and Snap Map sections of its sites will also disappear once deleted from the app. The same is true when Stories are shared by email, SMS, copied links, and on messaging apps.

The bonus is that you can let family and friends who don't have Snapchat see your Snaps. The bad news is that anyone else can check it out too.

When used properly, it's safe.

Our Story isn't in line with what Snapchat was created for. Nonetheless, it's an interesting and worthwhile idea, arguably making the world a smaller place.

But if the notion unsettles you, don't use it. And if that's the case, you might want to ask yourself whether Snapchat is really right for you.

Image Credit: AdamPrzezdziek/ Flickr


The 30 Best Episodes of The Simpsons to Watch Now | MakeUseOf

The Simpsons is celebrating more than 30 years of hilarity, having long-cemented itself in the hearts of millions of people worldwide. Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie (not forgetting Santa's Little Helper and Snowball II) are icons of television.

You often find repeat showings on TV channels, and you can also enjoy all 30 seasons-plus on Disney+. But what are the best episodes of The Simpsons? In this article, we list the best The Simpsons episodes in order of transmission.

NB: To help you find the best The Simpsons episodes you'll find the season and episode numbers next to the titles.

Lisa finds a way to channel her mental health struggles after meeting Bleeding Gums Murphy. This establishes her love of the saxophone.

The best episodes of The Simpsons have heart, alongside a hearty dose of humor. The show bravely tackles depression, just six episodes into Season 1---which is why it makes our list, marginally pipping 'Round Springfield (effectively Moaning Lisa's sequel).

Bart is inspired by stunt performer, Lance Murdock, to risk jumping Springfield Gorge. Things don't go to plan, leading to a much-loved scene in which Homer accidentally attempts the jump.

The Simpsons creator, Matt Groening, once named this his favorite episode of the show.

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This Lisa-centric episode will resonate with anyone whose passion for learning was exacerbated by an enthusiastic tutor. Dustin Hoffman's Mr Bergstrom is sensitive and thoughtful, and the pay-off is beautiful.

Several cast members (including Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa) have named it among their favorite episodes of all time.

Homer at the Bat stars nine Major League Baseball players, in a logistical production nightmare. It was worth it, signalling the start of a golden age. Terry Cashman tops this masterpiece off with the earworm, Talkin' Softball, which, he admits, gets more requests than his 1981 hit, Talkin' Baseball.

It's also saved lives: two people who used the Heimlich Manoeuvre in real life credited seeing it in this episode!

This packs an emotional punch by testing the relationship between Marge and Homer. But there's one core reason you need to watch this episode: Maggie's parody of The Great Escape and The Birds.

Jon Lovitz is superb as Llewellyn Sinclair, and Alfred Hitchcock also makes an appearance.

You're humming that song already, aren't you?

Springfield has money to waste and is talked into building a completely unnecessary---and highly dangerous---monorail. Of course, Homer is employed as its conductor. But is there a chance the track could bend?

The Nuclear Power Plant goes on strike and Homer must negotiate terms with Mr Burns. Its mix of sentiment, frivolity, and wordplay makes this, perhaps, the perfect episode of The Simpsons.

All together now: "Dental plan! Lisa needs braces."

It's the greatest Sideshow Bob episode: the one with the rakes.

The sequence was padded out to fill airtime, and became a comedy classic, referenced in several of Bob's subsequent appearances. Let's not overlook Bob's singing the score to the HMS Pinafore, sending Bart to Heaven before sending him to Hell…

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Bart becomes a self-help idol as Springfield follows his advice for a care-free life: "I do what I feel like".

Bart's Inner Child is full of underappreciated gags and irreverence, like Bart bizarrely calling himself Rudiger. Homer's "tramapoline" antics kick off the episode in style.

After witnessing the destruction he causes, Mr Burns names Bart as an heir to all his fortunes (including a gift certificate for Blockbuster Video).

This includes Homer's iconic line, "Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try." You can find the robotic Richard Simmons cut scene in The Simpsons' 138th Episode Spectacular.

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In a pastiche of every disaster movie---specifically Billy and the Cloneasaurus (aka Jurassic Park)---the family cause havoc at Itchy and Scratchy Land and must stop a robot revolution.

The "Bort" license plates scene has gained a cult following, and, with its spoofing Disneyland, is particularly pleasing to watch on Disney+.

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The Simpsons gives us a startling examination of sexual assault, Cancel Culture, and how Scottish people all videotape strangers.

Made in 1994, Homer Badman is increasingly relevant, but still packs in plenty of laughs. Try to pause to see the full list of Rock Bottom corrections. Remember: Licking an electrical outlet will not turn you into a Mighty Morphin' Power Ranger.

Yes, it's the Stonecutters, everyone's favorite parody of the freemasons.

Grampa is a member (he's also an Elk, a Mason, a Communist, and the President of The Gay and Lesbian Committee), so Homer is admitted. And his power quickly grows.

This flashback episode finds Homer in his dream job: working in a bowling alley. So why doesn't he still work there? And where are all the photos of Maggie?

