The term social networking refers to online services such as YouTube, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and a range of online games such as RunScape and World of Warcraft.
All these and others allow users to communicate with each other online.
Social networking has many positive aspects to it. Students can keep in touch with friends and family and can post all sorts of information about themselves online. However there are risks that students and parents need to be aware of.
The key thing is for students to stop and think about how their behaviour will affect themselves and others when they are online. Recent newsletters have raised the issues of cyber-bullying and dealing with inappropriate content.
Tips for parents about social networking:
- If your child is using a social networking site and you are unsure about it, ask them to show you how it works.
- Help your child set an appropriate profile that does not include excessive personal information or material that is not appropriate to post online.
- Check the privacy settings for services.
- Talk to your child about what is responsible online behaviour.
- Try to balance the amount of time your child is online with other activities.
- Encourage your child to have more face?to?face contact with their friends.
Tips for students about social networking:
- Think before you hit send or post.
- Keep important personal information private. (Avoid posting phone numbers or home addresses).
- Avoid posting inappropriate material about yourself or friends. Once you post it you can lose control of it and it can come back in an unwanted way in the future. (You can’t control what your friends do with information you post).
- Use privacy settings to ensure only people who you accept as friends can see what you are posting.
- Do not respond to inappropriate or bullying messages. Instead make a copy and report them. Contact Cybersmart Online Help or Kids Helpline direct on 1800 551 800).
Source: Nagle College