Friday, August 28, 2015

Safe social network tips for teens

More than 60 percent of American teens have at least one profile on a social networking site, and many spend more than two hours a day on social networking sites, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Like many activities, social networking sites offer both opportunities and risks for teens, and parents need to help their children use these sites wisely, the academy advises.

Safe social network tips for teens

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If you have kids, you know they spend an amazing amount of time on Facebook and other social networks. Here are some tips from HealthDay on keeping your teens social networking activity safer:

(HealthDay News)—More than 60 percent of American teens have at least one profile on a social networking site, and many spend more than two hours a day on social networking sites, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Like many activities, social networking sites offer both opportunities and risks for teens, and parents need to help their children use these sites wisely, the academy advises.

Potential benefits include: staying connected with friends; developing new social contacts with peers who have similar interests; sharing self-expression such as music, artwork and political views; and development and expression of individual identity.

Possible risks include: cyberbullying; sharing too much personal information; vulnerability to predatory adults; regrets about sharing certain photos or videos; exposure to large amounts of marketing that may not be age-appropriate; identity theft and reduced physical activity.

Parents can help children use social networking sites safely and appropriately and should have an open discussion with their children about the topic, the academy advised in a news release. Parents should suggest that children:

  • Restrict access to their page to keep control of their information.
  • Keep their full name, address, telephone number, social security number and bank or credit card number to themselves.
  • Post only information/photos/videos they are comfortable with everyone seeing.
  • Talk to their parents before considering a face-to-face meeting with anyone they meet online and consider the potential risks of such meetings.

Parents need to establish rules about the use of social networking sites, how Internet usage will be monitored, and what happens if usage interferes with family time or other social activities, the academy suggests.

More information

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation offers a parent's guide to Internet safety.

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The Healthy Kids blog is your window into the latest news, research and advice around children's health. Learn more about our growing list of contributors here.

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Anna Nguyen Healthy Kids blog Editor
Sarah Levin Allen, Ph.D., CBIS Assistant Professor of Psychology at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Stephen Aronoff, M.D., M.B.A. Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Temple University Hospital
Peter Bidey, D.O. Medical Director of Family Medicine at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Christopher C. Chang, MD, PhD, MBA, FAAAAI, FACAAI Associate Professor of Medicine in division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology at UC Davis
Katherine K. Dahlsgaard, Ph.D. Lead Psychologist of The Anxiety Behaviors Clinic at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Gary A. Emmett, M.D., F.A.A.P Director of Hospital Pediatrics at TJU Hospital & Pediatrics Professor at Thomas Jefferson Univ.
Magee DeFelice, M.D. Division Chief of Allergy and Immunology at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
Hazel Guinto-Ocampo, M.D. Chief of Pediatric Emergency Services at Nemours duPont Pediatrics/Bryn Mawr Hospital
Rima Himelstein, M.D. Adolescent Medicine Specialist at Crozer-Keystone Health System
Jessica Kendorski, PhD, NCSP, BCBA-D Associate Professor in School Psychology/Applied Behavior Analysis at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Anita Kulick President & CEO, Educating Communities for Parenting
Janet Rosenzweig, MS, PhD, MPA VP for Programs & Research for Prevent Child Abuse America
Beth Wallace Smith, R.D. Registered Dietitian at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Emiliano Tatar, M.D. Pediatrician at Einstein Healthcare Network Roxborough Plaza
Jeanette Trella, Pharm.D Managing Director at The Poison Control Center at CHOP
W. Douglas Tynan, Ph.D., ABPP Director of Integrated Health Care for American Psychological Association
Flaura Koplin Winston, M.D., Ph.D. Scientific Director of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention
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