Fredericksburg Parent

October 2012

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Social Media Savvy Raising a TEEN BY CHRISTA MELNYK HINES set strict guidelines when her 15-year-old opened a Facebook account. She friended her daughter, set up security with her, required access to her password and informed her that inappropriate posts or photos could result in the loss of her Facebook privileges. As much as she encourages her daughter to make the right decisions, mistakes do happen. "There was a time that she left herself logged in at a friend's house. The friend posted on her wall -- not anything inappropriate -- but had it been anyone else, T o help her daughter navigate the somewhat murky waters of social media, Kristin Meier could have been," Meier says. "It did bring up the conversation on passwords and keeping your personal information private." According it Project, "for general advice and influence, parents are still the top source for teen internet and cell phone users." If you haven't already, educate yourself on social media so you and your teen can talk about about how to use it appropriately and avoid misuse that can cause serious heartache later. to the Pew Internet & American Life Follow Age Guidelines "For Facebook, they need to be 13 Pediatrics, and the author of CyberSafe: Protecting 12 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • October 2012 the American Academy of and that needs to be non-negotiable. Just like many aspects of our life, like driving a car and drinking alcohol, we have to follow those age requirements," says Dr. Gwenn O'Keefe, a pediatrician, spokeswoman for and Empowering Kids in the Digital World of Texting, Gaming and Social Media. Take a look at different social networks to determine which ones are appropriate for your child. Check out and, which provide informative articles, as well as reviews on websites, apps and networks targeting different age groups. Protect Privacy network, "like potential employers, college admission advisors or just people snooping," O'Keefe says. "We want to make sure they have control over who they're friending and that other people can't just peer onto their site and their posts." Also, advise your kids to never share their passwords Predators and strangers aren't the only "wrong people" to be aware of. Set up privacy settings with your child to avoid their account becoming accessible by people who are not part of their social or any other personal information and to only "friend" people who are actual friends. The Golden Rule Applies Online, Too Explain to your kids that their online identity is an extension of their offline identity. "Teach your kids how to treat others well online, the way they treat others well offline," O'Keefe says.

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