In 2007, over 1,000 13 to 17-year olds were surveyed on their internet use and the statistics were staggering. 71% say they have a personal profile on a website and half of those say that they have posted pictures of themselves. Meanwhile, 25% report that their parents or guardians know "very little" or "nothing" about what they do on the internet (www.netsmartz.org).
The number two danger online is cyber-bullying; using different forms of technology to embarrass, ridicule, or hurt someone. 63% of kids state that they have been bullied or sent threatening messages online or through text, and 53% of kids report that they have said something hurtful online to other people (www.isafe.org). These statistics include social networking sites, texting and online gaming.
How can we help?
Talk to your child about what they are doing online and the importance of online etiquette. Remind them that if you wouldn't say something to someone in person, then you shouldn't say it online or through text either. Just like when talking to someone in person, when using technology kids should be mindful of the other persons' feelings and their own morals. Finally, discuss that the internet is a public forum and information posted can be accessed by anyone. Think before you post. Keeping computers in a common area and establishing rules for internet use can help monitor student use.
If your child receives hurtful messages: Stop, Block, Tell.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/parent-guide/parent-guide
Net Smart Teenz http://www.netsmartz.org
Parent Guide to Facebook www.safeteens.com
Wired Safety http://www.wiredsafety.org/parent.html
Internet Keep Safe Coalition www.ikeepsafe.org