It's a touching tale which ends on a beautiful note.

Springfield Elementary's teachers go on strike, egged on by Bart. He comes to regret it when the townsfolk, including Marge, start teaching classes instead.

Every scene has a quotable quip and will leave you in fits of laughter, purple monkey dishwasher.

Glenn Close plays Homer's mother, who turns up after Homer fakes his own death. Homer enjoys having her back in his life---then must question why she vanished in the first place.

There are a lot of tearjerkers on this list. Mother Simpson's ending is probably the pinnacle.

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Jebediah Springfield was firmly established as an icon of the town in The Telltale Head (1990). But sometimes, as Lisa discovers, history lies.

Lisa the Iconoclast introduced the words "Embiggen" and "Cromulent", which are now in the dictionary. Don't forget: A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.

Bart meets Chester J. Lampwick (Kirk Douglas), a homeless man who claims he invented Itchy. Can they successfully sue Itchy and Scratchy Studios?

And if they do, what happens to Bart's beloved cartoon?

"Immigants: I knew it was them! Even when it was the bears, I knew it was them!"

Immigrants are blamed for a tax hike, and Springfield elects to vote on Proposition 24, forcibly deporting illegal citizens. This includes Apu, and the Simpsons realize the horrible consequences of their actions.

Of course, this discussion of ethics, xenophobia, and politics is raised after a bear wanders through the town.

Homer gets a new job that involves the Simpson family relocating to the idyllic Cypress Creek. His employer is Hank Scorpio, a loveable and caring boss who is also a supervillain.

You can see why You Only Move Twice is often listed as the best episode of The Simpsons ever. It's full of genius sight gags and puns, beautifully pastiches the James Bond franchise, and features" Albert Brooks as one of the most popular guest characters.

Bart gets a job at a burlesque house, which Marge takes issue with. Its arguments about personal freedom and fickle public outrage are as apt today as they were in 1996.

"We Put the Spring in Springfield" won the Emmy for Outstanding Music and Lyrics. It really is catchy.

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Hallucinations caused by the Merciless Pepper of Quetzalacatenango makes Homer question whether Marge is really his soulmate.

The illusionary sequence, which included 2D computer animation, was primarily animated by David Silverman, who wanted the scenes to look exactly as he'd imagined.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reprise their X-Files roles for this hilarious send-up of the 1990s sci-fi series. Homer thinks he spots an alien, but will the world (and his family) believe him? It's a love letter to sci-fi shows, includes the "Bus That Couldn't Slow Down" gag, and stars Leonard Nimoy.

Keep watching the skis!

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Prohibition comes to Springfield, leading Homer to concoct a scheme to keep the alcohol flowing. Meanwhile, Replacement Chief of Police, Rex Banner (Dave Thomas), is brought in to track down the elusive Beer Baron.

This flawless story concludes with the iconic line, "To alcohol! The cause of---and solution to---all of life's problems."

Finally, someone competent notices how inept Homer is at his job. Can Frank "Grimey" Grimes make everyone else see how misplaced Homer is at the Power Plant?

Homer's Enemy splits opinion. Yes, it has lots of great gags ("Pigs tend to chew. I'd say he eats more like a duck"), but it's deceptively dark.

Made before 9/11, there's a poignant beauty to this episode, which finds Homer reluctantly visiting New York to retrieve his car from between the Twin Towers. It was taken out of syndication for several years. However, its cheeky affection and warmth for the city makes for a compelling season premiere.

"You're Checkin' In" is an award-winner and will loop around in your brain, appropriately, like a drug.

Homer joins the naval reserve and accidentally causes an international incident. This is as crazy as The Simpsons gets.

This was the last episode Al Jean and Mike Reiss acted as executive producers together, and it's brilliant.

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A riot at the Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con results in Homer becoming Mayor Quimby's bodyguard. This puts him at odds with Fat Tony and the mob.

Mark Hamill guests and inspires us all to use the forks.

Bart goes on an insane rampage after getting addicted to an experimental drug to treat hyperactivity.

Then-President Bill Clinton held the first White House conference on Mental Health in response to this hilarious-yet-thoughtful episode.

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We began with a Lisa episode; we end on one too, albeit seemingly about Homer.

A crayon lodged in his brain has led to his sub-standard intellect. When it's removed, he no longer says things like "liberry" or "tomorrie". His increased IQ lets him reconnect with Lisa but puts him at odds with a world which displays a distinct strain of anti-intellectualism.

Yes, we probably missed your favorite. There are so many to choo-choo-choose from! So feel free to suggest your picks for the best The Simpsons episodes in the comments.

And after watching every Simpsons episode listed here, you should check out some more of the best movies and TV shows on Disney+.


How to Organize Your Book Collection the Right Way | MakeUseOf

As an avid book reader and collector, you face two problems: you need to organize your book collection and deal with the lack of space. Books come in all shapes and sizes, cover all subjects, and put the world firmly on your doorstep. That's the joy of books. But they can be a nightmare to sort through.

