Facebook, Social Networking and Your Kids

Jun
2012
07

posted by on Cyber Safety, Cybersafety, Internet Safety, Parenting, Social media, Social Networking, Yoursphere

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What kids do online have real world consequences – do they realize that?

The answer is probably not surprising to many parents.  Most kids and teenagers do not think of the consequences when they post what  they believe are silly comments or funny photos today.

Everyday a parent somewhere is faced with a question from their child – “Can I join Facebook?”

Facebook was originally created for college students in 2004. Ever since then the once small private website has grown to over 800 million uses. Not only is it for college students, but for parents, companies and children. According to Pcworld.com, 7.5 million Facebook users are under 13, and two-thirds of those kids are under 10.  It’s becoming a huge debate among children and parent; to join Facebook or not to join is the question. [See options for younger kids at the end of the article].

The current legal Facebook user age is 13 years old. Any child younger is discouraged to log on, but of course there are plenty ways around that. It is really simple for a child under the age of 13 to get on to Facebook. All you need is a name, email address and a fake birth date.

Before you let your kid log on there are a few things to consider before allowing your child on Facebook:

Facebook is relatively safe. You have many options on the level of privacy and protection you want to set on your page. But keep in mind that your child is always susceptible to online predators if they are online. Whether it is Facebook or online gaming, predators are lurking everywhere. The ‘checking in’ feature can be dangerous in the sense anyone can know where your child is once he or she check in, whether that is at school or at a movie theatre.

Not only is it dangerous it can be a huge distraction. According to heathland.time.com, “Research has found that students in middle school, high school and college who checked Facebook at least once during a 15-minute study period got lower grades.” Facebook is just one more distraction for your child.

There are over millions of Facebook users and just like surfing the web there are things you may not want your child to see. You may be in some control of what people can see your child do, but you can’t control what your child may see or read from another user.

Probably the most news making problem with kids on Facebook is the amount of cyberbullying that is occurring. There are dozens of news stories, books, news articles and movies based on this growing epidemic. Cyberbullies are other kids that harass and bully children using technology like Facebook, Twitter, texting and blogs. Cyberbullies are able to hide behind their computer without thinking about the consequences their rumors, teasing and mean words are doing. Cyberbullying is serious; studies show that 42% of kids have been bullied while online. 1 in 4 have had it happen more than once. (For more statistics information visit http://www.isafe.org/.)

When Facebook is used appropriately it can be a great way for your child to keep in contact with friends and family members. If you choose to allow them to log on, it’s suggested to closely monitor your child’s Facebook by logging on for them, keeping the password safe until you feel they are able to handle it.  Monitoring their page and having access to their page will help with possible dangers. Remember to set your child’s page to private and be sure that comments and photos are on the settings you want.

Source:  Internet Service Providers

Now when you are faced with that question, “Can I join Facebook?” from your child – you can offer a safe, fun and exciting option!

Yourpshere.com is one of the fasting growing social networking sites for kids.  The benefits are endless, their priorities are the safety of your child and their information.  The founder, Mary Kay Hoal, a mother of five children, created Yoursphere.com as well as Yoursphere for Parents which is full of educational materials and information to keep you up-to-date on today’s gadgets and how to keep up with the ever changing privacy settings of the Internet.

Watch the video on the as an introduction to Yoursphere!

Join me on Facebook  and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.

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