Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Have The Talk With Your Children!

Have The Talk With Your Children!
Not about the birds and the bees but about being online –safely!
We've come a long way since 60s' parenting scare tactic "It's 10:00 pm. Do you know where your children are?"
The reality is that you're probably quite trusting of your children if they have their own computer with the ability to post videos on YouTube or photos of the party they attended Saturday night on Facebook.
While the Internet has its obvious benefits of being educational and entertaining, there are also a lot of troublesome situations your children could encounter online.
Firstly, remind your children that anything they put up on the Internet is public and could have serious consequences in the near and far future, potentially costing them their dream job or an athletic sponsorship.
More and more employers are using social media profiles as part of their decision process when hiring (sites like Facebook, Myspace, Linkedin)." These sites are also a convenient gateway for online predators to communicate with children under a pseudonym.
A serious online concern is cyber bullying. Children have the opportunity to anonymously embarrass or threaten a classmate on the Internet. If you find out that your child is a victim of a cyber bully, tell him or her to keep a record of everything that was said, because it could be helpful when the child feels comfortable enough to speak to an adult about it.
Parents should also ensure that they "don't overreact if their children have a negative experience online (research has shown that youth often don't report being the victims of cyber bullying because they're afraid their parents will cut off their Internet access)," says Matthew Johnson, (Media Awareness Network).

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