For the first time in human history, technology enabled social media allow us to exponentially expand our network of weak ties, potentially into the thousands over a lifetime. In so doing, these tools dramatically increase the flow of knowledge and opportunity available to each of us.To read the rest of the report go to The Huffington Post.
"Although the most dramatic increase in usage of these devices happens at about age 9, playing games appears to be an activity that first engages young kids with the digital world," commented NPD analyst Anita Frazier. "Our study finds that 82 percent of kids ages 2 to 5 play games on one or more of the devices surveyed."Read more about this study at Gamespot.com.
* having trouble sleeping
* feeling depressed
* mood swings
* feeling unwell
* becoming anti-social and losing friends
* falling behind in homework
* spending a lot of time online
Recently Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell paid us a visit here at AOL and we got a chance to chat with him about online safety. You don't have to be on the topic long before you realize how important General McDonnell considers educating families about online safety. He did not hesitate when we asked if he would blog on the subject for our SafetyClicks parents.
Be your own person. Don't let friends or strangers pressure you to be someone you aren't. And know your limits. You may be Net-savvy, but people and relationships change, and unexpected stuff can happen on the Internet.
Be nice online. Or at least treat people the way you'd want to be treated. People who are nasty and aggressive online are at greater risk of being bullied or harassed themselves. It's a vicious cycle you really don't want to get into.
Think about what you post. Sharing provocative photos or intimate details online, even in private emails, can cause you problems later on. Even people you consider friends can use this info against you, especially if they become ex-friends.
Being armed with the combination of good information and good judgment is particularly important when you allow your child to be online. Talking to your kids regularly about how to be safe goes a long way. Even if you think they aren't listening, some or all of what you tell them is bound to sink in. So the more you can make the topic of keeping safe online a part of your day-to-day conversations, the more you provide your child the building blocks for a fun, enriching and safe online experience.
Although it is up to each parent to develop the rules that best apply to your child, there are some fundamental household rules that every parent should think about including.
? Keep the computer in a central location in the home instead of a child's bedroom.
? Anything that makes a child feel uncomfortable should be shared with a parent.
? Do not believe everything you read on the Internet.
? Children cannot meet people they meet online without a parent.
? Do not share passwords with anyone, including friends.
You have probably heard the term "social network." You may have even used it yourself a few times. But are you really comfortable with what a social network is? If yes, great! You are ahead of the curve. If your answer was no, though, read on.
An online social network is a virtual community where people gather to share interests, find new ones or build relationships. What makes online social networks unique and valuable, especially to teens, is the ease with which users can make new connections through their extended network of friends. The convenience and fun of quickly connecting with other people -- and large numbers of them, if you like -- has made online social networking one of the most popular activities on the Internet today.
Here are some of the things teens like to do once they've joined a social network:
- Meet new people: Once two users have connected, it's easy for them to view each others' list of friends, and invite those people to be their friends in turn.
- Post messages: Sort of like e-mail, users can post messages on a friend's "profile page." Often these messages are posted publicly for others to read.
- Share photos: It's super easy to upload photos to a profile page and broadcast them to friends.
- Chat or Instant Message: Social networking sites are increasingly offering tools for users to chat in real-time in the website, rather than using the more traditional, external messaging programs.
Now that you have, I hope, a basic understanding of what social networking is all about, here is a short list of the more popular sites out there. I suggest you spend some time exploring these sites, and even sign up and create your own profile page. Doing so will give you a good feel for how these sites are used by tweens, teens and 20-somethings, which collectively generate the heaviest usage (unsurprisingly) on social networking sites.
Entertainment Software Rating Board
FBI Parent's Guide to Internet Safety
Internet Lingo Dictionary
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
National Children's Advocacy Center
Online Safety Quiz
Parental Controls and Online Child Protection study
Parent's Guide to Social Networking
Virtual Global Taskforce