Social networks and mobile communication connect our kids to their friends 24/7. For the most part, conversations begun in the classroom hallway more or less continue in the digital space. But there are differences between face-to-face communication and digital communication. It's important to understand how technology is changing the nature of how our kids learn to communicate.
Social networks are places where kids can hang out together online. They range from Club Penguin and Webkinz (for young kids) to MySpace and Facebook. The sites work pretty simply: kids who sign up get a profile to post pictures of themselves, artwork, links to songs, write about what they enjoy, and connect with friends. They’ve become extensions of kids’ social lives and wonderful places for self-expression. Social networks are major communication hubs providing ways for kids to use instant messaging, “friend” one another, and write on walls to share public and private thoughts and comments.
Each August for the past 11 years, Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., has released the Beloit College Mindset List. It provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college. It is the creation of Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and Public Affairs Director Ron Nief. The List is shared with faculty and with thousands who request it each year as the school year begins, as a reminder of the rapidly changing frame of reference for this new generation.
Some parents worry about joining Facebook because they don’t want to intrude on their child’s privacy. They see it as spying in their kid’s bedroom. This view -- Facebook as private bedroom -- is not accurate. Why? #1 - Strangers don’t enter a kid’s bedroom. But on Facebook, kids can interact with strangers. #2 - In a bedroom, acts are not observable by hundreds of people. In contrast, acts your child does on Facebook are widely observable. #3 - Finally, what goes on in a bedroom is not recorded online, potentially forever. But it is on Facebook. In short, if you view “Facebook as private bedroom” you will make mistakes in parenting.
Commonsense media conducted a social networking poll. About 1,000 students, ages 13-18 (grades 7-12) participated in the survey. About the same number of parents participated (age=+30, had student in grade 7-12)
Don’t panic, but become informed. Parents should know about kids’ actual activities in cyberspace. Ignorance is not an acceptable excuse. If your child has a posting on one of the weblogs she can probably use some guidance about appropriate ways to present herself to the world. It makes sense to discuss online communication and its consequences. Even older teens need to know that adults will be aware of what they present online, and the potential impact of this. These are not private areas.
The call to action is clear: Parents are the first line of defense when it comes to helping kids use the same senses of responsibility and self-respect whether they’re online or off. Go online. Get yourself an account. Learn firsthand what kids are doing and what they can and cannot post. Posts about drugs or drinking, or sexual posing or activity will come back to haunt them. A good rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, you shouldn’t post it. Make sure they set their privacy settings. They aren’t foolproof, but they’re important. Show them where the privacy settings are. Kindness counts. Lots of sites have anonymous applications like &quot;bathroom wall&quot; or &quot;honesty boxes&quot; that allow users to tell their friends what they think of them. Rule of thumb: If they wouldn’t want someone saying it them, they shouldn’t say it to anyone else.
1. Be aware of how your child is spending his/her online time. 2. these areas are not private, and it is possible to trace users if they reveal even limited personal information. 3. Choose secure passwords; change password if you think it has been compromised 4. 5./6. 7. Don't fill your kids' pages with your comments. As it is, simply having parents is mortifying enough at this age. Their friends don't need evidence of your existence (and you can always send them private messages). 8. Choose your battles. You will see the good, the bad, and the truly unfathomable. If you don't want your kids to unfriend you, don't comment on every transgression. Keep it general.
The ABCs Of Facebook
The ABCs of Facebook Parents United November 10,2009
2012 Mindset <ul><li>GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available </li></ul><ul><li>WWW has never stood for World Wide Wrestling </li></ul><ul><li>IBM has never made typewriters </li></ul><ul><li>Caller ID has always been available on phones </li></ul><ul><li>Beloit College Mindset List </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/2012.php </li></ul>
2010 College Freshmen <ul><li>“ These students will hardly recognize the availability of telephones in their rooms since they have seldom utilized landlines during their adolescence . They will continue to live on their cell phones and communicate via texting. Roommates , few of whom have ever shared a bedroom , have already checked out each other on Facebook where they have shared their most personal thoughts with the whole world. “ </li></ul>
<ul><li>Social networking sites are now a big part of a teen’s day: • 51% check the sites more than once a day • 22% check more than 10 times a day </li></ul>http://www.commonsensemedia.org/
Parents have a lot to learn about their children’s social networking behaviors: • Just 4% say their children check social networking sites more than 10 times a day (22% of teens do) • 23% of parents say their children check more than once a day (51% do) • 12% of teens with Facebook or MySpace pages admit their parents don’t even know about the account • Just 16% of parents think their child has shared information they would not normally share with the public (28% have)
The Other Perspective <ul><li>Don’t panic </li></ul><ul><li>Become informed </li></ul><ul><li>Provide guidance </li></ul>
The Good News % of teens who have done this online Teens N=760-763 Join an online community or a 'group' on Facebook or MySpace in support of a cause 54% Post creative writing or artwork that you've done 53% Post or share videos or music that you’ve created 50% Organize or invite people to an event using a social networking site like Facebook or MySpace 45% Volunteer for a campaign, non-profit organization, or charity 34% Participate in online study groups 26%
<ul><li>And parents and children agree, the internet is helping their academic performance: </li></ul><ul><li>75% of parents say the internet helps their child’s academic performance in school and just 5% say it hurts </li></ul><ul><li>Similarly, 67% of teens say the internet helps their academic performance in school, while only 11% say it hurts </li></ul>
What can Parents Do? <ul><li>Go online. Create your own account. </li></ul><ul><li>Set ground rules for appropriate use/expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Privacy settings </li></ul><ul><li>Golden Rule </li></ul>
Friendly Advice <ul><li>Limit online time. </li></ul><ul><li>Educate your teens about Internet realities </li></ul><ul><li>Never share your password or ask for the password from a friend </li></ul><ul><li>Never pose as someone you are not </li></ul><ul><li>Request to be your child’s “friend” </li></ul><ul><li>Do not “friend” your children’s friends </li></ul><ul><li>Do not fill your child’s wall with comments </li></ul><ul><li>Choose your “battles” </li></ul>