Kids and social networking: Are yours ready?

Social Networking and KidsI’m sure most of you are nervous about your tween or teen’s online habits. I’m sure most of you swore to yourself that you would not let your child run rampant online. I’m sure most of you never let your child use the public restroom on their own when they were 6, 7, 8, or even 9. Yet, I come across so many children at my kids’ school that are on Facebook in their mobile phones-not monitored. These are 9, 10, and 11 year olds! Did you say I am old fashioned and paranoid?

No, I’ don’t think I’m old fashioned and paranoid. I’ve just chosen to educate myself on the consequences of online behavior-whether regarding kids or grown-ups. I’ve decided to become an informed parent. I’ve worked this hard to raise socially and emotionally healthy children for these many years, I owe it to myself to continue making sure my children are well prepared and protected (as much protection as I can offer) for the inevitable consequences of being online.

I know I can’t wrap them in bubble wrap and keep them locked indoors (not that I do now) for many more years. But, it’s like talking about the birds and the bees. It’s unhealthy to tell them they were dropped on my doorstep by a brown lookin’ stork. Neither can you tell your 5 year old, well, you started growing in your mommy’s tummy because…can you imagine the shock (“You guys did what!?”)? You introduce the subject of sex according to age. There are age appropriate books to help you do that. And similarly, we can introduce kids to the wild west world of social networking-gradually.

I came across an article on a Yahoo network today about how kids feel about social networking. Very revealing confessions from teens. This is why our children need to be well prepared for social networking before you let ’em loose. Here is what one of them said,

“Sometimes I feel like I’m losing control. I want my parents to tell me to get off the computer. Actually, they would need to literally take the computer away because I can’t stop myself.” (a 15 year old girl)

What do you think? Are yours ready? Post your strategies for teaching your kids how to deal with online networking in the comments below.

Read the above mentioned article on Shine here.