Helping families live safe digital lives

Yoursphere for parents provides an amazing array of resources on

  • Facebook must-knows
  • social media
  • cybersafety and
  • privacy

for students and parents. Although some posts are US specific, most of the resources are applicable to us in Australia.

Mary Kay Hoal is the author and creator of Yourshpere, a US based site with a wealth of information on ways to keep safe when using social media. “She is an Internet safety expert in the USA and the founder of Yoursphere.com.”

I’m 13 and none of my friends are on Facebook

Last week, Mashable published this post on the waning appeal of Facebook by a New York teenager.

Now, when we are old enough to get Facebook, we don’t want it. By the time we could have Facebooks, we were already obsessed with Instagram. Facebook was just this thing all our parents seemed to have.

Let’s say I get invited to a party, and there’s underage drinking. I’m not drinking, but someone pulls out a camera. Even if I’m not carrying a red Solo cup, I could be photographed behind a girl doing shots. Later that week, the dumb-dumb decides to post photos from that “amazing” party. If my mom saw I was at a party with drinking, even if I wasn’t participating, I’d be dead. This isn’t Facebook’s fault, but it happens there.

Facebook is also a big source of bullying in middle school. Kids might comment something mean on a photo of you, or message you mean things. This isn’t Facebook’s fault, but again, it does happen there. If my mom heard I was getting bullied on Facebook, she would tell me to quit right away.

An interesting insight into teenagers’ thoughts about social media. Read the whole post here.

Parents underestimate risk of cyber-bullying for teens

Recently The Sunday Age published a report stating that

Nearly 80 per cent of Australian children under 10 years of age use social networks. Among older teenagers – those 16 and 17 – parents underestimate bullying and risky online behaviour. But the most likely candidate for cyber-bullying is a 14 year old girl who checks her Facebook account daily.

By the time teenagers are 16, parents start to underestimate the likelihood of their child being bullied or involved in upsetting experiences. Only 17 per cent of parents said their 16-year-old was bothered by something on the internet, but 26 per cent of teenagers of that age said they suffered through an upsetting experience.

What is of concern is that once parents believe that their work is done, that their children know how to successfully navigate the social media world is when they are actually most at risk.

Read the whole article here.

 

1 in 4 young adults regret social media posts

Mashable reports that

Among younger adults aged 18 to 34, 29% said they have posted a photo, comment or other personal information they fear could compromise their current or future job prospects.

FindLaw, the organisation that carried out the survey on 1000 American adults suggests that

social-media users: Think before you post, check your privacy settings, limit your personal information and seek legal help if you think you’re ever wrongfully terminated. The survey did find that a sizeable 82% of young users “pay at least some attention to their privacy settings,” while only 6% leave the default settings as they are.

 

Read the whole report here.

How to stay private on Facebook (yes, again…)

Last week, The Age reported that controlling your privacy on Facebook is about to become a whole lot easier.

If you’ve never played with your Facebook privacy settings, the first thing you’ll want to do is safeguard your future. On Facebook.com, click the little padlock on the top right, then under “Who can see my stuff” make sure “Friends” is selected – unless you want all your content to be public by default. As a further precaution, if you have a particular Facebook friend who you want to hide stuff from – a relative or a boss perhaps – add them to a “restricted list”. This will keep them as a friend but hide anything not set to “Public” from them, without their knowledge. To restrict a friend, go to their profile, hover your mouse over the “Friends” box, select “Add to another list” and then select “Restricted”.

The article also explains how to untag yourself in photos and how to see what your profile looks like to other users. Read the whole article here.

Keep it nice

A few days ago, The Age reported about a Facebook parenting page that had been the site of cyberbullying by mothers towards other mothers:

After a sharp increase in negative, personal and mean comments, Babyology’s managing editor Mandi Gunsberger advised ”we have made the decision to remove at our discretion any negative or abusive comments … Unless you would make a comment face-to-face, then this negativity does not have a place in our online space,” she said.

What is of huge concern is that adults, who should be role modelling positive internet use to their children, are the perpetrators of cyberbullying. As Babyology’s editor Mandi Gunsberger says, ‘ unless you would make a comment face-to-face, then this negativity does not have a place in our online space.’

Read the whole article here.

A student’s take on selfies

Last week The Age and Sydney Morning Herald published an article by a year 11 student Olympia Nelson on the practice of teenage girls uploading sexy self portraits to social media. She explains:

If social media only caused narcissism, it wouldn’t be the worst thing. Instagram and Facebook are social networks that not only breed narcissistic tendencies but transform relations into a sexual rat race.

On these ubiquitous portals, the popularity of girls is hotly contested over one big deal: how sexy can I appear and bring it off with everyone’s admiration?

A common adult reaction to social media is to restrict things, as if that could ever be possible. You can’t force kids to be nice. The real problem isn’t something tangible like sexting or bullying, which adults focus on in patronising and unimaginative ways. The real problem relates to conformity. Kids are compelled to act the stereotype, because those who opt out commit themselves to social leprosy. Social media doesn’t need adult control. What we need is some good taste.

Read the whole article here.