Facebook Monitoring and Teens: Tips for Parents for Online Safety and Social Networking

Summer is here.  Years ago it would mean more time playing outside with your friends – today it can mean more time surfing – online that is.

More children and teens than ever have engaged in social networking and although MySpace has faded, Facebook is booming and won’t be going away anytime soon – if at all.

As a parent, you have to take steps to insure your child’s safety online.

The more you know, the safer they will be.

Facebook is the hub of social activity for many teenagers.Unfortunately, just like any teen ‘hangout’ it can be a source of danger and negative influence, if not monitored. Kids want their privacy and don’t always tell their parents when they experience negative things online.

Cyberbullying through facebook has become an ongoing problem with teens. Your teen could be on the receiving or giving end of this issue without you being aware. Inappropriate content sharing, viruses and sexual predators are other issues parents need to watch for on their kid’s facebook pages. So how can you monitor what is happening on their pages without standing over their shoulder when they are online or on their cell?

Five tips every parent should consider:

  1. Befriend their friends – This is not very subtle and may not even work, but give it a try. Send friend requests to their closest friends. If you’re friends with their friends on facebook, you’ll see the conversations they have with each other.
  2. Grandma – If their grandmothers are on facebook, have them send friend requests to their grandchildren. Kids easily say no to their parents, but grandparents generally are not seen as the enemy that parents are. If Grandma cares as much about your kids as you do, she’ll keep an eye out for suspicious behavior for you.
  3. Youth Pastor – Youth pastors love to use facebook to keep in contact with the kids in their group. Make sure your kids are facebook friends with their youth pastor or youth leaders. If you have any special concerns, share them with the youth pastor so that he can keep his eyes peeled for you.
  4. Be facebook friends – Why shouldn’t you be facebook friends with your kids? Some parents have simply made this a requirement in order for their kids to create a page in the first place. Of course, facebook friends still only see what is posted on the wall and not the private messaging that goes on. Kids know this and will use the private messaging to avoid public exposure.
  5. Password Holding This may not seem very ‘clever’ but it certainly is a wise solution for parents. Simply require that you know the passwords used for their social networking accounts so that you can log into them at any time and then do so at least once a week. While you are logged onto their page, be sure and check their ‘archived messages’. They may not even realize that this option is there. You will be able to read any conversations they have had with their friends, even if they were done through the instant messaging feature.

The teenage years are critical and difficult times. In spite of their protests to the contrary, your kids still need your protection and your direction.

To ignore their Facebook activity is to ignore your responsibility as a parent.

Source:  Internet Service Guy

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