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Whee!! My interview with the +Chicago Tribune is up!! The subject is social media etiquette especially as it pertains to photos. Btw, if you're a parent of young kids/teens, do you keep an eye on their social networking activity? I've seen some stats go by recently that as much as 60% of parents check their kids' Facebook accounts. I can see the argument why... but it also feels like an invasion of the kids' privacy. Thoughts?

(I'm not a parent but I will confess that, much as I love them to bits, I have chosen to hide the activity of my teen niece and nephews from my Facebook feed as I couldn't bear to read their posts... amazing how that generation is so carefree about what they post!)
Social media expert Mari Smith has been called the "pied piper of the online world" for her contagious enthusiasm for digital communication.
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26 comments
 
I thought that something like 60% of high schoolers had two or more FB profiles. The one their parents saw and their REAL ones...
 
Bravo Mari! Now I have "credible" ammo I can reference with my 3 teenage daughters and maybe now I won't get banned from their Facebook panel so often
 
I have two teen boys, one invited me as a friend on facebook, the other does not have or want a facebook account, says he prefers face to face accounts! Gotta love 'em!
 
I will totally be checking my children's Facebook accounts when they are old enough to get one. I will NOT do it behind their back, I will do it while they are sitting right there so they don't feel like I'm sneaking around invading their privacy, but I will talk to them about why it's important for me to check on them, and why I'm doing it. Communication is the key to proper social media function for our children.
 
+Guy Bailey I actually believe that. I am in IT, and my kids won't be getting anything by me. There will be severe punishments if I find out about hidden accounts!
 
I think Sarah hit the nail on the head, you need to know and they need to know why. You must develop communication and trust early and at every opportunity. If you can't be honest with them how can, and why would, your children be honest with you?
 
I once saw two men nearly come to blows in a London pub because one wouldn't 'Friend' the other one on FB. "Why aren't you my Friend?" - "I am, I'm here drinking with you!" "Yeah but not on Facebook"
 
Well done +Mari Smith, congrats! Thanks for bringing attention to this issue. I'm in favor of monitoring social media and web activity for kids, and do so. Invasion of predators trumps invasion of privacy every time :-). After seeing that show "To Catch a Predator" we basically have a 'hold no secrets' policy here.
 
Parent first, Privacy second. I try to provide my children with the guidelines, but kids are really open with Social Media because they haven't been taught correctly about the implications of what they write or post and in most instances they don't even realize the impact of what they post or who they share it with. What does a teen, pre-teen, or younger kid know about Social Media?

Nothing.

We as adults are still coming to grips with Social Media and sharing our intimate thoughts with countless "friends" and their "friends". We have to police our children not just from predators, but from themselves.

My wife and I keep a casual eye on our children in this regard, especially our 15 year old who has been given guidance upon guidance on how to use Social Media. We have also made him delete posts and remove pictures from time to time. I don't call this invading Privacy. I call it being a Parent.
 
I'm not so sure the percentage of parents who monitor their children's online activity is that high. I recently read a post that put the number much lower. And based on my experience I would agree with the lower number. From what I went through with my kids - starting with my son being cyber bullied before he even had a profile of his own - and the resulting seminars I attended run by detectives of the Internet Crimes Division of our county's Sheriff's Department, I am quite knowledgeable about this topic. What kids are posting is scary, and can be downright dangerous. We were shown how easily would-be predators could narrow down the location of a targeted poster -- even before the widespread incorporation of GPS. Hasn't it also come to light recently how aggressively colleges and employers check these social platforms to build character profiles of applicants? That has been going on for YEARS, but too many parents and their kids still don't comprehend the potential ramifications of their activity. We also were told by the detectives that there is no such thing as true privacy. Regardless of how strictly you set your privacy, once you hit the enter button all bets are off. And too many parents do NOT check their offsprings' postings. Well, let me put that another way: too many parents who have a reason to be checking do not. I had an experience and a half when I tried to tip off a friend because I came across some potentially dangerous postings by her daughter while I was checking my son's activity feed. Not only didn't the woman talk to her daughter about responsibility and safety; she stopped talking to me, and spread word that I was a stalker who hacked children's profiles and made up lies about what I read there! So it seems like an attitude or state of ignorance that "rolls downhill." From my observations/experience, the parents who check -- like me -- have kids that are more responsible to begin with, so we don't see anything about which to be concerned.
 
Well said +Mike Johnson. +Jeanine Vecchiarelli, I suspect the number is inflated as well. Ideally parents are the best influencers of social engagement in life, especially when compared to peers of children. I wonder if companies who produce software like "Safe Eyes" or "NetNanny" have some numbers to share.
 
+Neil Ferree When my kids opened their profiles, it was under the condition that I had their passwords, and with the knowledge that I would be occasionally accessing their accounts. It was the only way to make sure as possible that nothing potentially bad or dangerous concerning them was occurring on their walls AND in their news feeds - which you can't see if they just "friend" you. This way I didn't have to worry that they would not friend or even block me. Once they convinced me of their complete responsibility and judgment, I backed off.
 
My boys are still pretty young, but we have watched movies that create conversation afterwards about certain issues. There was a +Netflix movie we streamed called "CyberBully" that was pretty heavy. We were able to talk about it, and seed the soil, that the day they get social media profiles it is in their best interest, that we have access...at least for a time. Movies like this make it more self-evident for them what a logical parent would do, rather than 'telling' them how it is.
 
As for the kids, it's time for them to learn security controls.
 
+Travis Campbell I actually used a program recommended by the Sheriff's Department. This way I could monitor EVERY web interaction engaged in by my kids, including emails and chats off social profiles. The program is called SpectorPro, and it is available via www.spectorsoft.com. I highly recommend it.
 
+Jeanine Vecchiarelli I looked at that after purchasing another product. Does a good job capturing activity as video files as I recall. Thanks for the reminder!
 
+Travis Campbell Happy to share; when you hear the horror stories directly from the detectives who do this for a living, you come to the conclusion that you can't do enough to keep your young 'uns safe! Ideally, we need concerned parents to network with each other. No one parent can see it all.
 
Congrats Mari - & yes I monitor my kids social media - they are truly too open online!
 
+Mari Smith Like you I'm not a parent, but love all the kiddo's around me. But, until their frontal lobes become fully functional, I think they should be monitored - aka, guided in their social circles. For their own safety & those around them.
 
+Sanjeev Kumar Singh You should have mentioned click the below links which make sure of all MY dreams :) pathetic promotion. I hope you get back what you invested.

+Mari Smith You are scaring me about the day when my daughter going to start Facebooking :(
 
As the father of two teenaged boys in the UK, I have to say I am very concerned about the darker side of social media, and some of the weird people who take advantage of children's innocent behaviour. There have been too many tragic consequences of teenaged girls, and boys, using their facebook accounts in an inappropriate way.

As you quoted from the film "The Social Network", the internet is in ink and not in pencil. Teenagers do need to have the maturity and awareness to use social media safely and appropriately.

As parents, we need to chat regularly with our kids about safety online, monitor what they are doing, and help keep them safe.

I'm glad to say that my own two kids (aged 14 and 16) seem to be mixing with a good peer group and I've seen nothing on facebook to concern me, just the odd rude word!
 
Thank you for posting htis.
As a mother of a teen boy - I keep an eye on what he posts, and what others are posting on his page.
He seems to keep himself to himself mostly and uses it to keep track of what his friends are doing. I have yet to see the cyber bullying and trash talk that so many youths have to deal with.

if that does happen I hope I have the skills to help hime through it.

~Laura
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