Fortunately, technology can help you keep your books in order. What is the best way to organize your book collection? How do you organize a bookshelf with a lot of books? And should you really get rid of your prized novels?

Books are personal, so you need to arrange them in a way that's most accessible to you. Do you separate hardbacks from paperbacks? Do you stack them in piles? With that in mind, here are a few ways to organize your books.

How do you organize a library? This is the professional way to do it, i.e. how they're listed in educational institutions. So what is the Dewey Decimal System?

It's simply a numerical-based method to organize books by genre, then by author surname. Here's the basic system used in public spaces:

000: Computer science, information, and general works

100: Philosophy and Psychology

200: Religion

300: Social Sciences

400: Language

500: Natural Sciences

600: Applied Sciences and Technology

700: Arts and Recreation

800: Literature

900: History, Geography, and Biography

Each number further splits into smaller categories. For instance, Literature is divided into American literature in English (810), English & Old English literatures (820), and many more. William Shakespeare even has his own subcategory (822.33).

But of course, you can do your own thing by creating your own organizational system. Splitting by genre could just mean you group all detective fiction together. Romance has its own place, as do thrillers. Classics might deserve their own space---it's entirely up to you.

Or you can simply split your collection into fiction and non-fiction.

Let's explore some less intense ways to sort your collection.

You finish one book and want to start a new one. But they're scattered haphazardly about so you can't find the one you're after.

Instead, create different piles, shelves, or cupboards. These separate the books you've read (and want to keep---which we'll come back to) from the tomes you still want to enjoy. This will mean it's easier to decide what to enjoy next.

Are there novels you want to reread? Or journals that will be useful for work? Keep them separated from the rest of your books.

Keeping your favorite books to one side can prove a handy pick-me-up on days you're feeling low. If you are feeling down, a fantastic immersive story can cheer you up. Don't forget that there are plenty of websites you can browse when you're feeling depressed too.

This is the easiest method for keeping your collection in order. Organize your volumes in alphabetical order, according to authors' names, or by title.

This can be first name or surname, as long as you remember which you've opted for. It wouldn't be such a problem when looking for Christie, Agatha, but is more important for Zafón, Carlos Ruiz.

Few things are as frustrating as finishing one book in a series and eagerly reaching for the next... only to find you've misplaced it. You spend the next day scouring your bookshelves, intermittently crying, and checking behind sofas. Then you order a replacement copy online.

Alternatively, you could keep series in chronological order and make life as stress-free as possible.

How do you keep track of which books you've read and which you'd like to catch up with?

A good option is using a cataloguing website.

The best-known one is Goodreads, which contains details on the vast majority of books, including different editions. You can mark any you've read and review them. Many authors are also members, so will see feedback and can be asked questions about their work. Plus, you can mark books you're interested in and Goodreads will email you further recommendations.

At the end of the year, Goodreads will give you a helpful summary of how much you've read.

Another solution is LibraryThing, a similar service which is now free and also includes movies and music. The interface is simple but don't be put off: this is a fantastic social network for readers. You can filter by tags, meaning organizing your collection is easy.

And if you prefer physical records, LibraryThing lets you print off your catalog!

You can use various cataloging apps, but one of the best is Collectorz. This covers many mediums, including films, books, and video games. It goes above and beyond, however: the comic book version, for instance, includes a library of graphic novels.

Access the library via the website, download the relevant software, or check out the app. This is a cloud-based system, so whichever elements you use, you simply need to sync them to check out the full range of your collection.

The app is particularly impressive: just scan the barcode or search for a title or series. It links up with the database, and lists publication details for everything in your library.

The best bit? Its filters are exceptional. Not only can you check whether you've got a particular edition and find gaps in your collection; Collectorz lets you add notes, so you can tell where you've filed a particular book or comic.

This definitely isn't for everyone. But if you're looking to make some space in your house, try converting to digital editions.

EReaders like Kindle or Kobo let you carry an entire library in your backpack. It's an exciting notion, and increases accessibility. Imagine going on holiday and still having thousands of stories at your fingertips. Yes, even if you love physical books, there are still plenty of reasons to buy a Kindle.

You don't have to do this for everything, of course. However, if you're curious about some titles or a particular author, this is a decent way of testing the water before filling your shelves with physical books.

There isn't enough space in your living room for all the novels you want to read. Sometimes, you have to consider the unthinkable: you need to get rid of some books. You could sell them on auction sites like eBay, or put them in storage using Makespace or a similar service.

But the best option is donating them to charity. You're sharing knowledge---what can be better than that?

There are various sites where you can pass on your second-hand books. These include Books2Africa (which distributes to schools in Africa), Book Aid International (sharing publications among poverty-stricken areas), and Better World Books, which offers Drop Boxes across the US and UK.

While reading can be a very intimate activity, there's a thriving community of readers to chat to and swap recommendations. The real trick is to make sure your "To Read" pile is bigger than your "Read" pile.

