Social Media And The Digital World Of Teens

Last week, I was featured in the Deseret News, one of the local newspapers in Salt Lake City, discussing kids, social media, and online safety. I’m pleased that people like what I have to say about keeping your kids safe online, because it’s such an important issue for me.

Libby, the producer from KSL News, gave my contact information to Lois Collins at the Deseret News after my Digital Divide interview on KSL Browser 5.0 aired. I spent some time with Lois on the phone, answering questions and discussing my opinions and advice on social media, online reputation, and safety for tweens and teens.

We talked about results of the Pew Internet And American Life Project (co-researched by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University). It was nice to be able to discuss the subjects as both a social media professional…and as the parent of a 12 year old daughter. Later in the day, photographer Jeffrey Allen came to my house to get some pictures of Rosie and me for the news story (whose photos I’ve posted here in this blog post).

From the news story:

Bullock has found online is a fun world for mom and daughter to do things together and learn about each other. She likes to see what her daughter “pins” on Pinterest. When she was using Instagram with vacation photos, Bullock said she helped Rosie set up her own account.

Bullock describes her daughter as responsible online and sensitive to things like vulgarity. They’ve had discussions about what might come back to haunt them when they apply to colleges or for jobs.

That’s an issue Bullock thinks about for herself now more than she did in the past. When she worked in a different field, she said, “I was more liberal (posting) about how I spent my weekends. She asks herself — and prompts her daughter: “Is this something you are comfortable with anyone in the whole world finding out about you? Forget privacy settings. If a friend’s privacy settings let the information about you out, would you care?” she asked. “It could be around forever.”

I think that as more kids gain access to smartphones, laptops, and other portable digital devices, this subject wil become more important for families to discuss together. I found this infographic on the subject helpful.

The digital world of teens

What are your thoughts on the subject? What do you allow your kids to do on electronic devices or online? Are you comfortable with your kids actions in the digital world?

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