Questions about Facebook and Parenting – ITRC Social Media Survey 2012

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Around every corner seems to be a different risk for children.  Parents are overwhelmed with finding ways to protect their children. The latest threat to the security of children has come in the form of their online and mobile activity.  Issues such as online bullying, sexting and identity theft have become serious risks to the safety of kids who are spending more and more time online. The introduction of Smartphones and their rising usage by young people has caused an even larger gap between what children do online and what their parents know they do.

This technology does not have to be detrimental to children.  It can help in ways we never dreamed possible; from encouraging learning to helping find lost individuals. In order for this to be the case though, we must understand how children and parents interact in relation to social media a mobile device usage.

The Identity Theft Resource Center recently launched a survey in order to understand what parents are doing to monitor their children’s social media and mobile activities. Due to this recent flurry of awareness around the risk to children online and on their mobile devices, parents are seeking knowledgeable advice on how to ensure the safety of their children.  The ITRC’s latest survey aims to do just that. ITRC is hoping to better understand the practices of parents and children in the social media / mobile devices sphere, so that they may develop a set of best practices to recommend to parents and children alike. A successful completion of the survey will give them the data they need to move forward with creating those best practices based on the reality of today’s parenting.

Of course they wanted to give survey takers some incentive for taking the time out of their day to complete the survey! So, in conjunction with the survey they launched a contest to win one of five $100.00 gift cards.  To enter the contest just visit the ITRC’s website and click on the Do You Have Children Who Use Social Media? link or click here to take the survey directly. The contest will run through May 31, 2012.  Five $100 prize winners will be announced and contacted on June 1, 2012.  The survey results will be released on the ITRC website shortly thereafter.

It is a whole new world out there for parents trying to make sure that their children stay safe and protect themselves from harm.  When that harm could be anything from sexual predators to college recruiters finding inappropriate pictures, the task seems daunting. Parents have to monitor not only who their child is talking with, but what they are saying… inside and outside of the home. Never has monitoring your child’s activities been more difficult, but it has also never been more important. And again we must realize that there can be wonderful progress to help children grow if the correct precautions for misuse are put into place. All of these ideas and may seem overwhelming. However, with enough research and people out there looking out for kids, it is a manageable task.

 

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Nikki Junker

Nikki Junker is Social Media Coordinator and Victim Advisor at The Identity Theft Resource Center. She specializes in Identity Theft on social networks and smartphones. She enjoys working one on one with victims of identity theft as well as researching and writing about preventative measures for consumers.