We cannot ever fully protect our children but we can tell them the risks and empower them to make good choices.
Tell your child that imagine Granny is standing behind you and to never post anything that she would not be happy with; that somehting posted can never ever be taken down if others pass it on. Talk to them about Phoebe Prince and the importance of treating others with respect; and not standing by if others do not.
Open a Facebook account yourself to learn about it, so you can encourage them to use the Safety Controls, to use an appropriate photograph and to never ever post any personal information or engage in chat rooms. Here’s a link to staying safe http://www.facebook.com/safety/groups/parents/
I believe Facebook is best left until a child is thirteen – what do you think?
Belief is everything; so telling your child that you trust them to behave towards to others in a manner that is kind and respectful and treating your child with respect is crucial. Tell them that you love them and that they can always come to you with any problem; that you are always there for them; no matter what. A close relationship and good communication is key and negotiation as they go through the teen years. Interesting article in the Independent: http://alturl.com/ahorq
Boundaries around appropriate use of the Internet need to be set out in advance – so if your child chooses to break the rules; they know the consequences in advance. The computer needs to be in an central area that you can monitor them, and limits on the amount of time spent. Encouraging hobby’s and interests as much trouble in the teen years comes from an child with too much time and nothing to fill it.