Check out our list of the best books of the year for more recommendations.


The Perfect Online Dating Profile Picture, According to Research

Don’t judge a book by its cover. But in the online dating world, a picture is often all you have to go by.

Picking good profile pictures is the key to success in finding matches. It’s a lot of pressure—especially if you don’t like photos of yourself. Fortunately, major online dating companies regularly complete surveys to figure out exactly what users find attractive. Based on this research, you’ll have the best dating profile pictures in no time!

The Dating Profile Pictures to Avoid

Avoid the following photos as they often lead to immediate rejections.

  1. Photos with your ex: If a potential match thinks you’re already in a happy, monogamous relationship, it doesn’t matter how good you look in the photo. Writing “the girl in my pic is my ex lol” in your profile doesn’t matter. In fact, you look like you have unresolved history.
  2. No photos of your face: People want to know who they’re talking to. A beautiful backdrop is great, but stunning landscapes shouldn’t occupy your whole profile. Not having any photos at all of yourself on a dating profile makes it look like you have something to hide.
  3. Obvious image manipulations: People want to know what you actually look like. They’re not going to date Photoshop.

Do I Need to be Attractive to Use Online Dating?

Attractiveness isn’t a deal-breaker when it comes to online dating. Seriously!

In fact, OKCupid found that being too attractive might result in receiving fewer messages. This holds especially true for men. Average or below-average-looking people are more likely to receive messages from women.

Getting more messages doesn’t mean finding an offline connection quicker. People who receive a lot of messages tend to spend less time replying, making it difficult to get to know each other.

It’s also hard to quantify what these labels mean: your “average” might be someone else’s “very attractive”. To be clear, your attractiveness is unlikely to be the core reason your profile doesn’t get attention.

EHarmony reiterates that, while a decent profile photo may start a conversation, a good personality that leads to genuine connections is more important.

Don’t use too much make-up either. Censuswide did an online dating survey in the U.K with 1000 respondents that revealed 72 percent prefer you to wear no make-up at all over wearing lots of it.

Should You Use Selfies in Online Dating Profiles?

You might not want your friends to know you’re trying online dating. That’s why so many are keen to avoid linking Tinder with Facebook. Selfies might seem a necessity, and that’s probably a good thing for women. Why? The London School of Medicine found that the most effective photos for women are often selfies taken with your head tilted slightly.

However, men receive eight percent fewer matches when including selfies.

Make sure you can clearly see your face in pictures: A Tinder photo tip says that profiles that open with a full shot of your face get 27 percent more likes.

Full-body shots are a winner—86 percent of men and women agree—as are medium shots, which include your face and torso against an interesting (but not distracting) background. These give potential matches a good sense of body type.

Just don’t take them in front of a mirror. Zoosk found that 29 percent of women actively dislike mirror selfies. And definitely don’t take a selfie in the bathroom. These result in 90 percent fewer likes.

Which Photos Should You Use in Online Dating Profiles?

The best profile photos lead to conversations. But what kinds of photos are most likely to do that?

Simply taking a photo outside can lead to 19 percent more messages for men because you’re putting in some extra effort. According to eHarmony, other great conversation starters with your date include photos that indicate interests in politics, travel, exercise, or theater.

If you have a cute dog, pose with them in a picture. In the battle of dogs versus cats, dogs are the clear winner in the dating world: you’ll get 53 percent fewer messages while posing with a cat than if you’re on your own.

It’s a different story for women. The same study shows that the most attractive interests for women to showcase include personal growth, health, family, dancing, and art. Being photographed indoors is also, strangely, more attractive.

Beware: women with pets in their photos get fewer matches, on average.

A love of food is similarly appreciated by women and men, so don’t be afraid of using a shot in a restaurant.

Should You Include Group Photos on Your Dating Profile?

Many include group shots in their profiles, but you’re advised not to. You might get lost in the crowd. Imagine if you match with someone who thinks they’re actually talking to one of your friends!

This isn’t a deal-breaker, however. Pictures with other people can demonstrate your likeability, show that you have a social life, and prove you’re not a Tinder bot.

If you’re especially keen, make sure a group shot isn’t the first image matches see. Group shots confuse those viewing your profile for the first time. They have no way of knowing which of those individuals you are.

Don’t overcrowd a picture. Certainly don’t have more than four individuals in a picture. And make sure you stand out. If you’re blonde, post a picture where you’re the only blonde person in the frame, for example.

The same is true of backgrounds: you should be in the most interesting thing in the image, right in the foreground, and nothing should distract from you.

Family photos—providing they’re not cheesy—can work well, as women and men typically find familial closeness attractive. Photos where you pose with your mum actually have a seven percent higher match rate than those without. You might feel guilty using your own mother like that though.

Should You Smile for the Camera?

This is harder to answer because sources disagree.

For women, a flirty smile aimed at the camera works because potential matches feel a connection when you seem to lock eyes.

