Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Is Your Kid Sharing Too Much on Facebook?

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

Not long ago I saw something on Facebook that parents should know about.

Some middle-school kids, who may not necessarily list where they live on their profiles, are joining Facebook  groups with names like “Run Day at ______ Middle School Sucks.” Or “Swim P.E. at ______ Middle School Sucks.”

Should 12- and 13-year-old kids be on Facebook in the first place? Probably only with their parents’ knowledge and supervision. Why? Because they don’t always think about the logical consequences of their actions.

No child should be this easily identified online, especially when it comes to where they live and what school they go to. I looked at the profiles of some of these kids (many of which were public and not protected; another issue for kids this age), and I was amazed at how much personal information they gave out, either in their profiles or through the groups they joined.

If your kid is on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or some other social-networking site, make sure you check out his or her profile, posts, tweets, etc. regularly. If your child doesn’t want to friend you on Facebook, insist on knowing her password and let her know that you’ll be checking out her Facebook page from time to time to make sure she is not endangering herself or her friends by giving out too much information.

If your child posts videos on YouTube, make sure he doesn’t identify where he lives, where he goes to school, etc.

Talk with your child about being safe on the Web, and about Internet predators. We all watch the news and we all hear about kids being contacted by people who should not be targeting kids.

If you wouldn’t want your 13-year-old daughter telling a 40-year-old male stranger where she attends 7th grade, then you’ll want to make sure she isn’t doing exactly that — without intending to — online.

10 Tips for New Highschool Freshmen

Friday, September 10th, 2010

I’m jazzed to be able to introduce a new blogger — and her first guest post — today. Keira Jett is a junior in high school and she has a great set of parents and a good head on her shoulders. She’s also a terrific writer. I asked her for her advice for incoming high school freshmen, and she was kind enough to share some great tips that can only come from having been there — recently. (She even has a pensive “writer” headshot.) Take it away Keira!

10 Tips for High School Freshmen

1. Find a balance. I am sure you’ve all heard that countless times, but it’s essential to be balanced. You shouldn’t be sitting at home all day doing nothing but homework, but you also shouldn’t be doing extra-curricular activities instead of homework, either. If you can’t find a balance, you’ll end being pretty stressed out.

2. Be careful with your classes. If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to talk to your teacher and your parents. If you wait too long, it will be very, very hard to save your grade(s). Trust me, I know this from experience.

3. Remember that the best thing about high school is the number of options you have. If you see something you like, go for it! If you like music, you can be in choir or band or orchestra. If you like sports, go out for soccer or baseball. If a club sounds interesting, join it.

4. MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR STUDENT ADVISER. When things get tough at school, your advisor is your greatest ally. Go in and meet with him or her during the first few weeks of school. Introduce yourself and take the time to get to know her or her.

5. Find your comfort zone. High school is all about pushing yourself, but you can’t push your limits if you don’t know what they are. If you find yourself in any position where you don’t feel right, leave. Change the situation so that you’re not uncomfortable. If you don’t like how things are with your friends, take a break from them for a while. Sit with other people for a few days; you might find you like your new friends better. If you find yourself tired or unhappy with your sport or extra-curricular activities, find out why that is and change it.

6. Be friends with your parents. I’m sure you’ve heard that many times, but they do want to help you. I know that sounds strange to some of you, but it’s true. They want your high school experience to be as rewarding as possible. And here’s a secret: They went through school, too. They know what’s it’s like to be stressed out by everything, and they often have good advice to give you.

7. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT get caught up in crazy drama. Don’t play the games. Don’t gossip, don’t encourage rumors. Don’t spend all your time and energy thinking about a boyfriend or girlfriend, or the boy/girl you like, or your friends’ relationships or any of that. You can pay attention, you can be involved, but don’t let it take over your life. I promise, it will not turn out well.

8. Find what you’re good at. Then excel. If you like writing, sign up for a creative writing class. If you’re good with numbers, take the advanced math class. If you’re a great singer, set your goal to be at the top of the choir department. Just go for it.

9. Find a balance with schoolwork and Facebook. Maybe you shouldn’t go on Facebook until your homework is done for the night. If you find that you’re checking the clock and it’s already nine and you only have one assignment done because Facebook is on your computer screen, then maybe you’ve got a bit of a problem. I know that finding out what’s going on can seem super important, but when you have to walk into class without your homework done, or with it done but with only three hours of sleep, you’ll regret being online for so long.

10. Settle in. Don’t think you have to change yourself at all to match what other people want. Don’t take ceramics because all your friends are taking it if you really like wood shop. Take wood shop, and you’ll find friends there with similar interests. Don’t try to fit in. Just be you, and the right people will find you.

Check out Our New Facebook “Welcome” Page

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

The wonderfully talented Lucy Felton Banta and her creative partner, Alison Pergola Savoie, have created a welcome landing page for our Parent Talk Today fan page, complete with video.

If you’re not already a fan, this link will take you right to the welcome page. If you’re a fan, just click on “Welcome!” in the page menu to see it.

Thanks, Lucy and Alison! And thanks to all of our “fans” out there!

Are You Friends With Us On Facebook?

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

We are having such a good time with our Parent Talk Today friends and fans on our Facebook page, and we just hit 200 friends there! Have you joined us?Lots of fun discussions going on there.

If you’re reading this on the blog, just hit the button on the left sidebar. If you’re reading PTT on your favorite parenting magazine’s website, just go directly to the site and click on “like.” We’ll see you there!

Is It OK to Post Photos of Other People’s Kids on Facebook?

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

I need your opinion, friends. Is it OK to post a Facebook photo of your kid, or of you and your kid, if other kids are in the background of the photo? I’m thinking ahead to 8th grade promotion and I’m not sure where to draw the line.

