Social networking sites have become vastly accepted in today’s generation, leaving traditional networking in the dust for many young people. Social networking sites have been accepted into today’s culture not only because of America’s ever changing innovations in technology but, for their convenience as well. America’s youth have access to these networking sites at their finger tips, literally, with iphones, blackberry’s and other forms of hand held gadgets. According to Brian Solis.com, a site that tracks statistics on young people and their usage of social networking sites, determined that nearly 80,000 young Americans use and maintain a profile on popular sites such as Face book and MySpace. I believe that it is safe to say with St. Valentine’s Day quickly approaching these social networking sites are going to be thriving with young American’s looking for someone to share the special day with.
Although social networking via the internet today is just another norm, it is very important for Americans to take safety measures very seriously. If you’re a parent, it’s more important than ever to monitor your children’s usage of these sites very carefully, not only around the ever so popular Valentine’s ritual many young Americans enjoy celebrating, but at all times.
According to Salisburypost.com, posted on January 16th, 2010, 34 year Seth Hoyt of 375 Lowell St. in Reading, Mass. is being charged with statutory rape of a 14 year old girl who he met online. Investigator says he met up with the young girl at least five times where sexual acts have occurred. The girl’s mother reported Hoyt after he had dropped her off at her house post another meeting between the two. Captain John Sifford of the Rowan County Sheriff’s office said, "Certainly try to be aware of what your child is involved in on the computer and certainly try to monitor their use and monitor what they're doing, if they say they're going to be spending the night with a friend, confirm their story with parents and things of that nature." For more on the story go to: http://www.salisburypost.com/News/011610-cops-statutory-rape-charges
According to Manchester Evening News, a regional newspaper and website, posted on January 28th, 2010, written by John Scheerhout on February 28th, 2009, a father caught his minor daughter performing sexual acts online with a 43 year old man. While web chatting, the man exposed himself to the young girl several times and even convinced her to perform sexual acts on herself so that he could watch. After being arrested the man admitted to having regular contact with the young girl for quite some time. It was reported that girl now is traumatized from the incident and has experienced nightmares ever since. For more on this story go to: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/
Prevention is a key element in these cases. It is vital to your children’s safety to keep watch of what they are doing and who they are communicating with through these social networks. A few great safety tips or protecting your children are as follows…
- Talk to your children; keep an open and honest relationship with them.
- Make sure you create a comfortable environment where your children feel like they can confide in you.
- View your children’s profile pages.
- Create rules on internet usage, and sites.
Follow up on people that are on your children’s friend’s list by using a great site to track registered sex offenders, http://www.familywatchdog.us/ShowMap.asp?frm=0.
For more safety tips go to, http://www.wiredsafety.org/internet101/blogs.html.