Social Networking Parent Resources

We offer a collection of various online resources, which provide cyber-parenting tips.

With regard to social networking sites, the first and foremost piece of advice is open and honest parent-child communication. Parents and guardians are advised to ask if a child or teen has a profile on a social networking site such as MySpace. If so, express an interest in viewing the site, perhaps the next day, to allow some self-policing of the content. Discuss the contents, and especially check to be sure the site doesn't divulge personal contact information. Express your valid concerns for your child's safety, and let them know you plan to visit the site periodically.

Family discussions and informal agreements about online activities are advised. This is what online social expert Howard Rheingold refers to as the media talk. If a more formal agreement is desired, there are a few resources in this section, which provide suggested wording.

If there is some reason to believe a teen may not be forthcoming about a social networking site profile, steps may be taken to search for an account and to delete an underage account. (See Questions about myspace.com and what to do if you have a problem.)

This selection of Web-based resources is provided for further information:

CyberAngels: Internet Safety for Families
This site is a great resource for parents and includes links to articles on Parenting your Online Child, Children and Social Networking, Tips for Parents, Parental Control Software, Cyberbullying, and an Internet Safety Contract.
NetSmartz Workshop
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's Cybertipline is linked, along with additional information for parents. Also available is the NetSmartz Internet Safety Pledge for Middle & High School students, along with online acronyms. The pledge is also available for younger students at this site, along with K-12 versions in Spanish.
Social Networking Sites: A Parent's Guide
The OnGuard Online site sponsored by the federal government and the technology industry provides practical tips for parents in assisting their kids in using social networking sites safely. Included on this site are several games and interactice quizzes to inform students on potential online dangers.
Educational Cyberplayground
Find the tools that a parent needs to supervise and keep children and teenagers safe on the Internet. This site contains information about social networking, filtering software, blogs, chatrooms, mobile phones, podcasting, and a short list of dangerous sites.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: Help Delete Online Predators
This site includes a great section on How to Talk to Your Kids about better protecting their online lives. An excellent brochure on Teen Safety on the Internet Highway is available to download in English and Spanish. An Internet Safety Quiz for Adults & Kids is linked, as well as valuable online lingo! True stories are also shared on this site.
The Center for Innovation in Engineering & Science Education: Internet Safety for Teachers and Students
This site contains a variety of links to resources for online safety and Internet safety software. Among them are Parents' Guide to the Internet , a U.S. Department of Education website, which also reinforces the Internet's instructional benefits and A Parents' Guide to the Internet , containing complete text of a book written by Parry Aftab. (After linking to this site, this is found under Site Contents Quick Guide.)
Cyberbullying
This site is intended to mobilize educators, parents, students, and others to combat online social cruelty. The site is provided by the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use (CSRUI). It has useful links to both educators' and parents' guides to cyberbullying, with tips for prevention, detection, and intervention.
How My Space Works: A Guide for Parents
This MSNBC Dateline site contains a step-by-step guide to signing up and searching for profiles on MySpace. The various steps and segments of information are activated by clicking on the red bulleted headings in the left column.
What you don't know can hurt kids: Parents must understand online tools to protect their children
This article contains Internet safety tips for parents from the Wired Safety organization. MSNBC Correspondent Bob Sullivan reminds us that the real problem for kids may begin not with information coming into the computer but with information going out of the computer, what a teen writes in an e-mail, posts to a bulletin board or writes in a chat room.
Key to protecting kids online? Talk!
This is an informative article with a video clip of Online Safety Tips for Parents from the CBHS News Early show, April 5, 2006. Perry Aftab, Executive Director of wiredsafety.org, speaks with Julie Chen about the steps parents need to take to protect their children from online predators. Also included is Larry Magid's podcast interview with Ernie Allen of the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, who testified before Congress and has advice for parents.
FBI: A Parent's Guide to Internet Safety
This FBI website includes a general introduction for parents as well as a listing of warning signs for a child endangered online, preventative measures for keeping children and teens safe online, and general FAQs.
How to monitor the kids from online social perils?
In this report by Janet Kornblum of USA Today, Perry Aftab and others advise parents to use a balanced approach - with a recommended first step of asking to see their teen's online profile. Also advised for some parents is beginning to learn more about technology from their kids!
A MySpace cheat sheet for Parents
This site provides a short FAQ section, based heavily upon an interview with UC Berkeley researcher Danah Boyd, who discusses her findings from a two-year ethnographic study of the MySpace phenomenon.
Questions about myspace.com and what to do if you have a problem
This article cites two methods of closing a MySpace account belonging to an underage minor. It refers to a newly posted set of safety tips on the MySpace site. Also shared is a listing of what constitutes too much information in a profile!
Parental Tips on Cell Phone Safety
Connect with Kids website provides tips from Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker on strategies for setting ground rules and expectations on appropriate cell phone behavior to keep teens out of digital dangers such as "sexting."