Tinder reports that smiling increases your chances of a match by 14 percent, so think about that next time you start pouting for the camera. In fact, pouting is a turn-off, pretty much universally.

Women are 47 percent more likely to smile in photos than men, and that’s a good thing. Statistics show men are best looking away from the camera without a smile, although not in every picture. You need to show your eyes in some photos, to strengthen potential connections.

Then again, Tinder reports 10 percent more likes when a primary profile picture includes a small, regardless of gender.

In conclusion: do what works for you. If you think smiling is a more accurate portrayal of your character, you should smile!

The real problem is when grins look fake. That means some of the best are taken with you off-guard. You’ll look warm and comfortable. Don’t come across as creepy. If you smile, squint slightly so it looks more natural than having googly eyes.

Which Photos Should You Choose For Online Dating Profiles?

You need to post more than one picture. Four photos give a well-rounded perspective of your life.

But which photos should you choose? Here’s an example of an interesting camera roll:

  1. Your first picture needs to be of you—and only you. This should be the most flattering photo you have. First impressions take less than one-tenth of a second. In that time, people subconsciously judge attractiveness, how trustworthy you are, and what your personality is. These really matter, especially on dating apps.
  2. Your second photo should show you taking part in an activity. Be casual and confident. Show you’re comfortable being yourself.
  3. A full- or medium-body shot against an interesting backdrop. Make sure you clearly show your head and torso at least. The best option is a full-body shot. Zoosk says that a full-body photo of yourself increases the number of messages you receive by 203 percent!
  4. Use another photo of you participating in a hobby. Vacation photos demonstrate ambition and a love of life. Or if you’re a guy, pose with a dog.

Some services require more images. Hinge, for instance, asks for six, although one can be a video. Nonetheless, you should avoid oversharing. Ideally, include enough to start a conversation. Having more than six can make you seem egotistical. You risk eliminating any mystery and mixing in too many mediocre photos that detract from your strongest looks.

Online Dating Photos: What Not to Do

“Be yourself” is good advice, in all walks of life. But what else shouldn’t you do?

  • Don’t take gym selfies. You risk looking self-obsessed. And most gym-users are sweaty and tired, which isn’t a good look. On Tinder, profiles with gym selfies get 5 percent fewer likes.
  • Don’t wear sunglasses. Matches like to see your eyes. Remember, they’re the windows to the soul. Otherwise, you look like you’re hiding something.
  • Don’t use old photos. No one appreciates low quality images, and potential matches will doubt you still look like you did in 2007.
  • Don’t include a photo of an inanimate object. This sounds like an obvious one, but people don’t want to see your car. They’re interested in dating you, not a chunk of metal.

Most Importantly, Look Like Yourself

In the end, the goal of online dating is to meet up in real life. If your profile doesn’t accurately represent you, it doesn’t matter how perfect it is statistically!

Making tweaks to improve your chances is fine. Pretending to be someone you’re not is not. And once you have matched with someone on Tinder, make sure you stay safe when you meet for a date.

Read the full article: The Perfect Online Dating Profile Picture, According to Research


How to Get Someone Off Your Best Friends List on Snapchat

Snapchat is the go-to social media platform for many people between the ages of 13 and 25. Although Snapchat has stolen some of its glory in recent years.

The app lists your contacts in the Send To function, and right at the top, you’ll find your “Best Friends”. But what does Best Friends mean on Snapchat? Can anyone else see who you’re friends with? And how can you get someone off your Best Friends list on Snapchat?

In this article, we explain all of this and more, helping you figure out Snapchat’s Best Friends feature once and for all.

How Does Snapchat’s “Best Friends” Work?

Your Best Friends list on Snapchat keeps track of the people you chat with most often. It appears at the top of your main friends list, making those users more accessible when you’re sending a new snap.

But how does Snapchat calculate who your Best Friends are? It’s pretty simple.

You may have noticed that every user has a Snap Score—a measure of the total number of Snaps sent and received since joining. A similar score is assigned to individual conversations between you and your friends. The more you chat with a particular person, the higher your friendship score becomes.

To determine your Best Friends list, Snapchat analyzes these scores and lists the friends you chat with the most, in order of your friendship score.

What Do Snapchat’s “Friend Emojis” Mean?

hearts emoticon snapchat mean Best Friends

How can you tell who your Snapchat Best Friends are? Most importantly, they’ll appear at the top of your Send To screen. You can also click on your profile (the circle to the top-left of your interface), then My Friends, and your Best Friends are listed at the top.

When you swipe to your Chat screen, you’ll see your contacts listed alongside emojis. These show your Best Friends too.

Here’s what some of them mean:

  • Baby: You’re new friends.
  • Double pink heart: This is your #1 Best Friend; you’ve also been their #1 Best Friend for at least two months.
  • Red heart: You’ve been each other’s #1 Best Friend for two weeks.
  • Gold heart: You’re each other’s #1 Best Friend, albeit for fewer than two weeks.
  • Smile: Your Best Friends, though not your #1 Best Friend.
  • Fire: This appears when you’re on a “Snapstreak,” along with the number of consecutive days you’ve snapped each other. Learn about Snapstreaks and how to get a lost one back.

