Today’s Guest Post is from Tshaka Armstrong, Founder and CEO of Digital Shepherds.
I found Tshaka on Twitter and he is one of the top internet safety advocates I follow closely. Tshaka takes a hands on approach and his workshops and seminars provide hands on solutions for your online concerns. He takes you through the steps needed to set up privacy options for online profiles and parental controls for computers, online game systems and digital devices.
Tshaka and I know that many parents are overwhelmed with today’s technology. Even though we research this topic every day, it is difficult for us to stay on top of the latest online risks and trends. I rely on a network of wonderful internet safety advocates, including Tshaka, that share information and help me stay up to date. I hope to include Tshaka as one of CyberSafeFamily’s regular Guest Posts.
by Tshaka Armstrong and originally posted on April 20, 2011.
Yesterday Facebook debuted it’s revamped family safety center, giving parents of some of the 600 million users who are in the 13-17 age group greater resources for navigating the world of social networking, Facebook style. If you’re a regular reader here at Digital Shepherds online, you may already be familiar with many of the tips Facebook shares with parents in a special section of the family safety center aimed at, you, the parent. If your child has been through our Tech-Connected Teen assembly then they’re definitely knowledgeable of many of the things that the family center discusses in the section aimed at teens.
Putting the information online in one place is definitely a great step in the right direction and Facebook stepping up to meet the ever-evolving landscape of the social interwebz is absolutely necessary for a site with so many children on it. There are still things I don’t like about some of the products the site has, like Places (you can read my take on that here), but that’s why it is so important for parents who allow their children to have a Facebook page to be aware of what’s going on on that site and how their children are using it. Facebook is like a town… it’s an online community and just like in your own towns, you wouldn’t just allow your young children to roam freely unchecked and Facebook isn’t the place to allow it either.
Make some time to sit down and look at the expanded social reporting features (translation=features on posts, comments and “apps” which allow users to “report” inflammatory, offensive and cyberbullying behaviors), the section for parents, teens and educators (they even have a section for law enforcement). As always, above and beyond what Facebook has stated in their family safety center (particularly for young users):
- Always assume that anything you post to the social networking sites, including Facebook, is public.
- Personally, I don’t think young users should be utilizing Facebook Places. Why? See the first point.
- Instead of Facebook, have your tweens and teens check out other social networking sites specifically designed for children t(w)eens. Among our favorites are YourSphere and Togetherville.
- They say it in the parent center, but it bears repeating… TALK, TALK, TALK. It is social networking and therefore there is social interaction involved. Children need your guidance and modeling when it comes to interacting with others in their world… online and offline.
Digital Shepherd’s original post can be found by clicking on the link, “Digital Shepherds, Facebook New Family Safety Resources for Families“.
About Digital Shepherds
Helping families cross the digital divide, that’s what we do at Digital Shepherds.
To bring as much equipment to our workshops as we are able and actually SHOW parents how to set these gadgets up to protect their children. We are all about the “live demo” and not just notes and hand-outs. We are a mobile parental lab AND lecture.
To erase the fear and apprehension parents often experience as their children begin to use the internet and communications devices by equipping them with the tools to raise responsible, ‘net savvy citizens.
To truly connect with America’s youth, inspiring them to take ownership of internet and communications technology through various assemblies and curricula which stress early education in internet safety, digital and media literacy and digital abuse prevention (coming soon!). It is their future and they respond positively to a message of personal responsibility, expectation and empowerment.
To better prepare educators to handle the changing digital landscape in their classrooms.
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