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Is Your Tween Sneaking Onto Facebook?

Today's guest post comes from Staci Perkins, a tech-savvy mom of two social media-using teenage boys, a tween girl who’s constantly connected to her cell phone, and a fourth grade boy who is just venturing out to (cyber) space.

About a year ago, my then 10-year-old daughter wanted to get her own Facebook account. All of her friends had one, she exclaimed, so why couldn’t she?

Well, aside from the fact that Facebook provisions say no one under 13 is allowed to create an account, I just didn’t think she was ready for the journey into the cyberworld; especially its inappropriate content.

A few weeks later, one of my sons told me he found her profile on Facebook because she popped up on his page as someone he may know. Miss Sneaky used her real first name and my maiden name for her last name. She used the family dog as her photo or “avatar.” She was so busted.

Some preteens are getting their own social media accounts with their parents’ permission. Some, like my daughter, are sneaking on by fudging their ages, unbeknownst to parents at all – so little conversation is taking place about the risks of being on social networks. So what can we do?

SafetyWeb can help parents know instantly when their child creates a Facebook account, as long as the parent knows their child's email address (parents can monitor multiple, unlimited email addresses).

Explain to your child why he or she isn’t permitted to create an account. Be prepared to explain why other parents let their children do so. Explain the risks and throw in some cautioning words about online privacy settings too. And sometimes, “because I said so” works when reasoning won’t.

We all know that preteens never lie. But just in case, SafetyWeb provides a proactive solution to monitor their online behaviors. Just in case.

Staci Perkins is a tech-savvy mom of four who frequently busts her kids online. Find her on Twitter: @perkista.

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1 Responses »

  1. Great post. Kids are sneaky! Safety Web is a great way for parents to monitor if their kids are making profiles without their parents knowledge. Communication is also key in this process. You'll always get the "but the other kids are doing it" reasoning, but so long as parents can give solid reasoning why they shouldn't be on these sites yet, then hopefully the child will understand. My biggest tip for prepared for this convo! If they say "well Betsy has a site why can't I?" Don't respond with.." because I say so". It won't work :)

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Welcome to the SafetyWeb blog. We set this up so that our employees and guest bloggers would have a forum to discuss pertinent and emerging topics related to online safety. We will cover topics such as Online Friends and Online Reputation Management. Our goal is to empower parents and protect kids and teens. To that end, we will often point you to any of our own internal reference articles, as well as external resources that we find useful. If you have any suggestions for topics you would like us to address, please send us an email. In the meantime, we hope that you enjoy this blog, our free resources, and the SafetyWeb product. Here's to online safety!

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