I need to know about social networking and online friends

Continuing on with the resources provided by the Australian Communication and Media Authority‘s Cybersmart website, the information social networking and online friends is very useful. It includes information on:

  • Are they my friends in real life too?
  • Know the basics of safe social networking
  • Meeting online friends in the real world – do you really know who you’re meeting?
Well worth checking out. Read the whole post here.


Ask.fm makes changes to safety policy

For a while now, the social media site Ask.fm has been in the news, after complaints about abuse leading to suicides. Stuff.co.nz reports that:

…it has about 65 million users.

But half of them are under 18 – meaning that the site’s active user base consists largely of children.

Part of the site’s problem is that it’s a social media site with virtually no privacy settings and no real identity controls.

Facebook, by contrast, has made efforts to ensure that a high percentage of its accounts belong to real people – and it deletes the accounts of fake users.

It also has privacy controls. You can lock down your account completely, if need be, shutting out the world.

You can’t do any of that on Ask.fm.

Now it seems that Ask.fm is in the process of changing its safety policy. TechCrunch reports

Ask.fm said today it will make the report button more visible, and will be adding a dedicated report category for ‘bullying and harassment’ — committing to making these changes next month. It also said it will increase the visibility of an (extant) option to opt-out of receiving anonymous questions to help users moderate the kind of content they receive from other users. This change will be implemented in October.

The Australian Broadcasting Commission aired this story in May about abuse on social media sites including ask.fm.


Are they my friends in real life too?

The Cybersmart website has released a new guide to social networking and online friends for young adults. They advise:

  • Limit your friend list—don’t ‘friend’ random people
  • Protect your privacy—don’t share your password and set your profile to private
  • Your personal details are valuable—don’t share them
  • Protect your reputation—keep it clean and ask yourself: would you want others to see what you upload?
  • Be careful who you trust—a person can pretend to be someone they are not
  • Don’t use a webcam with people you do not know
  • Think before you post, chat, upload or download.

Online help and reporting is available here and here.

Twitter Help Centre for parents and teenagers

Twitter has developed a Help Centre which includes tips for parents and teenagers.

Topics for parents include:

What you can do:

When it has gone too far:

Learn more

While topics for teenagers include:

What you can do:

When it has gone too far:

YouTube parent support site

YouTube can be a fantastic resource for adults and children alike, but there can be issues with content and comments. On the back of this, YouTube has developed a support site for parents  which includes:

  • safety tips
  • safety modes
  • commenting
  • reporting inappropriate content
  • reporting inappropriate contact
  • children’s profiles and more

Access the page here.

Kids and Tech: Parenting Tips for the Digital Age

Social media blog Mashable has published a Q & A with Scott Steinberg, author of parenting book called The Modern Parent’s Guide. Scott addresses social media pitfalls in this interview.

Topics include:

  • How has technology changed parenting?
  • How can parents best protect their children from online threats while respecting their privacy?
  • A wide range of products monitor children on their mobile phones and the Internet. Where is the line between appropriate supervision and spying? Is there one?
  • What rules do you have in your house regarding technology use?
  • Sites like Facebook and Twitter technically don’t allow users under the age of 13, but many tweens lie about their age in order to sign up anyway. As a parent, should you prevent your children from signing up for such sites, even if their friends are using them? If so, what are some alternative sites they can use?
  • What is a reasonable amount of time for children to spend interacting with a screen each day?

Actions for grandparents

It’s nearly school holidays, a time when many grandparents spend time with their grandchildren. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has devised tips for grandparents in regards to their keeping their grandchildren safe online.

  1. Sit together with your children or grandchildren at the computer.
  2. Ask your family to show you how the internet can benefit you, and make your life easier.
  3. Once you feel comfortable, have a go at navigating the online world yourself.

There’s much more information for grandparents (and parents and kids) on ACMA’s site, click here for more.