Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Keeping Teens Safe on Social Media Networks

I’m a great supporter of social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook for business connections. Yet I understand that these places can be stalking grounds for cyberbullies who prey on insecure teens.

Sue Shellenbarger’s Work & Family column in the December 17th Wall Street Journal -- "Cyberbully Alert: Web Sites Make It Easier to Flag Trouble” -- is an excellent source of information on this subject for parents and teen educators.

The article explains the different abuse reporting systems on MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube, then concludes with this paragraph, with which I wholeheartedly agree:
Then, join the sites your child uses and learn log-in information and URLs. This will help you flag problems effectively.
Only recently I suggested this to a mother of a teen who wanted to join Facebook. The mother didn’t want to be bothered learning about this site so she told the daughter she couldn’t join Facebook. But what I wonder is whether the mother is making a major error because her daughter will probably join Facebook in secret, and the mother has given up the opportunity to police her daughter’s use of Facebook.

The article also quoted Parry Aftab, the executive director of WiredSafety.org. I hadn’t heard of this organization, so I went on the site and was impressed by the available information. If you need help dealing with cyberbullying, check out this site.

1 comment:

DeweyG.us said...

It seems you've reviewed minggl.com before? A new feature we've just released (mNotes) allows kids to post a picture, video or text, to all their social profiles simultaneously, but have it hosted on our secure server and then only (for example) friends tagged "classmates" will be able to see it.