Host: What do parents need to know about social networking sites?
Nancy McBride: Social networking sites are extremely popular with kids today. It's a way for them to express their personal feelings and thoughts, to get together with their friends, to look at videos and pictures, to really interact in this environment, and it can be very, very positive. So, parents and guardians need to know what their kids are doing in social networking sites, how they operate, and how to safeguard their kids in this environment, so that they don t make mistakes and interact with people they shouldn t be interacting with.
One of my favorite stories is a mom who actually set up her own social networking page so that she could communicate with her kids and she could see what they were doing online and they could she was doing online. So, learn as much as you can about the social networking sites. Prohibiting your kids from going on them probably is not going to be effective, because they will find another way to gain access. So, set the rules, set the guidelines, set time limits, set rules on what could put online, what they shouldn t put online, and explain your kids what the ramifications are for their behavior and what is essentially a public environment.
The irony to me for many kids is they will put things online in social networking sites that millions of people have access to, yet they don t want their parent to see it. So, kids need to think about that, when I put something online, is this something that I would feel comfortable with anybody including my family members seeing?