Just the other day, I told my 14-year-old son that I was working on a blog post about Facebook. When I asked him why he hadn't signed up on Facebook yet so I could interview him, he just rolled his eyes and said, "I don't know. It's stupid. Get your own teenager [for your post]."
Truth be told, I'm greatly pleased that my son hasn't taken to Facebook yet. But most tweens and teens don't consider the social network "stupid." On the contrary, they are spending massive amounts of time on it -- one study claimed 75 percent of them use Facebook.
So I've thought plenty about what I would do the day my own son decides to cross over to the social media side. Here's my advice to you on how to deal with your kids using Facebook:
1. Monitor their Facebook usage
Your tweens' laptops or cell phones should not always be in their rooms. In fact, it's best if you ask them to keep Web devices where you can "see" them, like on the kitchen counter or dining room table. I strongly suggest keeping laptops and smartphones out of their rooms at night too, because tweens have been known to sacrifice sleep for these devices in the wee hours.
2. Understand cyberbullying
The Internet has always been full of judgmental people, and Facebook is no different. It's common among teens to post snotty or rude messages on the Facebook "walls" of people they don't like, for example. And in some cases, this is cyberbullying.
Researchers agree. Facebook has some unique aspects that make it an especially rugged social landscape for teens to navigate, according to Dr. Gwenn O'Keeffe, a pediatrician and lead author of American Academy of Pediatrics' social media guidelines. (Check out the group's report, The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families .)
"For some teens and tweens, social media is the primary way they interact socially, rather than at the mall or a friend's house," says O'Keeffe. "A large part of this generation's social and emotional development is occurring while on the Internet and on cell phones. Parents need to understand these technologies so they can relate to their children's online world -- and comfortably parent in that world."
I have no doubt that Facebook can make many teens feel worse than they normally would anyway. It's just another popularity contest at a time when many teens are feeling more pressure from peers and the "me-first" culture.
3. Know who they are friending
To ensure your kids' safety, you'll have to make a Facebook profile too. Tell your kids you'd like to friend them and come up with an agreement about how it will work -- for example, maybe you don't post comments on their wall (which could embarrass them). Also explain to them why it's important to keep your Facebook friend list to a reasonable level. Friending hundreds of people just increases the chances that one of them will be a creep, a stalker … or worse.
Photo Credit: @iStockphoto.com/margotpics
- Near-Field Communication Technology the Next Big Thing
- The Future of 3-D Video
- Is Your Teen Sexting?
- Should You Ban Your Tweens From Facebook?
- Home Movies: Then and Now
- Is Social Media Malware Infecting Your Business?
- Is Your Tween (Illegally) on Facebook?
- Are Free Public Wi-Fi Networks Safe?
- Explosion of Creativity: Power of Online Communities
- The Future According to Google
- 5 Cheap Alternatives to Hiring a Personal Trainer
- When Your Dream Company is Hiring on Twitter
- Colleges Bring Campuses to Facebook
- Technology Powers Revolutions and Saves Lives
- Best Photo Apps
- Virtual World No Substitute for Real One
- Best Phone Apps for Busy Women
- How to Prevent Identity Theft
- How to Use Facebook So It Does not Use You
- Worst-case Computer Scenarios
- Google Chrome OS Notebook: A Security Game Changer?
- What Is Cloud Computing?
- How to Prevent Data Breaches
- Best Tips for Sharing Videos
- Do You Need an iPad for Your Small Business?
- The App Guide: 5 Must-have Shopping Apps
- Project Management Tips From the Pros
- Finding the Right Skill Set
- Who's Gawking at Your Photos?
- Dealing With Virtual Stalking
- CES 2011 Report - Consumer Electronics Show
- Time to Gear up for 3-D TV?
- How to Get the Best Service From IT Vendors
- Dating Apps: The Lowdown
- New Website Streamlines College-Aid Application
- Gift-card Resale Market Thrives Online
- Stop Cyberbullying Now!
- 5 Cloud Tools to Boost Your Productivity
- Mobile Pay Can Give You an Edge
- How to Find the Best Deals Online
- Should You 'Friend' Your Teens Online?
- Should You Really Post That Comment?
- 5 Smart Tactics for LinkedIn Self-Promotion
- How Repressive Regimes Use the Internet to Keep Power
- WikiLeaks: Diplomacy as Usual
- The Rising Threat of USB Drives
- Integrate Cloud Solutions With Caution
- Tech Solutions to Track Your Resolutions
- Crash Course in Computer Maintenance
- How to Pick the Right Cloud Provider
- Web Tools for Starting a Small Business
- 4 Life-changing Resolutions You Can Stick to
- Create Your Own Social Network
- What the Web Says About You
- FTC Chairman: 'Do Not Track' Rules Would Help Web Thrive
- 'Do Not Track' Rules Would Put a Stop to the Internet As We Know It
- Are Federal 'Do Not Track' Rules Needed?
- The Political Power of Social Media
- Top 3 Kid-safe Social Networks
- 5 Ways to Cultivate Your Kids' Online Reputation
- Preparing Our Children for Global Digital Citizenship Success
- The Great E-reader Roundup
- The NFL's Highest-scoring Apps
- New Gadgets Straight From the Big Screen
- A Game Plan for Protecting Stored Data
- The Drive for Real-time Collaboration
- Hang Onto People Who'll Help You Advance
- Leading New Developments in Visual Computing
- Meet Mr. Industrial: Justin Lassen's Music Machine
- Must-see TV on the Internet
- Share Safely on Social Networks
- 6 Essential Rules for Safe Online Shopping
- Five Steps to Kid-friendly Surfing
- High-tech Help for Weight Loss
- Create a Web Site or Blog for Your Family
- Video Eyewear for Sunglass Cinema
- Smart Phone Apps Help Stop Distracted Driving
- Online Computer Backup Services Remove Hassle
Copyright © 2011 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.