There are numerous sources on-line for parents who want to help their children to make the correct decisions while participating in social networks. A couple are:
The FTC’s OnGuardOnLine site covers what you need to know, where to go for more information, and issues to raise with kids about living their lives online. They cover talking with kids to protecting kids privacy.
From the FTC’s ‘Net Cetera’ guide:
Online methods of socializing and communicating can be fulfilling, and yet, they come with certain risks:
The online world can feel anonymous. Kids sometimes forget that they are still accountable for their actions.
Some people online have bad intentions, including bullies, predators, hackers, and scammers.
You may be concerned that your kids could find pornography, violence, or hate speech online. You can reduce these risks by talking to your kids about how they communicate—online and off— and encouraging them to engage in conduct they can be proud of.
Advice for Parents of Kids at Different Ages
When very young children start using a computer, they should be supervised closely by a parent or caregiver. Parents may wish to choose the websites their kids visit early on—and not let them leave those sites on their own. If little kids aren’t supervised online, they may stumble onto sites that could scare or confuse them.
During the tween years—ages 8 to 12—children start exploring more on their own, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want—or need—to be close at hand. It’s important to be with them—or at least nearby—when they’re online. For this age group, consider keeping the computer in an area where the child has access to you or another adult. That way, they can be “independent,” but not alone.
Young tweens are likely to reflect the values of their parents. By the time they age into their teen years, they’re forming their own values and beginning to take on the values of their peers. At the same time, older teens are maturing physically, emotionally, and intellectually, and many are eager to experience more independence from their parents. Teens have more internet access through cell phones, mobile devices, or friends’ computers, as well as more time to themselves. So it isn’t realistic to try to always be in the same room as your teens when they’re online. They need to know that you and other family members can walk in and out of the room any time, and can ask them about what they’re doing online.
Another great source is Marlaine Cover’s Blog ‘Life Skills Report Card‘. She covers Personal Care, Organizational Skills, Respect for Self and Others, Communication, and Social Skills. Her ‘Web-site.‘
Only you, the parent, can create a Family Culture of Security. Please start today.