Social network users that sign up and register for accounts in social networks do so with the understanding that they are posting information that other people may or may not access, depending on how well they understand the privacy policies and if they choose to use them. Teenagers and young social network users however are not as familiar with the industry norms for social networking and will freely give up personal information to join social networks on the Internet. What is it exactly that they are getting themselves into? Let’s take a closer look at the industry norms for social networking.
Registering for an account
As a user of any social network it is the norm to sign up and register for an account using personal information that will be kept private unless you want it revealed. Users in any social network can set up accounts and be part of the social norm in creating profiles, jointing groups, and finding long lost friends and family or even new friends. Most social networks did not place restrictions on anyone wanting to sign up for an account until just recently when MySpace decided to instill some safety measures to protect young users from sexual predators and harassment. They have not eliminated children thirteen years and younger from signing up and registering for an account in order to keep them from being exposed to adult users that abuse their account privileges.
As an industry norm in social networking, most, if not all, offer privacy settings for all of their users; adult and teens. Most users will use the privacy settings if they do not want other unknown users to have access to their account or personal information although there are ways to get around some of the privacy settings. This has become a concern among users which has caused some of the social networking web sites to change their norm and increase privacy settings and safety measures in order to avoid things like the Megan Meier hoax that happened on MySpace.com. Since this MySpace hoax, privacy solutions by social networking companies is beginning to change somewhat to protect social networking users.
There are three ways in which privacy issues can be met by social networking companies:
The social solutions for social networking privacy issues can be held and met by parents, schools, and social networking web sites. Parents are ultimately responsible for creating a safe social network for their child. Becoming involved with their accounts and computer use is a start. Schools and sites can then back parents up by increasing safety measures on computers and privacy settings within the network site.
Social networking companies have also stepped out their industry norms by agreeing to work with centers for missing children to create an online safety program to help raise the safety bar.
Industry norms for social networking have been changing somewhat due to the increasing awareness of security problems and safety for teens and young users. Meeting the new industry norms is what’s most important by addressing privacy issues and helping to keep social networking users safe.