Part 2 of our Internet safety-- We hope these tips will help make your kids safer and allow you to be aware of what problems may arise. Today we will focus on Social Networking and Texting.
Websites allow kids to connect with their friends and other users with similar interest. Kids socialize and express themselves by exchanging instant message, emails, or comments and posting photographs, creative writing, artwork, videos, and music to their blogs and personal profiles.
Some 55% of online teens have profiles on a social-networking website such as Facebook or MySpace. A survey of 10-17 year olds revealed 34% had posted their real names, telephone numbers, home addresses, or the name of their schools online where anyone could see: 45% had posted their dates of birth or ages; and 18% had posted picture of themselves.
**Tips to Minimize Potential Risks
-Urge kids to use privacy setting to restrict access to profiles so only those on their contact list are able to view them.
-Remind kids to only add people they know in person to their contact lists.
-Encourage them to choose appropriate screen names or nicknames--Such as those that refer to sports and interests, but are not sexual, offensive or violent.
-Visit social network websites with your kids and exchange ideas about what you think is safe and unsafe
-Ask your kids about the people they are communicating with online.
-Insist you kids never give out personal information and never meet any one in person that they have met online without checking with you first.
-Encourage your kids to think before typing, "Is this a hurtful or rude?" also urge your kids not to respond to any rude or harassing message or ones that make them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused.
Many parents and guardians look at cellular telephones as a necessity for their kids. It is reassuring to know they may reach you or call for help. Texting can be used for sending messages, images or videos. Kids are increasingly using cellular telephones to take sexually explicit photographs of themselves and send them to their friends. In some instances children have been prosecuted for production or child pornography for taking these pictures. Kids also have been taking embarrassing or revealing photographs or others and post them to internet, leaving victims few options to defend or protect themselves from this form of Bullying.
**Tips to minimize Potential Risk
-Create Rules about the appropriate use of cellular telephones/wireless devices and set limits, including who your kids may communicate with and when they may use their cellular telephones.
-Review cellphone records for any unknown numbers and late night telephone calls
-Teach kids to never post their cellular telephone number anywhere online.
-Think about removing the internet features from your kid's cellular telephone/wireless device through your service provider and put controls or limits on texting
-Talk to your kids about the possible implications of sending sexually explicit or provocative images of themselves or others.