Most parents worry about their children social networking via personal computers, smartphones, and iPod devices. Most schools also worry about children social networking during English, Biology, and History. As a result, many schools have banned Facebook and social networking websites on school computers. However, children have found multiple ways to sidestep this ban and access Facebook through the use of proxy servers.
Tech savvy students have found websites that contain step by step instructions to unblocking Facebook and MySpace on school computers. A few such websites include unblock.biz and proxypimp.com. Through the use of these websites, students can mystify teachers and parents alike.
Although school administrators and teachers cannot always ensure that students use school computers for educational purposes, parents can encourage them to do so. Talk to your middle schooler and designate limits on computer usage at home, under parental supervision. Some schools have also taken the initiative to educate students about social networking safely, instead of placing bans and blocks.
Social networking is a concerning issue for many parents. Ease your concerns by educating your child regularly about cyber safety.
In the last few months the topic of sexting seems like it is everywhere. We talk about it here on SafetyClicks a lot, but the same concerns we discuss are in the main stream as well. A recent episode of The Deep End, a new ABC show about a law firm, one of the clients was a teen facing charges distribution of child pornography for a picture taken of his girlfriend. The teen being charged with child pornography for sending a nude picture of their girl/boyfriend is not all that uncommon since the laws are not prepared for this kind of behavior.
If you want to watch the episode of 'The Deep End', you can watch the full episode online. On the show everything works out thanks to the savvy lawyers - do you think you would have the same luck?
What do you think about the topic of sexting showing up so much in pop culture?
Just my own memories of being picked on gives a whole new perspective for those growing up with the Internet. When I went home, my friends in the neighborhood were not cruel, my parents were supportive and I had a sanctuary. There are a lot of teens who are being picked on now, come home and sign on to find that the harassment continues in their "sanctuary" (a.k.a. online).
According to this Forbes article, one in 10 students is affected by cyber bullying.
Since that is 10% of students, I have 10 tips that may help:
- Know that "sexting" is a term that the media has placed on the act of sending sexually explicit texts and photos via cell phones or online. Because it's been in the media so much, teens probably know what it means, but it probably isn't (or at least wasn't) the word they use. This might be a good way to bring it up with your teen. Ask him/her what students in their class call it. I have heard terms such as "hooking up", "phone sex", "booty call". Some don't have a name for it at all; they just know it when they see it.
- Use articles or news stories to spark the conversation. In recent months, there have been many articles about teens who were arrested for sexting. Ask your teen his/her opinion about if it is actually child pornography? What should the punishment be? Should it even be a crime?
This article from CNN warns about the "dangers" of Twitter, saying that it could numb your sense of morality.
LiveScience reports that Facebook users are getting worse grades than those who don't participate.
Immoral students who are failing sound pretty bad.
On the other hand, there are many suggestions the Social Networks are being used for good.
For all those students who are getting their letters of acceptance or denial out there, there are several colleges that are looking to Facebook to recruit students.
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.
Your Online Persona Can Help or Hinder College and Work Prospects
Imagine this: You've spent your high school years taking the most challenging course work offered, juggling multiple extracurricular activities and preparing for and excelling in your SAT's − all with the hopes of getting into your dream college. But ultimately you are denied entry for something you had never considered would become a factor: the content posted on your social networking profile.
This can and does happen. Colleges and universities are turning to social networking sites to learn more about their applicants. A recent survey conducted by Kaplan of 320 admissions officers from the nation's top colleges and universities revealed that one out of ten had used an applicant's social networking site in making the admissions decision. The survey found the social networking site could either benefit or harm the applicant.
? 25% of those who reported viewing applicants' sites said that these viewings had a positive impact on their evaluation; while,
? 38% reported that the applicants' social networking sites had a negative impact on their admissions evaluation.
(Read more about the study in the Kaplan press release.)
Content that had negative impact on the admissions decision included party pictures, underage drinking, reckless behavior, and fighting.
As parents it is our job to not only teach by saying but more importantly to teach by doing. By that I mean going beyond setting a good example by our everyday behavior. Teach by doing here means getting involved with what your child is doing online.
Our friends at ConnectSafely.org have outlined some great tips for parents who have kids or teens on the social web.
Be reasonable and try to set reasonable expectations. Pulling the plug on your child's favorite social site is like pulling the plug on his or her social life. Instead of being protective, it can shut down communication and send kids "underground" where they're more at risk. It's too easy for them to set up free blogs and profiles from anywhere, including friends' houses or even a cell phone.
Talk with your kids about how they use the services. They, not news reports or even experts, are the ones to consult about their social-Web experience. Help them understand basic safety guidelines, such as protecting their privacy (including passwords), not harassing peers, never talking about sex with people they don't know, avoiding in-person meetings with people they "meet" online, and taking care in what they post - because anything people put online can be grabbed, reworked, and used against them.