Your child disappears in their bedroom for hours…You know they’re on the computer…Do you wonder what they’re doing online?
I know it may seem amazing but Facebook isn’t the only social networking site. There has been a proliferation of social networking sites in recent months. There are actually upwards of 100 social networking sites and the list is growing. ScreenRetriever’s Online Safety and Behavior Center provides a list of social networking sites that you can reference and become familiar with – perhaps ask your child which ones they are familiar with or have used.
Facebook takes the lead with teens 13-17 (29M) according to Quantcast. Togetherville.com may be the most recent addition. Many tweens – 34% – have profiles on social networking sites, even though most have an age restriction of 13. (Cox Communications study 7/ 2008) Young kids 3-12 are also on social networking sites, with 2 million on My Space and 5 million on Facebook.(Quantcast). In addition, many kids have more than one Facebook profile – one they share with their parents and one for their friends.
Children, tweens and teens often lack judgment about what is appropriate to post on social networking sites and what’s not. Parents need to supervise their kids social networking activity because anything they do post is in the cyber-world forever, including pictures. Rather than closing the barn door once the horse has already bolted, it’s much better for kids not to post something inappropriate in the first place. Parents need to supervise, and teach children about how to use the internet safely, responsibly and appropriately before the damage is done to their children’s reputations.