The same question would apply to posting team sports photos, etc. I see people doing it a lot, but I wouldn’t want to upset other parents. If it’s a case where I know the parents, I can just ask, of course. But what about a graduation photo with kids in the background whom you don’t even know?

I’m sure a lot of us have the same concern, so it seems like a good topic to talk about here. What do you think?

Thanks for your comments!

P.S. Here’s Matt at his preschool “graduation” with his wonderful teacher, Miss Amanda.

Microsoft Kin: Do You Want Your 14-Year-Old Daughter Watching These Ads?

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Thanks to Donna Tapellini over on the Consumer Reports Electronics Blog for raising a potential red flag for parents with her post today: More Videos for Microsoft’s Kin Phones Raise Concern.

(Full disclosure: I’m the social-media reporter for Consumer Reports. But I’m also a parenting blogger, and the mom of a teenager, and you’d better believe I’d be talking about this and linking to this post in any case.)

Just weeks ago, Microsoft pulled its promotional Kin video, after Consumer Reports questioned whether the ad was promoting sexting. Now they’re back, and I’m disturbed by what I’m seeing in these ads, which are being shown on Facebook and You Tube.

In the ads, Rosa Salazar, a young woman from Brooklyn (she looks to be no older than 20), makes a cross-country trek to meet, in person, some of the people she’s friended on Facebook and other social networks. Of course, many of these “friends” are total strangers.

And don’t even get me started on the stalker-like behavior encouraged by the second ad, below…

Is Microsoft being irresponsible here? Do you plan to talk with your tween and teens about such ads? Watch the videos here. Check out Donna’s post, which also includes some thoughts on this ad campaign from Jen Singer over at Then let us know what you think.

Are You Talking With Your Teen About STDs?

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

I was flipping through the newspaper at breakfast recently and I about choked on my toast when I saw this: About 1 in every 4 or 5 young people in Los Angeles County, California (where a recent study was conducted) contracted a sexually transmitted disease in 2005. Epidemiologists at the Public Health Institute in Oakland, California (who conducted the study) were even taken by surprise at the numbers, saying “this was a shock.”

Especially scary was the large number of new cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea, which are associated with HIV and are considered to be among the most serious STDs, the researchers say. The reason for those numbers? Too many teens and young adults today are having unprotected sex.

One bit of good news is that human papillomavirus — which can lead to cervical cancer — is now largely preventable with a vaccine. The bad news is that we’re apparently doing a lousy job of convincing teens to use condoms if they choose to have sex.

Yep, it’s a tricky topic for parents. If you talk about safe sex and condom use with your child, are you encouraging too-early experimentation? If you skip the condom talk and go straight to “just say no,” will your child be dangerously uninformed and ill-prepared and end up with an STD, pregnant or emotionally messed up (or all three)? It’s enough to tempt any parent to avoid bringing up the subject at all. But we can’t duck this one. Too much is at stake.

So what’s the answer?

I don’t know if there is one absolutely right answer. As those in the abstinence movement remind us, condoms sometimes fail, and just
saying no to sex is the only surefire way to avoid pregnancy, STDs and heartache. But while some parents (and teens) swear by the current
“purity” movement, I’m afraid that just preaching abstinence results in too many teens having unprotected sex because “it just happened.” To
have used a condom, many have said after the fact, would have been to admit that they were actually planning to have intercourse.

Speaking of abstinence (or lack thereof), one look at You Tube or Facebook makes it pretty clear that alcohol is having a huge affect on
teen sexual behavior, too. It always has, of course, but now our kids can upload photos of themselves partying and posing suggestively, making that whole scene — including “hooking up” — even more alluring. And there’s nothing like downing a few Jello shooters at a party to lower a kid’s inhibitions and to make “just saying no” seem like a rather quaint notion.

As the parents of a child who will enter high school in September, my husband and I are looking at the teen years ahead and we’re trying to teach
our son to respect himself, to respect girls and to make good choices that will lead to a wonderful future. We want him to understand that
sex is natural, normal and wonderful — but that it can lead to devastating consequences if he jumps in too soon.

Does that preclude talking about safe sex? Not in my book.

Join the Conversation on the Parent Talk Today Facebook Fan Page!

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Are you a mom-to-be with restless leg syndrome? Do you think the minimum driving age for teens should be raised? What do you think of the local parenting magazine in your community?

We’re talking about all that and more over at our Parent Talk Today  fan page. Stop by, become a fan and jump into the conversation!

Are Teens Getting Tired of Social Media?

Monday, January 4th, 2010
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook

Facing a time crunch with homework, tests and other real-world activities, some teens are just saying no to Facebook and other social-media temptations, according to a recent New York Times article.

Some are going so far as to ask a friend to change their Facebook password to help them avoid the siren song of social media.

According to the article, Facebook will not reveal how many users have deactivated service, but Kimberly Young, a psychologist who is the director of the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery in Bradford, Pa., said she had spoken with dozens of teenagers trying to break the Facebook habit.

“It’s like any other addiction,” Young says. “It’s hard to wean yourself.”

Are your kids cutting back on social-media use? How about yourself? Is it time for a reality check regarding how much of our lives we’re willing to devote to the social-media beast?

Parenting Bloggers, You’re No Dummies (But You Might Want to Read This Book)

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

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If you’re a parenting blogger like me, you may not think you need to know all that much about marketing. But author Shiv Singh has something for all of us in his new book, Social Media Marketing for Dummies.

You’ll learn how to better reach your audience via Facebook and Twitter, you’ll learn about online influencers and you’ll figure out how to make the most of YouTube. That’s just for starters.

Is this book aimed squarely at parenting bloggers? Nope. But there are definitely some gold nuggets in this book with your name on them. Check it out.