Emojis are also used by contacts in Snaps and Chats. If you use the service, you need to understand the meanings of Snapchat emojis.

Best Friends on Snapchat: Your Questions Answered

Before we show you how to get someone off your Best Friends list, let’s cover some of the related questions you may have about the feature.

Can Other Users See Your Best Friends List on Snapchat?

You might be concerned about privacy and want to know how to hide Best Friends on Snapchat. But don’t worry: no one else can see who you’re friends with on the app.

Others used to be able to see Best Friends lists. For instance, a smirking emoji showed when you’re someone’s Best Friend, but they’re not one of yours.

Fortunately, Snapchat saw the light and deleted this feature. Beware: the “Oops” and “Smiling-Face-With-Sunglasses” smileys still indicate shared Best Friends.

How Many Best Friends Can You Have on Snapchat?

You can have up to eight Best Friends.

Some only have one or two. Others converse with so many people, the Best Friends emojis shift between contacts daily.

How Can You Make Someone Your Best Friend on Snapchat?

You can’t specifically “set” someone as your Best Friend. Snapchat’s algorithm works by analyzing who you converse with most.

If you want someone to be your Best Friend on Snapchat, send them lots of Snaps and Chats! Of course, you should make sure the feeling’s mutual—there’s little point in bombarding someone with Snaps if it’s just going to annoy them.

And while one user might be your Best Friend, that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily theirs.

How To Remove Snapchat Best Friends

Remember, only you can see who your Best Friends are anyway. Nonetheless, you might still want to remove Best Friends from your Snapchat. It can be easy, but it depends on how frequently you Snap or Chat to them. You used to be able to block someone and then add them again, but this method no longer works.

You have three options.

How to Delete Friends on Snapchat

The first is to remove that friend entirely. This might be because of a break-up, and you don’t want to be reminded of them every time you open the platform.

Open the Chat function, to the left of your camera interface. Then click on the vertical ellipsis at the top-right of your screen, and tap either Remove Friend or Block.

Remove Friend is a temporary option: it’s easy to undo and they can still message you. Block is more permanent—this option will remove them from your Best Friends list, and indeed the app overall.

That user will no longer be able to see your Snap Score, so may presume they’ve been removed or blocked. And here’s how to tell if someone blocked you on Snapchat.

How to Get Rid of Your Best Friends on Snapchat

This isn’t ideal, but since Snapchat removed the loophole that let you block then add users again, it’s the only way. You’ve got to use the algorithm to your own advantage.

How? You need to send fewer Snaps and Chats to the person you don’t want listed as a Best Friend any more. Prioritize someone else.

So how long do the Best Friend emojis last on Snapchat? This depends largely on how many contacts you have and how many you talk to frequently.

If you know very few people on Snapchat, sending one Snap might mean they instantly become your Best Friend. If you know lots of people and have numerous Snapstreaks going, you’ll probably have many Best Friends.

How to Hide Best Friends on Snapchat

The third option disguises who your Best Friends are. Let’s posit that someone you know often checks your smartphone and wants to know who you’re regularly in contact with. You should really implement better security, but perhaps you don’t want to lock someone out of your phone completely.

There’s nothing you can do to hide Best Friends on the Send To screen, but you can mask it on the Chat screen (which someone else is most likely to check).

You can hide who your Best Friends are by changing the related emoji.

Open your profile then click the cog icon in the top-right. iOS users should go to Manage > Friend Emojis then click on whichever field you want to toggle. These include Super BFF, BFF, Besties, and BFs. You can change the emoji to whatever you want, as long as two fields don’t share the same one.

Android users can do this by clicking on Customize Emojis, also found after clicking on the cog icon.

Don’t Worry About Being Best Friends on Snapchat

Knowing you’re not someone’s Best Friend on Snapchat shouldn’t concern you. Maybe you just don’t talk enough on the app, but that doesn’t mean you’re not good friends in real life. After all, Snapchat’s Best Friends feature doesn’t account for SMS, messaging platforms, or face-to-face conversations.

Nonetheless, plenty of people take Snapchat seriously. So, if you use the service, you should at least learn some common Snapchat terms, to familiarize yourself with the lingo.

Read the full article: How to Get Someone Off Your Best Friends List on Snapchat


How to Delete Any and All Photos From Your iPhone or iPad

Are you struggling for space on your Apple device? You could buy increased capacity on iCloud, but a cheaper option is to erase some photos from your iPhone or iPad.

If you’re new to Apple devices, you may be wondering how to delete individual photos, how to delete photo albums, or event how to delete all photos on your iPhone. Don’t worry: it’s easy to do, and we’ll show you how.

How to Erase Photos After Syncing Your Device

You definitely need to create a backup of your iPhone or iPad before deleting your pictures. You can do this using iCloud, but unless you’ve paid for additional storage, you probably won’t have enough space.

