5 Social Networking Rules Teens Shouldn’t Bother to Break

Something I thought might be useful for my readers; a basic list of rules to keep in mind as a teen using a social networking site. Click here.

I know rules suck, and are generally meant to be broken. But there are only 5 on the list and they’re things I feel are useful for teens. One of the most important rules on this list is to live. That means, stay true to yourself and don’t be sucked into a trend or fad just because you see your friends doing it on their Facebook pages.

😉

Teens, Be Aware of Facebook’s New Privacy Settings

Facebook has rolled out new privacy settings, making more of its users’ content searchable on the web. While the changes appear to be subtle, they have large implications on the future of Facebook and its users’ content. For teens, it’s important that they are aware of what the changes mean and how they can be affected by the new look and feel of Facebook.

As I mentioned, the changes are subtle. So the actual interface of Facebook won’t have noticeable changes. It’s what’s going on behind the scenes, to a certain extent, that parents and teens should be aware of. What Facebook aims to do is make its users’ profile content public by default. This is a large departure from the stance Facebook has previously taken with its default privacy settings, as Facebook was hailed as one of the most private social networks out there.

The upside is that Facebook still offers the privacy settings we’ve come to know and love–it’s just the default settings that have changed, dropping hints of an oncoming release of user data across the whole of the web. Make sure that teens are aware of the changes at Facebook, as more of their information may be made available to those on Facebook outside of their immediate friends, and eventually that information may be accessible to the entire web.

As teens are now growing up in a decidedly digital age, the ramifications of such public access to one’s past and present lives are still unknown. That means precautions need to be taken now in order to preserve their future safety.

For Facebook, the monetization of users’ accounts is impending–it’s a move that Facebook would eventually have to make if it wants to generate revenue from the free services it’s providing to users. See–nothing’s ever really free, is it?

I have a more in-depth look at Facebook’s possible perspective on the subject here, but I did want to make my readers aware of this, as several of you seem to appreciate my point of view on teen Internet usage.

Teen Girl Hides Facebook Date in Closet. For 8 Days.

A 13 year-old Detroit girl met a boy on Facebook and decided it would be a good idea to hide him in her closet. For 8 days. The boy, 19 years-old, was finally discovered by the girl’s mother at least a week after he first went into “hiding.”

There are so many issues with this particular circumstance that I don’t even know where to begin. Since very few details were released about this alarm-raising situation, I can only assume and comment so much. But I can’t help but to wonder how a barely-teen girl managed to get away with this. For at least a week.

The only other detail given was that the young girl admitted to having sex with the 19 year-old boy. Upon discovery the mother kept the boy in the house until police arrived, and he is being held on sexual misconduct charges. You see, the age of consent in the state of Michigan is 16. And three years is a long time to wait when you’re barely old enough to start high school. So you might as well just sit tight.

Girls, I know what you’re thinking. 19 years old doesn’t seem that bad, and meeting someone on Facebook is just like meeting someone at a high school football game. Only it’s not. Online social networks are great for keeping tabs on friends, looking at pictures of cute boys and virtually stalking them by constantly checking their status updates. They are not great, however, for finding people to meet in real life. Not when you’re only 13.

And moms, I know what you’re thinking. Facebook is a dangerous place for your teenage daughter to socialize, and it can lead to adverse behavior like sneaking boys into the house and hiding them in the closet. Well, that’s true, if your daughter is inclined to do these kinds of things. And that is a very scary thought.

There’s no real way to provide a resolution for the problem, because each situation is different. There’s no blanket answer on how to monitor or control teens’ actions on social networks such as Facebook. There’s also no real way of conveying the true dangers of meeting strangers in real life, based on initial contact that was made online.

All I can really say is pursuing a halfway decent relationship with your teen daughter is a good place to start. Parents are no longer naive to the ways of the online networking world, and ensuring that your teen daughter isn’t naive either is a necessity in today’s world. However you decide to handle these lessons from a parenting perspective is up to you as a parent, but teaching teens the etiquette of online socializing is a valuable lesson that will carry over into the workplace and beyond.

And feel free to check the kids’ closets every now and again. They’re perfect hiding places, you know.

image credit: xJenniferx

Teens Can Learn from Obama’s Inability to Twitter

First amendment rights is a topic near and dear to many people, and this is reiterated to me every time I find myself mentioning the topic in a blog. For teens and young adults in particular, the topic has been an area of interest, and I’m so glad to know that high school and college students are taking the topic seriously.

As an avid social media user for 12 years and counting I find that I have a useful perspective on how maturity comes into play when it comes to online networking. That’s due to my own personal experiences as an ex-teen, and learning the consequences of using social media to flex my first amendment rights. Some lessons have been harder than others, but I continuously see social media as being an excellent way for teens and young adults to both learn from my experiences as well as their own.

Social media is an interesting and currently necessary way in which we share our thoughts and promote the manifestation of our American culture. While our culture isn’t perfect, it is pretty cool. President Obama presented some tidbits of his own regarding this very topic when speaking with a group of students in Shanghai, China this week. I thought it was a relevant addition to the discussions that have recently been attracting a great deal of attention on my personal blog here, so I invite you all to check out an article I recently wrote for SodaHead regarding this very issue. Thanks to all my readers, and please don’t hesitate to leave comments here or on SodaHead to further the discussion!