Parents, Make Sure Your Kids Don't Grow Up To...misuse Social Networking Sites
Although they are not new to the internet, social networking sites have experienced an explosion of popularity in the last several years. As can be expected, teenagers are all over these websites - and if they're 13 years or older, they don't need parental permission to use them.
Some sites are skewed towards younger audiences. Although they adhere, by necessity, to the standards established by the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), you should still be careful if your kids want to use these forms of social media, and teach your kids to exercise the same levels of caution.
All social networking sites have privacy settings that allow users to control who can and can't see their information. As a parent, you need to ensure that these setting are put in place, so that facts like your kid's full name, address, phone number or Social Security number are not spread all over the web. You should also make sure they aren't posting anything - text, photos, videos - that could hurt their reputation if a teacher or sports coach were to find it.
With regard to cyber-bullying, tell your kids that they should think before posting something online about someone that could be hurtful. Make certain that they understand the full weight of such behavior, even if, for example, that individual hurt them and your child is under the impression that he's only retaliating. Bullying hurts everyone who experiences it, and they must know that.
Monitor your child's online use to keep them away from sexual predators. Talk to them and be sure they aren't doing something that may attract the attention of these criminals.
Are you worried about the effect social media websites might have for a children of a young age?