It’s possible to use other cloud services, like Dropbox or OneDrive. However, chances are that you don’t have enough space in those without paying either.

You can otherwise import all content from your device to your Mac or PC by plugging it in. Run iTunes (or Finder on macOS Catalina and newer) and click Sync. Your PC might ask to download your photo library too.

After doing this, it will likely ask for permission to erase those images from your smartphone. This is a simple way to quickly erase all photos from your iPhone, but those pictures will still be on your computer. It’s in an effort to get rid of duplicate images.

Make sure you’ve backed up everything you want to keep before deleting anything.

How to Delete Photos from Your iPhone

You can delete individual pictures or do a mass delete of photos on your iPhone or iPad.

Let’s first cover how to select particular images. Open the Photos app and navigate to the image you want to erase. Open it to full size, then tap on the screen. A menu will appear at the bottom—just click on the trash can icon, then Delete Photo.

If you want to clear numerous pictures from your library, select Photos or Albums at the bottom of your interface. Next, tap either See All (on the Albums page) or All Photos > Select (on the Photos tab) and highlight however many images you want to get rid of. Click the trash symbol, then Delete X Photos.

Your device should warn you that “Some photos will also be deleted from Photo Stream on all your devices, and from an album.”

Selected the wrong photo? Just tap on it again to remove it from the selection. And should you feel like you’re making a mistake, just press Cancel at the top of your screen.

If you’ve deleted something by mistake, you can recover it, but we’ll come back to that.

How to Delete All Photos From Your iPhone at Once

You might want to bulk delete photos from an iPhone so you can sell it, pass it on to a friend or family member, or simply free up space. So how do you select and delete all your photos?

Use the same method as above; Albums > All Photos > Select.

Tap the most recent photo you want to delete. It’s easiest when it’s the third or fourth image in the latest row. Drag your finger to the left across the row, then upwards to the farthest-left picture on your interface. This will highlight every photo in between.

Your screen will start scrolling. To clear all photos from your device, keep your finger at the top-left of your album as it scrolls upwards until you reach the oldest image you want to remove. After they’re all selected, select the trash icon, then Delete.

This will also include all videos you have saved to your Camera Roll. You can still deselect individual image by tapping on them.

If you have a Mac, it’s even simpler to delete all pictures from your iPhone and any Apple devices connected to iCloud. Open Photos on your Mac, click Edit > Select All (or Cmd + A), then hold Cmd + Delete. This will erase all photos from numerous devices, as long as they’re connected to (not necessarily signed into) iCloud.

How to Permanently Delete or Recover Photos on Your iPhone

Even though you’ve deleted pictures, they may still be on your device! As a safety net in case you mistakenly erase something, the Photos app has its own Recently Deleted folder. Just scroll down on the Albums menu to find it.

You can recover individual pictures or delete them permanently by tapping on each image. The options—Delete and Recover—will appear at the bottom.

Alternatively, you can select and recover or delete multiple photos in the Recently Deleted album using the same method described above for deleting them all. That is, you choose Select then drag your finger from the bottom-right image and scroll upwards to the top-left.

If you’re looking for an image that’s not in Recently Deleted, there are other ways you can recover iPhone and iPad photos. Note that any images in your Recently Deleted folder are permanently erased 29 days after their initial deletion.

How to Delete a Photo Album on Your iPhone

What if you have an album that’s defunct? Or one that’s now empty because you’ve deleted all the pictures? Don’t worry: you can get rid of a whole album.

Choose See All > Edit on the Albums tab. Red circles will appear by each album. Tap the ones you want to erase, then confirm by tapping Delete Album. This won’t delete all your pictures: they’ll still exist in your iCloud Photo Stream, other cloud services, or your Recents album.

You might not want to get rid of the whole album. So how do you delete individual photos from an album?

Anything you delete from your main Camera Roll will also vanish from albums. However, if you just want to remove certain images, choose Select, tap the images you want to get rid of, then hit the trash icon. Finally, tap Remove from Album.

Delete Photos on iPhone

Delete Photos, Then Organize What’s Left

Now you know how to delete one or many photos on your iPhone or iPad. Run through these steps once in a while and you’ll keep your device from getting overwhelmed with old or poor photos.

Once you’ve cleared out the junk, why not organize the photos on your iPhone that remain?

Read the full article: How to Delete Any and All Photos From Your iPhone or iPad


What Does Facebook Know About You? Why You Should Delete Facebook

Facebook has 2.6 billion active monthly users across the world and knows a surprising amount about us—information we willingly volunteer.

It’s not just basic details like name, age, and education: some are very personal and will make you want to check the Facebook privacy policy. Social networks are businesses. So what does this particular business know about you? How can you change your privacy settings on Facebook?

Facebook Knows Basic Information About You

should you delete facebook?

The line between your personal and online lives is immediately blurred. You surrender basic facts on sign up. You submit your name, email address, gender, and birthday. Facebook also needs to know who you’re friends with—otherwise, there’s little point. Through this, you can be linked to your family members and where you studied.

