Most youngsters know a lot about FaceBook, MySpace and other internet social networking sites. But many parents still have a lot of questions about how they operate and whether they should allow their children to access those sites. Jonathan Carroll, an education consultant from suburban Buffalo Grove has some information for parents.
Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace allow people who may share a common interest to connect (former classmates, work colleagues, etc.).
Allow people to post information about each other, chat, play games, etc.
Have become very popular amongst all age groups.
Impact on Students
Allow students to connect with other classmates and gather information on school.
Central places for a student to find out what is going on socially.
Will allow a parent to keep track of child's activities, friends, etc.
Might allow parents to connect with other parents in the community and monitor what children are doing.
Catching up with old friends.
Suggestions for Parents
Place the family computer or laptop in a central location of the house (kitchen, family room, etc.) where the monitor faces out and parents have the ability to monitor a child's activities. If a parent feels that a child is abusing a site and the child owns a laptop, a parent should hold onto the laptop at night or when it may not be possible to monitor a child.
Site blockers and parental control software are available.
Join the sites and insist that you become one of your child's "friends". Monitor how your child is using the sites.
Be sure to explain to your child that these sites are considered public domains. Pictures, statements and other information posted will be read by others. Additionally, schools are now monitoring these sites for suspicious and dangerous activities and will get involved if needed.
Monitor cell phone usage. These sites are now available on many cell phones, so be sure to monitor your child's data use if a concern arises.
For more information, contact Jonathon Carroll, Carroll Educational Group, P.O. Box 6246 Buffalo Grove, IL 60089; 847.769-5569 or www.carrolledu.com.