Parents should not discount the impact that social networking and the Internet play in teen's lives. Read this article about a college freshman who committed suicide after his college roommate allegedly used Skype to make a video, without his consent or knowledge, of him having sexual relations with another male. It was broadcast to his social network using the Internet. The story involves Twitter, Facebook, and Skype. It's a heartbreaking situation.
Of course an important part of this story is that the young man was homosexual and hid that from some people including his own parents. The sex video informed some of his friends of this fact.
I think teens think just because sharing video and photos and info is fast and easy they have warped and wrong ideas about privacy (thinking there is no such thing as privacy). I don't quite know what to do about this. As a parent all I can do is discuss these things with my children, including the importance of privacy over some matters.
Honestly I think it's sad that a suicidal young man left his suicide note as a Facebook wall status post.
I wish more parents would wake up to the issues regarding kids and teens, the Internet and social networking. I myself have had a few sticky situations with my kids online, despite careful planning and preparations some minor things have happened. I just try my best to teach my kids. My head is not stuck in the sand. I talk to parents I know about this and get mixed opinions and reactions.
I am worried for other kids whose parents are clueless and laugh about how silly Facebook is and refuse to even look to see what it is, even though their own kids are using Facebook. They look down upon social networking as stupid and unnecessary and unworthy of their time. Others claim their kids should have full privacy and freedom to do on Facebook whatever they want so they don't even look at what their children are posting online.
I have seen some teens Facebook posts which state things that are quite troublesome such as serious symptoms of clinical depression in kids who have troubling situations in their lives. I wonder if their own parents realize the distress they are in? It's also good to know who your children's friends are. If your son's girlfriend listed cutting as one of her interests on her Facebook profile isn't that something you'd like to know? Do her own parents know she is into self-mutilation?
Wake up parents and start taking the Internet, Twitter, and Facebook seriously, if for no other reason that you may wind up getting to know who your child really is and what they are really thinking and feeling. Isn't that what good parents really want anyway, to really know their children so they can best guide and teach them how to navigate through life?