Assuming you haven’t been living on a deserted island, you already know that Facebook is the most popular social networking website on the planet. In fact, it gets more popular every day. But the way you use Facebook is not the way your teen uses Facebook. For this generation, Facebook has replaced face to face communication, talking on the telephone and even e-mail.
According to a June 2009 Neilsen report, “How Teens Use Media”, almost 50% of teens have a Facebook account and by comparison to adults, they are described as “prolific” users. But alas, technology moves as quickly as our children.
Facebook has announced that they’ve hit a new milestone – 65 million people now access Facebook via their mobile phone. Just eight months ago that number stood at “only” 20 million people. Facebook’s web site m.facebook.com works on any mobile browser and x.facebook.com is designed specifically for touch screen phones. Since 37% of teens have access to the web via their mobile phone, your “prolific” user may actually be using Facebook more than you think.
Social Networking Safety Tips for Mobile Kids:
- Talk to your teen about how they use social networking sites. Having an open dialogue creates a more comfortable environment to talk about this part of your child’s life. If you’re not comfortable, your child won’t be comfortable talking to you about this aspect of their life.
- Place limits on when and where your child can use their mobile phone. When we were children, we all used the telephone wired to the wall in the kitchen… and we survived. In fact, this probably kept a few of us from getting ourselves into an awful lot of trouble when we were younger. Kids should be expected to use their mobile phone in public areas of the house – just like their Internet connected computers .
- Clearly communicate your expectations.
Create an appropriate username Set the privacy settings for the account so that only approved “Friends” can access their profile Do not accept “Friend” requests from strangers Do not post personal info online such as their real name, their age, address, school name or phone number Do not post, send or forward explicit pictures of themselves or others Do not talk about drugs, sex or other inappropriate topics for children (yes, teens are still children) Treat others online the way they would like to be treated offline – the Golden Rule Tell a parent if something happens that makes them uncomfortable
Following these common sense tips will help teach your child that using social networking sites like Facebook comes with some responsibilities. Francis Duncan recently post “Social Networking Survey Results” on Safety Clicks. Francis shares some staggering information about what teens say they’re doing on social networking sites like Facebook. I strongly recommend that you check it out. You won’t believe some of the things kids are doing on these sites.
For more information on protecting your child online and on their mobile phone and to learn about exciting new parenting tools to be released in the coming months, visit www.kidsafe.me – smart tools to keep our kids safe.
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Inspired by his own child’s encounter with an online predator, Tim Woda is a passionate advocate for protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers – predators, sexting and cyberbullying. Co-founder of KidSafe.me, developer of the world’s only Parental Intelligence System which helps parents keep their social and mobile kids safe, he raises awareness of these issues and shares his experience with parents through Internet & Mobile Safety Workshops hosted by schools, churches and other organizations.