There is an increasing number of social networking sites that will let teenagers freely express themselves. Through these web sites, they can keep in touch with friends and school mates by providing description of their personal profiles before posting them.
They can also share interests, exchange messages and photos or comments, talk about blogs or online journals as well as videos, and music. Sharing online profiles and instant messaging are favorite and known ways of socializing through these networking sites.
There are advantages of using these social networking sites because young people can easily connect with friends and they can make more friends that have the same interests and hobbies like them. If your teens had joined in these kinds of sites then they also need to learn how to post the safe way by not disclosing personal information on their profiles.
They should be cautious of people whom they just met online. As a parent, you can use some of the tips below in order to protect your teens when using these social networking sites.
Sign-up for an account in a social networking site that your teen has joined into so that you can experience what kind of service that the web site is providing. In this way, it's easier for you to talk things with your teenager because you know about it. You may even let your teen know that you have an account there but avoid asking too many questions since he or she may doubt that you're too nosy and could be spying on him or her.
Calmly talk to your teenager that posting information about someone's friends could place them at potential risk. If they know about this then they could also give advise to their friends and talk about it. Give an example of people who experienced real danger because they had posted their present and future plans including certain activities online via these social networking sites.
There are some people who'll post fake profiles online to victimize innocent individuals that's why you need to talk to your teen why meeting anyone in person whom he or she had met only through a social networking site could give a possible danger. It's advisable for your kids to add people as friends to their social networking site if they know them well in person.
Advise your teenagers when they'll start talking about social networking sites or online stuff not to post their personal information, like real names, cell phone numbers, home address, or the name of school where they're currently attending.
Tell your young son or daughter never to give out his or her password to anyone. Inform your teen that many people had their identity stolen because of disclosing their passwords to someone whom they think they could trust.
Explain to your teen that any identifying information that he or she may give out in forums or blogs could place him or her at risk for potential danger. There are people who just want to abuse and harm anybody and may use the information that has been posted online.
At first, this information may be used in order to gain a person's trust as well as for identification purposes. By posting your personal information, anyone can pretend that he or she knows you.
Offer some valuable information to your teenagers why they should not respond if ever they receive rude and offensive comments posted on their profile. It's better to delete any unwanted messages coming from mentally-disturbed people who continuously exhibit unkind behavior or words.
If this happens, these inappropriate comments should be reported to the networking site for violating their policy and terms of service. If your son or daughter feels threatened by someone then you need to report this matter to the police.
Talk to your teenagers about posting photos in social networking sites. There are times that pictures could reveal some personal information like for example, if they post a picture where their standing near the family's car and the license plate was also visible or if their school' s name was included as well as the location.
You should inform your teens to check the background of their photos to make sure that they're not providing any identifying information. They should not also post sexually stimulating and very seductive photos of themselves including pictures of their friends.
Tips & Warnings
Befriend your teens. They love it when their parents show support for the things that they do. In this way, you'll encourage them to have an open communication with you.
Posting anything online could be easily seen by anyone. People whom you know could go online and find out things about you through the profile that you had posted. Advise your teenagers to be cautious of what they're posting through the world wide web especially if they have no proof since there's a possibility that they'll have difficulty in applying for a job in the future, might be denied entry into schools, could lose their scholarships and even present employment due to those unnecessary entries.
When texts, written articles, video images or other web activities will be posted online, they become public information. Some of these web sites may be stored, buried or "cached" by search engines, and there is a possibility that those things that you had posted online can be retrieved even if the site that contain them has been long deleted or discontinued.
Advise your teens to read the privacy settings of the social networking sites that they're participating. You need to remind them to turn on their privacy setting so that they can only allow people whom they want to add as friends. In this way, these people are the only ones who can view their profile based upon their approval.
Teenagers could be easily lured to anyone who possesses or distributes videos or pictures containing immoral, indecent and offensive scenes of individuals eighteen and below. Doing illegal activities online like child pornography is one of the big problems in our world today.
Troubled or misguided teens may easily trust anyone whom they just met recently, whether online or offline and give their personal information, photos or videos. This could place them in real danger so you need to talk to them and give parental advise before it's too late.
Teenagers are receiving misleading links to unscrupulous sites that contain pornographic videos or materials that can give a computer virus or make them sex addicts.