Parent’s Guide to Social Networking Websites – Elf Knows It [ARCHIVED]

While social networking sites can be a great way for a person to increase their circle of friends, and get to know more people, There is also dangers involved in using these Social Networking Sites that need to be taken into consideration by parents.

If you think about it, In the real world wouldn’t you like to know where your kids are at a certain time?, who they’re talking to?, if they’re talking to the right people etc. These social networking sites act in the same way, You should be asking yourself all these questions about what their doing on these sites too.

While I’m talking about this, I’m aiming more at teens on social networking sites, Some sites are aimed at a younger age bracket,Under 13’s, But these sites offer protection and parents some piece of mind, there’s the Children’s On-line Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). It requires these sites to get parental consent before they collect, maintain, or use kids’ information. COPPA also allows parents to review their child’s on-line profiles and blog pages. But this is only in place for children under 13.

What are Social Networking Websites?

Social Networks Websites are based on the idea of building an on-line group of friends, sharing information such as pictures,blogs,comments and sometimes personal information. The term friend on these sites doesn’t really mean the same as you’d find it in the dictionary, ANY person you have contact with and is in your ‘contact list’ is your ‘friend’ on these sites, They can be real friends people know, sometimes friends of a friend, but sometimes they can be people they dont even know, people they found on the site, and the only information they know about this ‘friend is what they are given to them in the other persons profile’ For example what would you think if a random person stopped your children on the street and asked them for their name, address,e-mail, phone number, You wouldn’t be happy? But yet this is how some aspects of these sites work. But the users, (the teens) don’t really see it this way.

The Risks of using these sites?

The risks of these sites mostly fall into 3 sections:

  • ID theft, fraud and privacy abuses
  • cyber-bullying, cyber-stalking and harassment
  • sexual predators, con artists and sexual exploitation

Broke down the dangers look something like this:

  • Bullying, harassment,
  • Giving people who they don’t know personal information,
  • Putting images, videos on-line which would be unsuitable, and not knowing who could take and copy them,
  • Too much time on-line, Homework and physical excersize are usually put after their ‘Social Networking Time’
  • Being approached by on-line predators, who might try and talk them into a real life meeting,
  • Influenced by profiles of users who are into fast cars, drink, drugs etc,.
  • Many teens don’t know it, but by posting songs by their favourite artists and other copyrighted material, They are actually breaking the law. ,

Publishing information on-line:

Before teenagers post their pics,blogs and comments on these sites they need to realise that once its up, it out of their hands, people can copy, note, and keep them, Yes they could delete their own, but they can delete the copied ones!


The most popular social-networking websites among Irish teenagers
are Bebo (, MySpace (, Facebook
(, and Nimble ( But there are
many other websites, including Xanga, Friendster, and Faceparty.


A more detailed version will be online soon, This is just the starter to give parents an idea!

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