Social Media Removal
It has been found there are many children accessing social media websites and even holding their own accounts for Facebook, YouTube and Twitter at home, whilst also posting videos of themselves on occasions. The minimum age of use is 13 for many of these networks with parental consent, however with the lack of age verification some children have bypassed this and now have their own accounts. This is in effect fraudulent and potentially unsafe and as a result we at Sir John Heron strongly recommend deleting or at the very least disabling these accounts.
One of the easiest ways of doing this would be by visiting the website http://justdelete.me/ which has instructions for deleting your virtual persona on a variety of websites.
Social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, are very popular with children, even those as young as 8 and 9. These types of sites allow children to be incredibly creative online, keep in touch with their friends and express themselves using a whole range of different media and applications such as video, photos, music, and chat.
However, it’s important to recognise that while these are fun and offer great possibilities for children, there are potential risks including cyberbullying, contact by adults with a sexual interest in children and the misuse of personal information.
As a parent and/or carer it’s really important to familiarise yourself with social networking services. Most sites stipulate a minimum user age of 13 or 14. By understanding these sites you can help to support your children in choosing an appropriate site and using it in a safe and constructive way.
Social networking sites, alongside sites which enable users to put up their own pictures, text and videos (known as user-generated content) such as YouTube, blogging sites, and interactive games sites for example are part of a social and technological revolution that is known as Web 2.0. Web 2.0 is characterised by the ease with which anyone can produce and publish their own content and link with others.
Increasingly children and young people are able to access and use these applications on the go through mobile and gaming devices, where they are away from supervision, enabling the instant publishing of pictures. What sometimes appears as a private space for a child can become public very quickly and this blur between public and private expression can potentially put a child at risk in two main ways:
Content: Children creating or posting inappropriate, offensive or even illegal content in their or others’ Web pages could get them into trouble with their school, friends, and even the police, depending on the nature of the material. Content posted to the Web can be copied, altered and reposted by anyone and it’s very difficult to ‘take back’ what may be later regretted. This can damage reputations as well as future prospects.
Contact: Children can also put too much personal information in these sites, exposing their information to adults with a sexual interest in children. Posting or chatting about personal details might enable someone to identify and contact your child online or in person. There is also the more likely risk of cyberbullying with young people intentionally harming another person online.