Are Facebook and Twitter appropriate for kids?

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Are Facebook and Twitter Safe for Your Kids?
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Are Facebook and Twitter appropriate for kids?

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When your child asks you for a Facebook or Twitter account and you're not ready for them to have one, but all of their friends have one and they're the only one that doesn't, you need to tell your kid simply the truth and you need to share with them three things. Let them know, number one, that Facebook has been charged by the Federal Trade Commission for numerous and deceptive privacy practices in regards to consumers' privacy. So certainly, if we can't trust Facebook with an adult's privacy, we certainly can't trust them with yours. Next, let them know that Facebook, while it's a great tool that adults can benefit from, it was created by adults and for adults. And as a result, they frankly have allowed content that's really not appropriate for kids to exist on the site. you could put it in perspective and say, "Hey, if Facebook was a movie, it would be rated R or NC-17." They have actually allowed sites like Pre-teen Hardcore, the North American Man-Boy Love Association, and they've allowed the distribution of, unfortunately, child pornography on their site. They have social games as well that require members to be 18 years of age or older to use due to the violent content. Twitter, right alongside Facebook, unfortunately allows pornographic and violent accounts to be a part of the Twitter network. So finally, remind your kids of the simple fact that when they wanted to ride a bike for the first time, you didn't buy them the bike and then drop them off on the freeway for them to learn to ride. Instead, you brought the bike home, maybe there were training wheels, then there was a helmet, and they learned to ride safely and responsibly at home. So with social media, the same is true. Tell your kids that there are kid-specific social networks like Yoursphere where privacy is a priority, safety is a priority, and they can have an age and content appropriate experience. After that, when they've had the chance to learn how to use social media safely, they can then graduate on as an older teen for the adult intended networks like Facebook or Twitter.

Watch Mary Kay Hoal's video on Are Facebook and Twitter appropriate for kids?...

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Expert Bio

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Mary Kay Hoal

Family Internet Safety Expert

Mary Kay Hoal is a nationally recognized expert on children’s online safety. She is the founder and president of Yoursphere Media Inc., which focuses on the family and publishes the kids’ social network Yoursphere.com. Mary Kay also offers parents Internet-safety information and tips at YoursphereForParents.com. She has been profiled on CNN, Fox & Friends, FOX Business, E!, Lifetime TV, ABC News Now, and The Reader's Digest. Mary Kay is also part of the "Web Avenger" team for ABC's 20/20.

In 2012, Mary Kay founded The Yoursphere Media Foundation and Coalition for Internet Safety Education and Reform (FCISER), which is dedicated to creating a network of community educators that provide children, their parents, schools and communities, with the necessary skills, knowledge and tools they need to have a positive and safer digital experience.

Mary Kay has also been published on sites such as DrLaura.com, Yahoo! Shine and ABC News where she's able to reach millions of parents. 

 

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