Cyber Safe Futures - Social Networking
Connecting through the World Wide Web
Youth are increasingly using technology as a means to connect with their peers. Texting, tweeting and posting to sites has become part of daily life. When used properly, social networking can be a fun and interactive way to communicate and share information; however, it’s important to teach youth the safe way to navigate social media sites and how to appropriately post, interpret and react to what’s online. Learn the best way to start a positive dialog with your children to encourage them to have fun and stay safe using social media.
Tips for Parents on Social Networking
- Learn about social networking and establish a social networking profile. If you are comfortable with social networking, it will be easier to talk with your child about it. Also, if you have a profile, you can “friend” your child and watch what she does online.
- Check your child’s online profiles. “Friend” him and then regularly check to see what he’s posting. If you see something that makes you uncomfortable, talk with him about it.
- Make sure your child’s profile is age appropriate. The most popular social networking site, Facebook, has a minimum age of 13 to use their service, and youth between the ages of 13 to 17 have privacy restrictions built into their profiles. Make sure your child has the correct age listed on her profile.
- Talk with your child about privacy settings and make sure his profile is set to “Private.” A public profile can be seen by anyone who’s on the social networking service. A profile should be set to “Private” so that only friends can see it.
- Talk with your child about who they “friend” online. Online friends should be only those they know personally in the offline world.
Not sure where to start? We've developed this set of discussion cards to help you kick things off.
Resources for Parents on Social Networking