What are Kids Doing On Facebook, MySpace and Other Social Networking Sites?

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.

The What:

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.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4TuGy8TeKc[/youtube]

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.

teens-and-social-networks.png

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)

The Where:

(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.

The Why:

1) To Connect: Social networks are a great way to make friends with similar interests.

teens-and-social-networking.png2) 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.

social-network-teens-party.png7) 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.

The How:

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:

A Parent Perspective on Facebook and How To Approach Your Kids

For Parents: What To Do About Social Networking

See the previous post in The Internet for Parents Series:

For Parents: Is Your Child Using YouTube?

9 thoughts on “What are Kids Doing On Facebook, MySpace and Other Social Networking Sites?”

  1. Thanks for your thoughtful comments on social networking. I would be happy to have my publisher send you a copy of my book, Me, MySpace, and I: Parenting the Net Generation which covers various issues that parents need to pay attention to and provides basic, down-to-earth psychological explanations followed by straightforward parenting strategies and a model of parenting that will help parents and kids have healthy media experiences.

  2. Do you wanna know what your kids are really doing on the internet?

    Privacy of teenagers is an important value…but absolute trust may be a little dangerous and have dangerous effects on the long run

    There is a program you can use to “spy” on what they do..the program saves everything they do.. it logs all what’s written, captures the

    screen when certain keywords are typed! The program is unnoticable and doesn’t slow your pc , it runs very secretly and doesn’t

    appear in the CTRL-ALT-DEL Task Manager nor the Start menu. Records BOTH SIDES of MSN, Yahoo, AOL Instant Messages..
    Only for a simple payment, with 15 day money back guarantee : here’s the link :
    http://sunbul.finer.hop.clickbank.net

    Again, teenagers privacy is important, but again you can feel releifed if you make sure they are not using it in the (wrong) way, and

    how do they deal with thousands of these malicious pop ups and advertisements, since statistics say 1 out of 4 children were sent
    pictures of people who were naked or having sex.

    What do u think? should u try to make sure or just use common sense?

  3. Do you wanna know what your kids are really doing on the internet?

    Privacy of teenagers is an important value…but absolute trust may be a little dangerous and have dangerous effects on the long run

    There is a program you can use to “spy” on what they do..the program saves everything they do.. it logs all what’s written, captures the

    screen when certain keywords are typed! The program is unnoticable and doesn’t slow your pc , it runs very secretly and doesn’t

    appear in the CTRL-ALT-DEL Task Manager nor the Start menu. Records BOTH SIDES of MSN, Yahoo, AOL Instant Messages..
    Only for a simple payment, with 15 day money back guarantee, here’s the link :
    http://sunbul.finer.hop.clickbank.net

    Again, teenagers privacy is important, but again you can feel releifed if you make sure they are not using it in the (wrong) way, and

    how do they deal with thousands of these malicious pop ups and advertisements, since statistics say 1 out of 4 children were sent
    pictures of people who were naked or having sex.

    What do u think? should u try to make sure or just use common sense?

  4. Hi – I have spent much time thinking about this topic and debating whether I should afford my daughter a myspace account. Then, just 2 weeks ago I found what I was looking for…. There is a site out there called iklickz.com. It is a myspace for kids but with awesome safeguards. 1.) Only friends can view her account, 2) I get an email everytime someone requests her friendship 3) I get an email every time someone posts to her page 4.) Videos, pics and music posted are reviewed by iklickz before they are posted on the site. I can’t say enough good things about this site..

  5. Kids today are getting smarter. No matter how a parent wants to stop their kids from accessing social networking sites such as facebook, they will ultimately get to it through many means such as friends or word of mouth,etc. Rather i think it’s important to educated them instead.

    Overall great informative post!

  6. thanks a bunch! Kids are getting smarter..there is so much information out there to learn!

    V

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