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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Guest Post - How to Protect your Kids from Social Networking Sites

Today I have a guest blogger talking about social networking and what parents can do to keep their kids safe.

Social networking has taken over the world and has redefined the way that we interact with the people around the world. It has made it possible to keep in touch with a large number of people at the same time. Social networks have also proved to be a favorite past-time for children who use these websites to play games, answer fun quizzes, and interact with their friends and relatives. However, there is a dark side to social network websites. There are many hoaxes targeted to exploit the naïve mind of the young children. This has considerably increased the job of the parents in terms of supervision of their children. While it is easy to keep an eye on what the children are doing physically, it can prove to be extremely challenging to monitor the online activities of children without being overbearing.

You do not need to take harsh measures like restricting your children to use social networking websites altogether. You can follow the guidelines below to handle this concern in a positive and effective manner.

Discuss privacy with your children

The first and foremost thing that you have to do is to educate your children regarding online privacy. It is a fundamental issue and should be given same importance, like the topics of drugs and sex. You have to be frank with them and tell them about the problems that could arise if they share personal information with unreliable parties.

Try to be involved

There is a significant generation gap when it comes to technology. The younger generation seems to have an inborn affinity to latest technology. They are quick to adopt the latest trend and work hard to stay up to date. However, this can also lead them to adopt unhealthy habits like sharing private information online. The social networking websites have somehow instilled a penchant of narcissism in us. We like to share every detail about us – be it what we are eating, where we are going, what we are doing, which song we are listening to etc. This behavior can be dangerous if your child is not taking care about what information he/she is sharing and to whom this information is visible. You can guide your child by being genuinely interested in their online life. Once you appreciate what they are doing, they are more likely to be more open to you about their activities. However, if you try to control them by strictly monitoring their activities, you are more likely to do more harm than good, because your child would become more secretive in order to avoid trouble.

‘Friend’ your child

This is the best way to be ‘with’ your child on a social network website. Furthermore, it will also instill consciousness in them as they will be aware that all the information that they share will be visible to you. Social network sites may pose some challenges when it comes to protecting your child but if you can take the right steps, you can easily handle it.

Mike is a regular blogger with a strong interst in child development and education. Mike has 2 children, who love the internet, facebook and other social networking sites. Aside from blogging, Mike enjoys playing with his children with their furby toys.


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