Facebook asks for your sexuality, current relationship status, political and religious views, location, and if you have your own website or blog. Using these, you’re slotted into a demographic.

ABC1 is a key target, encompassing middle-class professionals with disposable finance. Fortunately for Facebook, nearly 75 percent of high-income earners are on the social network.

Snapchat is a huge rival to Facebook, but the latter still has serious sway with the traditional target age bracket, 18-34. Over 40 percent of Generation Z say they struggle with knowing which media to consume, so social media is vital to production companies, book publishers, and podcast services.

This is important because it means Facebook can command higher prices for advertising.

And because you’re tagging friends’ locations in status updates and photos, your ads can be personalised further to include advertisers in your locality. These can be generalized, but can be specific too—like how shops can track visitors using Wi-Fi.

Facebook Knows What You’re Interested In

Nineteen-Eighty-Four George Orwell surveillance

Your profile documents subjects you like, including music, films, and books. Your timeline shows websites and articles you’ve shared. Facebook can tailor advertisements to better suit your “likes”.

In a January 2015 study, intelligent machines assessed the “likes” of over 86,000 Facebook users to predict personalities, with surprisingly accurate results. The investigation examined agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness. Cambridge University’s Dr David Stillwell told The Independent:

“The ability to judge personality is an essential component of social living, from day-to-day decisions to long-term plans such as whom to marry, trust, hire or elect as president… The results of such data analysis can be very useful in aiding people when making decisions.”

Anything you post to your timeline or anyone else’s is also recorded, as are Direct Messages. This data is sold on. Raw information is compiled to find trending topics, and is passed on to third-parties.

At least this data isn’t personally-identifiable. A list of popular TV shows, for instance, will be shared with stations like ABC, CNN, and Fox, but those partners can’t trace them back to individuals.

Facebook Knows What You Look Like

This is particularly creepy. However, what the technology enables you to do is cool.

how does social media facial recognition work

Facebook can suggest tags of you in friends’ photos and vice versa. But far from simply telling what’s a face, and what’s, say, a close-up of a boiled egg, Facebook can distinguish you so well that it can automatically suggest tagging you in other people’s albums.

The facial recognition project, DeepFace, compares two different images and locates the same person in each, regardless of lighting or angle. DeepFace works in a similar way to smartphone’s Face ID, storing your visage as data. It detects distinctive patterns (cheek bones, chin, eyebrows), symmetry, and relative measurements. It then creates an abstract based on a nine-layer neural network, a series of interconnected nodes similar to the synapses of the brain). DeepFace can then recommend tags for similar patterns.

Facebook knows what you look like, with the same level of accuracy as the human mind (around 97 percent).

Fortunately, you can review your tags, and deselect unflattering images.

A Summary of What Facebook Knows About You

If you volunteer this information, i.e. either actively input data or simply share and like topics and articles, Facebook knows:

Your name; email address; gender; date of birth; who you’re related to; who your friends are; which educational institutions you went to; sexual preference; relationship status; religious views; your job; where you live; if you have any political affiliations; the address of your own website or blog; your favorite music; which books you love; TV shows you enjoy; favorite films; your phone number; the contents of messages you post on your own timeline; messages other people post on your timeline; the contents of DMs; which websites you frequently visit; topics you regularly talk about; and what you look like.

This is in addition to any information the company gleans from third-parties, and brands under the Facebook umbrella like Instagram and WhatsApp. We don’t know how Facebook’s acquisition of Giphy will affect users either: more information may be collected, contrary to Facebook’s statement that little will change.

And it doesn’t matter if you don’t have Facebook. Information is collected about non-users and shadow profiles are created.

How to Change Your Privacy Settings on Facebook

Review privacy settings on Facebook social media

It’s easy to become complacent and give away a large part of your identity. Facebook is using your data to sell things. Most companies do.

So what can you do to protect your privacy on Facebook?

Click on the downward arrow to the top-right of your timeline. Then click on Settings & privacy > Settings. Select Privacy on the menu to the left, and toggle individual tabs. You can switch to Your Facebook Information and Timeline and tagging too. Alternatively, go on Settings & privacy > Privacy Checkup and review data on the service.

Concerns have also been expressed over Facebook listening to conversations via smartphones. Facebook has denied that it accesses your mic in this way, but some users remain skeptical. If you think your phone’s listening in for targeted advertising, check your app permissions now.

Should You Delete Facebook?

You’re probably looking for a more permanent solution, and the obvious one is deleting or deactivating your Facebook account. There’s a big difference—the former completely gets rid of your account, while deactivation is a short-term way of distancing yourself from the platform.

But deletion is really about damage limitation. It won’t affect those aforementioned shadow profiles, and some data still exists.

It’s still a sound option, but before you take any of these steps, you should investigate what deactivation and deletion mean for your privacy.

Read the full article: What Does Facebook Know About You? Why You Should Delete Facebook