Cyber-bullying has become a major problem among teenagers, so many of whom have a presence on Facebook or other social media sites. Secure.me, which works to make social media a safer place, released some tips Monday for parents of teens on Facebook in the spirit of National Bullying Awareness Month, in an effort to prevent them from being cyberbullying targets.
Secure.me‘s Marina Ziegler feels that parents should educate their kids about how to properly use the Internet, passing along the knowledge that what’s online is permanent. She noted that even information that is deleted from Facebook is still saved on its servers. Applications that know that information suddenly won’t erase it. Knowing this, parents should tell their teens that the less information shared through the social network, the better.
Ziegler writes that parents should teach kids not to tease or taunt their classmates on Facebook, even if it’s done in a fun or joking way. Online communication can lead to misunderstandings more often than face-to-face interactions. Parents should also ask children to talk to them if they feel they’re being bullied either on Facebook or offline. It’s important for parents not to track secretly, as that could lead to a breach of trust and spur bad behavior, but to let their kids know that they are watching.
It’s common now for parents to keep a close eye on what their kids are doing online, Ziegler notes:
In the age of social networks, it becomes more and more common for parents to monitor their children’s social network profile — in the future, it’ll be part of their parental duty of supervision in the same way as controlling their child’s TV consumption, no matter if children and teens like it or not. As a parent, you should know your kids’ privacy settings in social networks and the information your child publishes. Personal, location-based data, and sensitive photos picturing your child and friends should be a taboo to share. Negative comments on your child’s profile and in the friends network could be reasons to interfere. Specifically, it’s also important to know who your children engage with, and accepting friend requests from strangers absolutely is a no-no.
Readers: If you have teens who are on Facebook, how do you monitor their activity?