A Parent's Guide to Social Networking by terrypete

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									 A Parent’s Guide To Social Networking
    (NAPS)—“It’s 10 p.m. Do you
know where your children are?”
Remember that phrase from your
own childhood? It’s still a valid
questions, but now, it comes with
a twist: “Do you know where your
kids are—and who they’re talking
to online?”
    Social networking sites are the
hippest “meet market” around,
especially among tweens, teens,
and 20-somethings. These sites
allow and encourage people to
exchange information about them-        Monitor your children’s use of
selves in profiles and journals, and    social networking sites to be
use message boards, chat rooms,         sure they’re not sharing personal
e-mail and instant messaging to         information.
communicate with the world at
large. Unfortunately, while social      comfortable with everyone seeing
networking sites can increase a         and knowing. The Internet is the
person’s circle of friends, they also   world’s biggest billboard: Just
can increase exposure to people         about anyone could see their page,
who have less than friendly inten-      including their teachers, the
tions. The Federal Trade Commis-        police, a college admissions officer,
sion, the nation’s consumer protec-     or a potential employer. In addi-
tion agency, offers tips for helping    tion, once information is online,
your kids use these sites safely:       it’s there forever.
    • Keep the computer in an               • Warn your kids about the
open area, like the kitchen or fam-     dangers of flirting with strangers
ily room, where you can keep an         online. Because some people lie
eye on where your kids are going        online about who they really are,
online and what they’re doing.          no one ever really knows who
    • Use the Internet with your        they’re dealing with. Tell your chil-
kids. Be open to learning about         dren to trust their gut: If they feel
the technology so you can keep up       threatened or uncomfortable by
with them. Look into their              someone or something online, they
favorite sites so you can set sensi-    need to tell you and then report it
ble guidelines.                         to the police and your Internet
    • Talk to your kids about their     service provider. You could end up
online habits. If they use social       preventing someone else from
networking sites, tell them why         becoming a victim.
it’s important to keep their name,          • If you’re concerned that your
Social Security number, address,        child is engaging in risky online
phone number, age and family            behavior, you can search the blog
financial information to them-          sites they visit to see what informa-
selves. Your children should be         tion they’re posting. Try searching
cautious about sharing other iden-      by their name, nickname, school,
tifying information, too.               hobbies, or area where you live.
    • Your kids should post only            Visit www.OnGuardOnline.gov
information that you and they are       to learn more.




                  Web Watch
   Social networking sites are the hippest “meet
market” around, especially among tweens, teens,
and 20-somethings. Social networking sites allow
and encourage people to exchange information
about themselves. Unfortunately, while social
networking sites can increase a person’s circle of
friends, they also can increase exposure to people
who have less than friendly intentions. Visit
www.OnGuardOnline.gov to learn more.

								
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