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Staying Connected

Kids and Social Networking

Kids and social networking

We all want our children to be healthy, happy and safe. Just as your guidance is necessary to help your child make it through adolescence (mostly) intact, the same goes for navigating the online world. Here are some strategies for ensuring he or she has a positive experience in social media.

Talk About It

You already chat with your child about schoolwork or other activities, so keep an open line of communication about his or her online life, too. Ask questions. Listen. Be there if or when problems arise. Show that you’re interested—not afraid—of what’s happening on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. If they’re not interested in sharing, you might want to investigate further.

Take a Tour

Sit down with your child and check out his or her social profile(s). View and discuss any pictures, comments or links that have been posted. Review his or her lists of friends or followers, and go through the privacy settings together. Use this as an opportunity to learn more about how social networks function—and enjoy a few extra minutes with your child while you’re at it.

Be a "Friend"

Consider creating your own Facebook, Twitter or other social media account and connecting with your child. It’s a great way to not only keep tabs on what’s happening in his or her online life, but also lets your child (and his or her friends) know that you’re paying attention. Helpful tip: Save your child any awkwardness or embarrassment by limiting posts to his or her Wall. “Hi, honey!” doesn’t play any better online than it does at the bus stop.

Online and off, the goal is the same: to help our children form a positive identity, maintain healthy relationships and build a good reputation. By getting involved early and staying engaged, you can make it happen.

Want to Learn More?

A great resource for parents on how to optimize settings for children on Facebook can be found here. An overview with FAQs about Twitter can be found here.

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