Safe Social Networks for Kids January 03 2012

Social media and social networking has become more and more popular on account of Facebook and MySpace. Social networking sites have many different uses based on the interests of the user. Although Facebook and MySpace started out for friends to connect, users are now able to create groups to connect of those with similar interests and create business profiles to use being a marketing tool.

Originally these websites have been targeted towards college and high school graduation kids; however, the age demographic has been growing older. The phrase My Mom is on Facebook became a popular joke and even started an Saturday Night Live skit.

A Changing Demographic

The age of users has also been getting younger and younger in the past few years. Although there does exist an age limit of 13 years old on most social media sites, kids are still going on and creating accounts under a false age. This limit is necessary as a result of mature content and to safeguard kids from online predators. There are a number on social networking sites that are zeroed in on towards kids younger than 13 and their parents. There are several items to consider when choosing the right social networking website for young kids.

Evaluate the Website

Parents need to be aware of the websites their children are using and evaluate if these sites are safe. Parents need to determine how often this article and communication is monitored. The site should have safety and security rules and privacy policies posted on their site. Safe social networking sites should have TRUSTe Children’s Privacy close, ESRB Privacy Online Method seal, or VeriSign Secured seal visible to moms and dads. Parents need to discover if there are any inappropriate links or ads on the site. All content must be age appropriate in the event the site is specifically zeroed in on towards kids under age 13.

Ask Questions

After choosing the correct social networking site there are a few follow-up questions that moms and dads should ask. Parents need to ask their kids about what they would like to use the social networking site for and what content they are uploading and posting for their friends to see. Make sure they know the type of information that needs to be kept private such as where they go durring the day. Most sites have level of privacy settings and parents need to make sure that their profiles settings are set for strict privacy. This protects strangers from preying on small children. Parents should also create their own accounts to be able to monitor what their kids are posting and who they are friends with.

Benefits of Social Networking Sites for Kids

Kids social networking sites have many positive aspects and kids should not be discouraged from using these sites. Social networks allow kids to make friends with children from around the world and keep in touch with old friends who have moved away. Kids can join or create groups to connect with other people who share similar interests as them. By creating their own personal profiles, kids are able to express themselves in their own personal space and discover precisely what interests them. Several sites offer online educational tools to help kids with their studying. With the right blend of fun, learning, and parental involvement kids and tweens can enjoy themselves on social networking websites.

About the Author: This article was written by a writer for Kids Social Network.