How to Handle Social Networking With Your Kids

This is from my series about Kids 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 really doing online and what parents can do about it.

social-network.jpg Fellow blogger, Katy and I, have teamed up to write a few posts just about Social Networking–it is such a huge issue, check out previous posts on this topic from the series, before you start this article:

For Parents: What is Social Networking, Facebook and MySpace?

A Parent’s Perspective on Social Networking [Guest Post]

We use the Internet for everything! My girlfriends and I track our periods online, we plan birthday parties, we talk about boys and most of all, we maintain our social lives. Social networking sites play a huge roll in teen and adolescents lives today . Therefore it is so important for parents to not only be informed about social networks, but also on how to talk to kids about staying safe while using them.Speaking for the teens, here are our recommendations for parents who want to know what we are doing and how to be an informed guide:

1) Ask Lots of Questions

Your kids probably know a lot more about social networking than you do, so ask them straight out what they do online, if their friends have profiles and if they think it is a dangerous hobby. Instead of snooping or challenging Facebook or Webkinz, show interest! Ask them to help you set-up a profile on MySpace so you can find your old High School friends or new music (even if you just really want to see their profile) and ask them why they love using these sites. For teens that will not tell you anything, asking them for their help can make them feel knowledgeable and empowered and you get to see these sites through their eyes.

2) Don’t Lecture, Have a Discussion

We always think we know everything about everything, so when you lecture us, we usually tune out. Instead of starting the social networking/Facebook profile conversation with your kid with your thoughts, ask them for theirs first. Have a back and forth discussion about what their friends are doing online and if you would do the same. A conversation is also much more informal and will help us open up to you about what we are really doing.

3) Respect their Privacy

Please do not try to hack into your child’s profiles or accounts ! If they were to catch you…

read the rest on Katy’s blog: Adventures in Parenting here.

Stay Informed!

Vanessa

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