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Children and Social Networking

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Children and social networking

Social networking sites have become a common factor in the lives of children nowadays as communication is developing at the speed of light. More than half of the teenagers have been maintaining their profiles in one or more social networking sites and it has been reported that they spend at least two hours a day on these sites. As the name of these sites imply, social networking, there will be both benefits and pitfalls. Hence it is crucial that parents guide their children to use the sites in a wise manner. While it is important for the teenagers who use social networking sites to learn the ropes to be safe, the parents should also oversee them and the social networking sites should take up the responsibility of improving their safety standards as per the age of the users and be held accountable because social networking has come to stay.

First of all, the social networking sites help the users to stay connected to friends and develop new contacts with peers having similar interests. Besides, these sites enable the users to share content of political views, art work and even music and also help to develop and express individual identity during the process of interaction. At the same time, the user might encounter cyber bullying or sharing private information which makes the user vulnerable to adults who are pedophiles. At times, sharing a sensitive photograph or video might not be to the benefit of the user. The user might be exposed to inappropriate advertisements that might lead to regrettable curiosity and exploration. Sometimes, a criminal might steal his/ her identity and use of social networking sites will definitely reduce the time for physical activities necessary for healthy living.

Furthermore, parents need to be careful when their children either talk about social networking or discuss other friends who are not familiar to the parents. It is essential for the parents to discuss this issue with their children freely and in the right way. There are different ways to help the children. For example, parents can guide the children to keep their information in control by restricting access to their page. They should also be advised never to reveal their full name, address, telephone number, social security number and bank /credit card number. They should post only the information that they are comfortable to share with everyone and the parents should tell the children to inform them if they decide to meet anyone in person from their acquaintance online. Social networking cites are greatly accepted and the parents' help can enable the children avoid pit falls in their networking.

However, in a recent survey, it has been reported that most of the teenagers feel that the social networking make them more outgoing and confident. Only very few of the children felt differently. Moreover, the children also feel that their relationship with friends and



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