Facebook Safety Issues
In most cases, an individual’s Facebook friend list consists of people they know in the “real world”. However, at times, there are people that simply have similar interests that you have met once and never seen again. In cases such as these, remember that when you are broadcasting your personal life and information across the social networking world, everyone who is on your friend list is watching. Sure, the website is great for networking and staying in touch with distant friends, but there have been cases of job-loss, lost relationships, and stalking through Facebook. By understanding what is actually occurring when you post anything, and using some common sense, you can ensure that your Facebook experience and that of your children is positive and harmless.
The Danger of Pictures
When your child has a Facebook page, there may be some individuals prowling that you want nowhere near them. Studies have shown that 25% of all teenagers post sexually explicit photographs on social networking sites. This creates a danger that could lead to horrible consequences. There are predators that seek out pages exactly like these and look to create a relationship based on their fantasies. This is a very dangerous position for a young teen.
Information Can Be Dangerous
There have been plenty of cases that exhibit how information can be detrimental to a child’s safety. Posting simple and innocent things like which school they attend can give a sexual predator all the information they need to pursue your child. Keeping their profile private and limiting the personal information that they post can help eliminate some of these threats. Sure, they’re going to be excited about going to the movies with their friends, but posting this information BEFORE they go can be dangerous. Posting the details after can offer a bit safer alternative.
Anyone Can be Anyone Else
On websites like Facebook, there are certain dangers that cannot be avoided. Anyone can upload pictures, falsify information, and create a profile stating that they’re someone else. This technique is used by many pedophiles when attempting to lure potential victims into a “friendship”. How do they do it? It’s simple, actually, which makes it so dangerous. They will create a profile that gives them the disguise of a pre-teen with similar interests to your child. From that point, they will converse with them, and in many cases, nurture a long term relationship before ever revealing their intentions. Explaining this to your children can help immensely.
Facebook offers hundreds of millions of users the ability to stay in touch with friends, express themselves, and at times, make new friends. However, for children, making new friends through a social networking site is simply too dangerous. Having a conversation with your children regarding the dangers of social networking can eliminate much of this risk, but staying diligent will be the only way to gain peace of mind. Create a profile and join your child’s “friend list”. From there, you can monitor their activity to ensure that their experience is a safe one.
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