The following article ran in USA Weekend 8/5-7/11 and was written by Gregory Connolly. I thought it was important enough to post it on my blog in case any readers missed it the first time. The internet is a dominant force in our youngsters lives, Facebook being our stiffest competition for their time and attention. And then there’s the ever-present concern for safety and security, things against which our offspring seem to think they are impregnable. For those already in sync with their children’s internet activity, this should only confirm what you already know.
Your kids and FACEBOOK
What parents need to know
IT SEEMS AS IF every kid has his or her own Facebook page–teens spend two to for hours a day online, research has found–and parents often feel, at best, shut out and, at worst, worried. Here are things parents should consider:
DO talk. It may sound simplistic, but experts say regular talks help. Ask your teenager over dinner what he does online.
DO explain some basics. Young people should never share their passwords, post anything that could damage their reputation or someone else’s (such as anything they wouldn’t want a parent, teacher or admissions officer to see), or accept “friend” requests from people they don’t know. (Note to parents: Kids must be at least 13 to create a Facebook profile.)
DON’T be judgmental. Be open-minded and don’t criticize.
DON’T be a “friend.” It can be more productive to talk to your teen instead of trying to “friend” him or her.
DO learn Internet lingo. Web-speak is full of acronyms parents can learn by visiting websites such as commonsensemedia.org.
If you and your teen are like my daughter and me, we’re hardly on Facebook…