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The Alnwick Town Crier
Parenting: Protecting your child online
IIn today's connected world, nine out of ten children have a mobile phone, and are able to communicate with others as never before. Facebook, instant messaging, E-mail, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, blogs and forums, with new platforms cropping up as others fall out of fashion. This can lead to problems for the concerned parent, wandering at which point they should intervene without provoking a tantrum. While this level of communication is for the most part positive, there may be negative consequences in the long run. Recent research showed that more than a third of under-13s use Facebook despite the site's age limit, and could be using the site without knowing the risks to their personal data. Mark Hall, managing director of Gotjuice.co.uk - the online reputation management consultancy - commented: "The playground has changed. Communication has never been so easy, and we can share our information over multiple platforms and reach thousands of people at the touch of a button. "It's all too easy to share that embarrassing party photo on Facebook, or write a shocking or perhaps an unintentional negative comment. However, is very hard to completely remove this content later. What your children think is a good idea to post online today stands a good chance of causing regret later on in life." GotJuice.co.uk suggest that parents read these four basic lessons to help better ensure that their children stay on the correct digital highway.
Lesson 1- Not so private information Explain to your kids that every time they update their Facebook status, upload a photo, or send a tweet, their private information has entered the public domain. Even if they delete the photo or remove the tweet, it is more than likely that a problem won't go away: A friend could have re-tweeted or passed on the information, a photo could have been copied onto another site, and that joke they thought might have gained a couple of new followers might rebound on them. The end result is the same - things tend to stick around for a long time in cyberspace. What your child may think is private between their friends becomes public. Lesson 2- What they share online becomes permanent Every school pupil has lived in fear of damaging their permanent record where every little thing they ever did - good or bad - was kept in a filing cabinet in the school office. Now there's a new kind of permanent record - the information your child shares online, and content that mentions them,which could be used against them later on in life. University admissions, employers, even potential dates will be able to view this information and form an opinion of your child without their knowledge. Your child needs to know what to keep private, not only about themselves, but those around them.