Social Networking Sites
Recent disturbing incidents involving Internet crimes against children have been prominent in the media. In some incidents, the crimes have involved suspects and victims who met each other via Internet social networking sites. Social networking sites are places on the Internet where people can meet one another, communicate and interact.
Social networking and communication are normal parts of the human experience. Young people are naturally curious about themselves, about others, and about the world and the sites permit them to reach out to others from around the globe, sometimes with tragic results.
Why are social networking sites popular?
Most social networking sites are free and supported by advertisers who hope users will buy products or services advertised on the sites. Young people who are curious and seeking relationships and new experiences visit the sites to find others.
How do the sites work?
Some sites are created to be used anonymously, which can add to the risk of using the app or site. It is important to research the apps and social networking sites you, your children, and your teenagers are using, and talk to them about safety measures and potential risks.
What are the dangers?
Those who misuse the sites may do so in many ways, including:
- Luring/enticement. Internet sexual predators and known sex offenders have used social networking sites to locate and lure victims.
- Identity theft. Criminals steal the identities of those who post personal information.
- Cyberbullying/harassment. Agitators post derogatory, hurtful or threatening information about others.
- Stalking. Stalkers can use personal information posted to sites to locate and pursue victims.
- Fraud schemes. Criminals who wish to defraud others of money or property can locate victims, gain their trust and then take advantage of that trust for criminal purposes.
- Inappropriate sexual content. Some users post sexually explicit information that is inappropriate for young computer users.
What tips will help my child avoid these dangers?
- Understand that all items posted can be viewed by others, including college admissions offices, parents and potential predators.
- Do not post personal images.
- Do not post personal information --- including full name, age or date of birth, home or business address, school name or grade.
- Do not post personal information regarding friends to your site or to their site.
- Do not post your calendar of upcoming events or information about your future whereabouts.
- Social Networking sites often have a minimum age necessary to create an account. Make sure you check the websites your children want to be a part of and see that they meet these requirements before allowing them to open a page.
Easy instructions for parents and kids to be safer on Facebook
- Log into your personal Facebook account. www.facebook.com
- At the bottom of your Home Page, click on the word “About”.
- From there, look on the left side for the word “Resources” and click.
- On this page, look at the “Need Help?” section. Here you will find a tab called “Security Page” that lets you know the latest tips on how to be safer on Facebook. Also you will see a tab that says “Facebook Safety Page” which will give you the most recent updates and feedback on safety issues.
Easy instructions for parents and kids to be safer on Twitter
- Log into your personal Twitter account. www.twitter.com
- Look to the right hand side on the bottom and click on the link that says “About”.
- From there, look to the left side and click on the “Safety” link.
- Here you will find information on how to report security issues you find on Twitter.
There are many social networking sites. Some of them are listed below: