In Cyber Safety, The Digital World

Tips on Social Networking for a Safe and Enjoyable Online Experience

Social networking today has become a very important part of our culture. Online relationships often start as young as 8 years old and extend well into adulthood. Most kids today are well familiar with social media terms such as posts, updates, instant messages, tweets, video uploads, texts and many others. At the same time, many of our kids can benefit from learning certain tips on social networking that can improve their social media experience. Like any other online tool, networking via social media can have either positive or negative effects on your kids’ lives, depending on how it’s used. As parents, your input in this area can make a big difference in how your teen develops (or doesn’t develop) his social media skills. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr are but a few of the many social sites open to young people today. The following is a compilation of some of the most important tips on social networking offered by these sites and others to help young people successfully navigate the social media field. 

Safety Tips on Social Networking

Most social networks come with privacy and/or security settings to protect your communications. By learning how to manage these, teens can control who has access to the information on their account and protect themselves from undesirable input. By ensuring network privacy, these settings contribute to a safer, more positive social media experience.

Your teens should be cautious as to what personal data they provide on their social network sites, especially when it comes to home or work location. In the wrong hands, this information can be used to commit crimes against them by cyber-bullies, stalkers or identity thieves.

Teens should tune into communications to and about them from friends and acquaintances to ensure the privacy of their personal information.

In the event of harassment or threats, make sure your teens know how to respond. Most sites provide them with the means to block or delete offensive people. Harassment and threats should also be reported to website administrators for further action.

Tips on Social Networking for Teens

Social networking is a great way for teens to keep in touch with friends far and wide. As their friendships may be on different levels, they should be careful what information is shared on each of their sites. Most social sites provide tools for managing posts and personal data. This allows teens to be more intimate with closer friends without alienating others.

Respecting one another’s differences is an important part of friendship – this courtesy should extend to networking on social media. It’s important that teens speak up when friends post inappropriate comments to or about them. In similar manner, they should be open to friends pointing out comments they’ve made which their friends don’t like.

Teens should be leery of peer pressure when communicating on social sites. It’s important they not let others convince them of making comments or posting material they’re not in agreement with or comfortable about.

Negative or abusive comments concerning people’s nationality, race, religion or groups of society can have negative repercussions in the future. Teens should be extremely careful not to aggravate individuals unnecessarily as this could very easily provoke cyber-bullying attacks in retaliation.

Even young teens should be on guard to protect their online reputation. Once posts are made on social sites, they pretty much remain there for all to see. Teens should be very careful what photos, videos or even comments they make online.

Tips on Social Networking for Parents

Some social sites like Facebook require that teens be at least 13 years of age to open an account. By supervising your kids’ online activity, you can ensure they are adhering to this specification.

Younger teens often need supervision and guidance upon entering the world of social networking. As a parent, it’s important you have easy access to the sites your teen is visiting and double check what he’s posting to ensure it’s appropriate.

Establish guidelines for appropriate and inappropriate posts to include photos, videos and messages. Remind your teens that all posts are permanent and may be visible to others besides their friends, such as future employers, college admission personnel, etc.

Posts on such topics as drugs, sex and alcohol can be cut and pasted to alter their meaning, which could cause serious consequences for a young teen later on.

In addition to content, make an effort to monitor your young teen’s time on social sites so she doesn’t develop an imbalance in this area. Social networking can be quite addictive. Help your teen establish a balanced social networking habit from the start.

By learning more about how social media operates, you can glean valuable information and tips on social networking that can prevent your kids from making costly mistakes. Parental guidance can help keep social networking safe with our tips on social networking and make the experience enjoyable so young people can get the most from this online experience.

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