This is from my series about Teens Online: Workshop Presentation where I give parents and kids a really basic explanation of teens and the Internet from a younger perspective. One of the major complaints about Frontline’s: Growing Up Online is it only covered the surface of what we, net-geners, are doing online. There are very few comprehensive explanations, nor are there many good or accurate explanations on how parents can monitor their kids, how parents can benefit from the web and the real why’s.
Social networking is a phenomena defined by linking people to each other in some way. It is usually the grouping of individuals into specific groups based on a common interest such as hobbies, religion, geographic location, school or politics. Once you create an account with a social networking website you can begin to socialize.
This is a great and simple video about the benefits and details of social networks.
Terms for Parents:
Homepage: Is the main page of your account, usually you can see the activity of your friends or interests for your community.
Profile Page: Where you put up information about yourself.
Friending: You can ‘friend’ other people in your community and get access to see their profiles and send them messages.
Wall or Bulleting Board: You can post on other people’s profile with private messages, the place you post your comments to them is usually called a wall.
Application: Facebook has applications you can add to your profile that can allow you to do special actions like send someone a hug, try on the Harry Potter sorting hat to find out your ‘house’ etc.
News Feed: A place on your profile where you get instant updates about what your friends are doing online, in their lives or on the site. (*see excerpt from my News Feed)
(Just to name a few your kids might use, that you might want to check out)
MySpace, FriendWise, FriendFinder, Yahoo! 360, Facebook, Orkut, and Classmates, Webkinz, StumbleUpon, Digg, Bebo, Twitter.
1) To Connect: Social networks are a great way to make friends with similar interests.
2) To be Social: Facebook has a ‘news feed’ where you can get instant updates on what all of your friends are doing…talk about being a Queen Bee!
3) Social Planning: It is incredibly easy to plan parties and events on these sites, and many people will plan, invite, and even send thank you notes all on these sites.
4) To Stay Plugged-In: This is also a way teens can keep up on the updates for their interests. If you join a group on Facebook about environmental issues, you can get short updates every day on any news from across the web that your friends’ post.
*image: excerpts from my Facebook wall
5) To Share: You can tell other’s about your recent news, share pictures videos and accomplishments in your own life.
6) Expression: It is a way to broadcast feelings, emotion, points of views or opinions. Many teens use MySpace and social networking sites to journal or just to rant and get their feelings out the same way someone might write in a diary or talk to a friend.
7) Entertainment: I spend so much time on my social networking sites…it’s a little bit sick. Its fun to watch your friend’s videos or pictures…it sort of feels like snooping, but they are letting you!
8) For Business: I find a lot of new users on Facebook and talk about my speaking events through my groups! If you are reading this, and have a Facebook account or stumble account, be sure to friend me!
Vanessa Van Petten (Facebook) and Vvanpetten (stumbleupon)
*Image: Updates from my events page, which shows my upcoming events as well as my friends upcoming events.
Splitting up the post because it is too long, I will be posting about how parents can handle social networking with their teens and kids in the next few days:
For Parents: What To Do About Social Networking
See the previous post in The Internet for Parents Series: