Social Networking Advice

Social NetworkingSocial networking has become very popular, especially among adolescents. The sites range from older networks such as Migente, Blackplanet, Xanga, and Myspace to the newer and more popular ones, such as Facebook and Twitter. Social networks definitely have advantages; they allow you to keep in touch with family and friends both locally and internationally. They also help you reconnect with old friends. However, the truth is that social networking sites can be dangerous if the appropriate safety measures aren’t taken. For example, did you know that you really can’t take back anything once you post it on the internet? You may post a photo and later regret it and delete it, but your photo still remains in the archives of older versions of your profile. So anything you post on the internet stays online forever.

There are several safety measures that should be taken into consideration when you create a profile on a social networking site.

For example:

  • Make sure that you are comfortable with the content on your profile. Aside from your friends, parents, and relatives, your current or future employers, colleges, and teachers may be looking at your profile too.
  • Make sure that you set your privacy settings to “private” so that only your friends can view your profile.
  • Do not accept friend requests from people you don’t know.
  • Don’t meet up with anyone you’ve chatted with. Although it may seem like you know them because you’ve talked to them online for so long, you don’t! Therefore, you don’t know if they are lying about their identity. Most importantly, you don’t know their real intentions.
  • Don’t post personal information — full name, age, location, social security, phone number, etc., because all of this information identifies who you are. These are clues for predators.

Facebook has a new application that allows you to “check in” to places. Although this may seem cool, it can be very dangerous. By checking into places, you are becoming an easy target to be victimized. By identifying your location people will know where you are and can easily find you.

Twitter users update their statuses frequently and often tweet about where they are and what they are doing. This is also dangerous for the same reason; because you could give a lot more information than you might realize.


This entry is from the Winter 2011 edition of the CYWH Teen Talk Newsletter. Download the full pdf here.