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My Life is Over, Mom’s on Facebook: 5 Reasons Why You Should ‘Friend’ Your Teen
As a security expert, I can’t help but be on alert when it comes to social networking sites such as Facebook. While these networks are great for keeping us all connected, they also have the potential for being harmful—especially when teens are involved. If you are the parent of a teen, chances are you already know that Facebook has become one of their key online communities and for 48% of you, you have become your teen’s ‘friend’ on the popular social networking site.
Still not sure if you should actually ‘friend’ you child on Facebook? Here are 5 reasons why you should:
Monitor Their Conversations: You will be able to see your teen’s Facebook ‘Wall’ and, assuming the security levels are set correctly, you will be able to monitor not only what your teen is posting, but what others are posting to your teen. This gives you great insight into what stories/events are important to your teen and what may be upsetting them or making them happy—things that might not be shared during normal dinner conversations. Do not abuse your access to the “Wall”—posting your own personal comments to your teen’s status updates or sharing a family photo of your teen as a toddler will get you ‘de-friended.’
Note Changes in Their Profile: You will be notified via your own Facebook stream when your teen makes a change in his or her profile. If they go from ‘single’ to ‘in a relationship’ you know that the boy they’ve been talking about is more than just a friend or you might note they have added too much personal information such as a cell phone number.
See Their Connections: You will have access to their entire ‘friend’ list and can give it a quick glance to make sure there isn’t anyone suspicious such as an adult you don’t know. Remember that this is your teen’s ‘friend’ list not your list—do not ask them to ‘de-friend’ the neighbor girl just because she was rude to you the other day.
Know What They ‘Like’: You can see what pages your teen ‘likes’ or what groups they choose to join which is a great way to gauge their current interests. While most of the pages and groups are created for fun, some may be a sign of more harmful activities or behaviors that need parent intervention.
Maintaining a healthy relationship with your teen on Facebook is just as important as maintaining a healthy relationship offline. For more insight into your teen on Facebook and how you can protect them, keep an eye on this blog, find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter! For more information order my new eBook, Protecting Your Teens on Facebook.
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