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Guidelines for Children Around Social Networking

November 06, 2012
Group owner Richard Martine

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Guidelines for Children Around Social Networking

By: Richard Martine   Post Date : November 06, 2012
Given all the different risks children face from online technology, especially social networking, what should a parent do? Totally forbidding them the use of these technologies is not very practical. Following are some guidelines for a balanced approach to keeping children safe and healthy online.

Set online time limits.

If your child spends too much time on social networking or other Internet activity, and neglects other parts of their life, set some limits. Perhaps require them to "earn" online time by doing some healthy activity first. "No Internet until homework is finished" is a good example. Schedule "unplugged" family time. For example, have a rule against electronic devices at the dinner table, in restaurants, at grandma's house and so forth.

Encourage physical activities.

Plan family outings around some form of physical activity, and leave the electronic devices behind. Examples include hiking, bicycling, swimming, sightseeing (on foot) - even theme parks, which require a lot of walking. Encourage team sports such as soccer, field hockey, baseball, and basketball.

Teach children the importance of protecting their privacy online.

Children and adolescents don't fully comprehend the ways a person can be compromised by putting too much information online. Talk to them about the fact that a majority of companies check job candidates' online presence as part of the hiring process. A growing number of college admissions officers are doing the same. Help your child set privacy settings on sites like Facebook - if you aren't sure how, research it with them or ask someone for help.

Discuss the risks of getting involved with someone you meet on the Internet.

It is easy to appear charming, talented, and successful when you control all the information the other person receives about you. We need to help our children grasp this.

Consider Internet filtering and tracking services.

Finally, depending on your child's history of online behavior and your trust level with them, you might want to look into Internet filtering and tracking services. Some of these are available free and others for purchase. This is a fairly intrusive step and should only be undertaken if honest, open communication has failed to solve the problem.

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