A Facebook page called “cutest teens 2013″ was recently shut down 30-minutes after Facebook was made aware of the site. Cutest Teens was a contest where allegedly 17,000+ teens posted “selfies” to see which photo received the most likes before the end of the year.
Many of the photos were provocative and garnered cruel comments. One person wrote, “I feel bad for your parents knowing they have to look at you and be reminded you’re a product of them.”
Teens participating in contests like “cutest teens” are opening themselves up to negative comments from cowards, people who probably don’t like themselves and have a need to bring other people down. Unfortunately many teens and adults for that matter are looking for approval, and the Internet is definitely not the place to obtain it.
Parent’s must be vigilante when it comes to monitoring their child’s online behavior, however “real life” communication is essential. I’ve always believed that a child’s offline behavior mimics their online behavior. Cyberbullies and predators make it a full-time job to harass and dishonor our children, therefore parents can’t take a part-time stance on monitoring online activity. If your child is participating in any social media network, you should also be a member. Some parents argue that they want to give their children privacy, that is until their child is violated.
I may not monitor my child’s activity daily, but she is aware that I will check-in on her status at any moment. I’m her mom, I’m the adult, and Yes – I’m in her business!
My advice is to discuss the “rules” of social media engagement, including expectations and consequences. If you find that your child is participating in online approval seeking behavior, this is the perfect opportunity to talk about what’s really going on in their lives. Don’t miss that opportunity!
Marlin Page is a Globetrotting Speaker and Founder of Sisters Code – empowering women and girls in STEM and Life. As Chief Technology Mommy, Marlin shares and exposes online safety stories, tips, and technology information to keep parents informed and children safe on the Internet. Marlin also serves as a speaker for Microsoft’s Global DigiGirlz Program and Camp and Technology Strategist for a variety of corporations and organizations.
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