Your Child’s Privacy And Social Networking
What’s a parent to do about the social networking scene. Kids today seem to do a lot of their “hanging out” online. Which is why there has been an explosion of social networking sites. Parents must set parameters.
Many parents are not aware of the fact that sites have a 13/14 year age minimum. Sites are doing what they can to safeguard younger children. They also have an automatic privacy setting for people under 16. The problem is children are getting on and lying about their age. Parents that allow their under 13 year old to have a Facebook or MySpace account are encouraging dishonesty. This can be a very dangerous and slippery slope.
If your child is over the age limit that does not mean they must have an account. These accounts need to be handled responsibly and can only be trusted to teens who can handle the responsibility.
Parents need to know passwords and privacy controls need to be set so only friends can see their page. Teens need to understand they are not permitted to share personal information such as phone numbers, address, email addresses or any other information that a stranger could use to contact a child for a one on one. Only people they know should be the people who are allowed to be their “friends” on their pages. It also can be dangerous when kids treat it like a contest to see who has the most “friends” and will allow anyone to be their friend on these sites.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of safe guards, but it is a starting point. First and foremost keep an open dialog with your teen about their page or even get a Facebook or MySpace page yourself so you can keep track of what’s really going on.
Tomorrow we will discuss social networking and reputations.
Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.