Police Blotter

Facebook – Keeping our children safe

March 6, 2013 12:58 PM

Just like adults, teens use Facebook to connect with friends--through chat, personal messages and sharing photos, videos, and other kinds of information. They use Facebook to announce achievements, wish each other a happy birthday and plan social events - like going to a movie or a friend's house.

The only people who can see what teens post are their Facebook friends, friends of friends, and networks. Facebook has added protections and security settings for teens (age 13-17) that ensure their timelines and posts don't show up in public search results. Encourage your kids to utilize the View As tool on the top right side on their timelines. They can see what their timeline looks like to the public.

Parents don't need to be social media experts in order to ask questions and begin an ongoing dialog with teens. Have conversations about safety and technology early and often, in the same way that you talk to your kids about being safe at school, in the car, riding public transportation, or playing sports.

Today's teens have grown up with the internet, cell phones and text messaging. New technology has always been a part of their lives, so when we write it off as trivial or a waste of time, we criticize a big part of their social interaction. Don't be afraid to ask your child to show you the ropes!

It's also important to talk about the Golden Rule: treating others the way you want to be treated. This also applies to using new technologies. Make sure your teens know where to go for support if someone ever harasses them. Help them understand how to make responsible and safe choices about what they post--because anything they put online can be misinterpreted or taken out of context.

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