Saturday, November 29, 2008

Protecting Kids on Myspace and Facebook

Social media sites such as myspace and face book are some of the most visited websites by teenagers and young adults. These sites allow users to connect with people across the world with similar interests. The internet age has made the world smaller. Connecting with multiple groups of people has never been easier and never more dangerous. Hiding behind a computer and a made-up profile could be a sexual predator or criminal looking for an easy mark. Users of myspace, facebook and and other social media sites should beware. Most parents who have children that are pre-teens or teenagers do not use these forms of social media and are not aware of the dangers that they pose to their children and themselves if used incorrectly. Often children will expose sensitive information about themselves and their family over the internet. They believe that it is safe because they have told it to someone a world away that they will not see the next day at school. The cold reality is that it may be someone using an alias. These scoundrels fish for information such as where a child may live, what their parents do for a living. They may fish for information as to what types of electronics are in the home and may even ask about the security system in the home. The internet criminals gain a child’s trust over time and exploit it. These are a few tips to keep your children safe.
• Parents are encouraged to openly discuss the dangers of social media with their children.
• Do not let your children use the computer for extended periods of time behind closed doors.
• Be proactive, visit these sites and research new threats.
• Watch for changes in your child’s behavior especially if they become withdrawn.
• Have open lines of communication.
• Use security to keep your family safe; don’t assume that crime won’t happen to you.
• Review the sex offender registry to see what’s lurking in your vicinity.
• Watch this video with your kids.

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