Parents, do you know who your child is friending on Facebook? A new post from Hay There Social Media that addresses this important activity.
Hay There Social Media helps small business owners manage their online reputation. Our clients understand the value of a good reputation on both a professional level for their business and on a personal level. Many of our clients are also parents so we are often asked about online reputation management for children and teens. The Hay There Social Media team understands that reputation is only magnified through social networking and that’s why we believe it’s never too early to create a great online reputation!
In today’s blog post, we are sharing 4 specific RED FLAGS to watch for when it comes to monitoring your child’s activity on Facebook. We spend A LOT of time on social networking sites for clients so we’ve compiled insight to help you take an active role in monitoring your child’s online reputation before it can be compromised…or ruined.
1. How many Facebook friends does your child have? FB has a limit of 5000 friends. It is estimated by the FBI cyber investigations that 70% of youngsters will accept “friend” requests regardless of whether they know the requester. If your child is friends with over 500 people on Facebook, but goes to a school with only a few hundred students… RED FLAG! Kids should only send and/or accept friend requests from people they know in “real” life. Unfortunately, kids are prone to popularity contests and may only want to increase friend numbers without much thought to who they friend.
2. Did your child have 140 friends last week and now has 354 friends this week? RED FLAG! As mentioned in point #1, your child’s goal may be popularity due to peer pressure to accept friend requests (even when he/she doesn’t want to), but your goal should be safety. Accepting and sending so many friend requests at one time opens your child to spam, scams, and potentially individuals posing as people they are not. It’s ok to be the “meanie parent” and only allow friending in moderation.
3. Who are your child’s friends? Even friending those they know in real life can pose some problems. Young teens and tweens in many cases are “friending” their older sibling’s friends and vice versa… RED FLAG! This allows younger siblings access to more mature news streams and photos. This may even be an issue with adults you and your child know in real life. Do you allow your son/daughter access to adult conversations in real life? This may be reason to only allow your teen to friend those adults you know keep it “PG” on FB!
4. What is the gender/age/home city/school of the majority of your child’s friends? Is your child a 13 year old middle school girl, but the majority of her friends are college age boys? RED FLAG…. this example may be an extreme, but monitoring this information is a great snapshot of who your child is interacting with online.
Key thing to remember: You have control over who becomes a friend. You and/or your child can “block” other FB users from the account. This is recommended when they are “friend- requested” by a stranger, when someone they previously “friended” starts acting inappropriately or makes them uncomfortable, or if the “friend” falls into one of the RED FLAGS to watch for above!
For more information or help monitoring your child’s Facebook account contact Hay There Social Media.
Contributed by Hay There Social Media Team Member, Sheri Watkins.