San Mateo, CA (PRWEB) July 2, 2010
Summer is full of fun: camp, sleepovers, pool parties, concerts, baseball games, campfires, holiday travel and more. However, we no longer live in an age where kids spend most of their free time outdoors digging for fossils in the backyard or even riding bikes. ‘Tweeting,’ ‘friending,’ ‘Gchats’ and ‘Facebooking’ are just as hot as meeting at the Dairy Queen parking lot ‘to hang out’ was in 1993.
Social networking is here to stay and whether you approve of sites like Facebook or not, chances are your child is already on them or one day will be. Your instinct may be to ban your child from such sites, but as we all know, that just makes them more enticing. With more freedom to spend time online this summer, here are ten quick tips on children’s online safety that will alleviate your worry and help your children enjoy and capitalize on a fun-filled, social summer.
Before summer hits the ‘fun-packed’ peak, sit down with your child and explore the sites they want to be on together. Read the privacy policies. Check out the site's features and members. If you connect with them and make social networking a shared experience, your child will feel more comfortable coming to you to talk about potential issues that arise.
2. Only Share With Friends
Remind your child to review their account privacy settings this summer to make sure they’re only sharing their profile and pictures with people they know.
3. Password 101
When your child sets up an account, make sure they pick a secure password that's easy for them to remember, but difficult for others to figure out. Also make sure you write down ALL of your child’s passwords, in case you should ever need to access their accounts.
4. Protect Personal Info
Tell your child to never share their full name, age, address, phone numbers or school name on the Internet, no matter if they think that only their ‘friends’ can see this information. Strangers can easily log into these sites and access private info about your child with the click of a button.
5. ‘Friend’ Review
Review your child’s friend list to make sure you approve. It's good to know who has access to and who's talking to them online.
6. Never Meet Face-to-Face
Tell your child to never accept an invitation to get together with someone they met online, even if it is another kid in the neighborhood who wants to play some summer baseball. Tell your child that no matter how much they like this person or think they ‘know them,’ they really have no idea who is on the other end of the computer screen.
7. Be a Photo Editor
Make sure your child is selective about what photos they post online. Warn them of the permanence of content on social networking sites. If they post a photo, comment or video, it is there forever. Even if they take it down, once it’s posted, it still lives within the Internet archives. Future employers, friends and college admissions personnel may be able to see what they post, so that’s why it’s important to always think twice.
8. Be Mum About Money
Make sure your child doesn't give up any financial information like bank accounts or credit card numbers to any website or person online. Tell them to talk to you first before purchasing sport or summer concert tickets so you can make sure the site they’re using to purchase is legit. Sites like StubHub, and Ticketmaster are great. Also warn them to steer clear of ‘get rich quick’ schemes, anyone asking for money or any too-good-to-be-true products or services (i.e. anything that makes you taller, blonder, thinner and smarter in ‘just five days’).
9. Play Defense
Tell your child to listen to their gut and block anyone who ‘creeps them out.’ Make sure they report any behavior that makes them uncomfortable to you and the social network itself. If someone starts asking a bunch of personal questions, tell your child not to respond. Advise them to be especially wary of anyone who tries to turn them against their parents, teachers or friends.
10. Be Download Dubious
Tell your child to be careful about what they download from the net and warn them to never open files from a strange site or email address. Caution them to be on the lookout for sites that want to ‘plug-in’ to their computer because at the very least, these sites will spam the computer with annoying ads and at the worst they may give the computer a virus or invade your child’s privacy by tracking their every move online.
Being proactive is key, even if you still have no clue what a ‘tweet,’ ‘poke,’ ‘meetup,’ or ‘Gchat’ is. Take time to understand social networks or, if that’s not feasible, get help from someone who does. There are sites out there today that http://www.socialshield.com [monitor your child’s social networking activities __title__ monitor] and report back to you anything you should be concerned with. The Internet is an amazing resource; it's educational, entertaining and a great way to connect with all sorts of people from around the globe. This summer, tell your child to be smart, have fun and STAY SAFE!
Tips from Arad Rostampour and Noah Kindler - Co-Founders of http://www.socialshield.com – Smart Tools for Smart Parents™.
Founded in 2009, SocialShield gives parents affordable, easy-to-use, state-of-the-art tools to help them protect their kids’ Internet safety. SocialShield's technology allows parents to monitor their children’s activities on popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter so they stay on top of who their children interact with online, what photos and conversations are being posted and where children have profiles. Working as a team, SocialShield and parents help ensure their children are using the Social Web safely and responsibly. Based in San Mateo, Calif., Social Shield is backed by USVP and Venrock. For more information, visit http://www.socialshield.com.
Media Contact: Jessica Fletcher / 646-202-9753 / press(at)socialshield(dot)com