Social Networking

With 93% of teenagers using the internet, parents have to see kids don’t abuse it or are abused through it. Here’s a brief look at an integral part of many youngster’s usage of the internet:

What is it?
Social Networking websites use applications to connect friends with tools like blogs, profiles, internal email systems and photos. Well known sites include Myspace and Facebook. With text, images and video a user makes information about himself available to others.

What are the risks?
Risks arise when young people give personal details such as cell numbers and pictures of themselves to strangers. Paedophiles use the internet to talk with, meet and abuse a child.

What can I do?
Kids must not upload pictures of themselves, or pictures which identify their school as this can help someone find them.
Tell kids not to post their phone number or email address on their homepage.
Adjust account settings so that only approved friends can instant message them.
Be open for communication. The need kids have for social networking points to a lack of communication within the family.
They must not to give too much away in a blog. Friends can call for details rather than read it on their site.
Ask them to show you how to use a social networking site: getting involved will let them share the experience with you.
Create a MySpace or Facebook profile and insist your child be included on your ‘friend list’ so you can check in to see if things may not be right.

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