Within the past 10 years the use of social media has skyrocketed. Everyone from kids to the elderly are socially connected through facebook, twitter, instagram, and tumblr to name a few. Facebook was originally for college students, but once they made it available for everyone it suddenly became the place to be which brings up the question, who are your kids talking to? Anyone can make a facebook page, you can go to google type a few words into the search bar and a picture will come up. You take that picture, upload it to facebook, add a fake name and now 47 year old James from San Diego is 15 year old Jim from Los Angeles. Parents need to monitor their kids use of social media to make sure that they are not giving out personal and private information to strangers over the internet. For example, a teenage girl could receive a friends request from “Jim” and befriend him, start talking to him and getting to know “Jim” and suddenly she’s telling him where her school is, what time she goes in and what time she leaves, what time her parents get home from work. She could also tell him what periods between classes she is free.
Parents need to sit down with their children and explain to them what sort of information is ok to make available online and what information is not ok. Parents should also monitor how long their kids are online using social media. Although today it’s harder to keep track because if they’re not at home on their computer on Facebook, they’re at the mall on their phone checking in on facebook telling everyone on their friends list that “Hey! I’m at the mall! I’m in this location” and that is all “Jim” needs know to find her. Kids need to understand that it’s not ok to give out personal and private information to anyone, especially over the internet because that can come back to hurt them in the end.