But Mom, I Don’t Want to Give you my Password!

Recently I was getting ready for class one morning and I overhead a newscaster giving their opinion concerning parental supervision of their child’s social media use. He explained that if a teenager’s parent does not have all the passwords to their social media accounts, that they weren’t doing their job right.

This struck me as a bold statement, considering back in the day before Facebook and Twitter, my 14-year-old self would be mortified if my parents were able to access my AOL Instant Messenger account. With the popularity of social networking skyrocketing, especially with younger audiences, should it be encouraged that parents monitor their child’s social media use?

In November, the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project with the Family Online Safety Institute did a study with findings indicating that 95 percent of all teens age 12 to 17 are online, with 80 percent of them on social media sites.

While many of us have been using social networks for years, it could be beneficial to go back to the basics when learning about online etiquette, especially to educate a younger audience.

  • Safety. Even if you’re not creeping around in online chat rooms, it is still important to go through your site’s privacy settings and to monitor anything said in your emails that could be suspicious.
  • Boundaries. Thinking about all the cyber bullying that occurs in younger age groups online, remember treat others as you would like to be treated. Considering that virtually everything posted online is floating around cyberspace, don’t post things that are harmful to others or yourself. For older audiences, try to keep opinions out of posts that could come back to bite you in the future.
  • Be a good role model. If a younger audience could be viewing your profile, set an example! If individuals learn how to have a positive presence online and create useful interactions, it will help them to act responsibly in the future.
  • Think first! If you wouldn’t want a picture or status of yours on the front page of the newspaper, reconsider your post.

Whether it is a teenager on Facebook, a parent looking at their child’s MySpace or a professional reading their Twitter feed, it doesn’t matter when it comes to learning how to surf the web in a responsible, safe manner. Do you think there should be supervision and/or education for younger users on social media sites?

To read more about parental supervision on social media sites, click here.

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