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Social Migrating Making It Hard For Parents To Keep Tabs On Kids Online

11:54 PM, Feb 17, 2013   |    comments
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The modern American family.  

Gadgets upon gadgets...all of them connected to the internet.

And all so they can stay connected to each other.

Just one problem....

"Facebook isn't really in right now," Mackenzie Daukas, a Winston-Salem teenager said with a laugh.

For Mackenzie, the site parents joined to keep tabs on their kids, is now...well, so last year.

"When I'm not grounded, I'm on my phone 24/7," she said

But teens like Mackenzie aren't just on their phones texting and using Facebook anymore.

A new survey by Awareness Inc. reveals Facebook has lost its popularity among 13- to 25-year-olds.

"One of the things that we see over and over again with these social networking sites is children moving, and young people moving from site to site as more and more parents start to operate in that space, too," said Derek Lackaff, an assistant professor of communications at Elon University.

Your kids might have accounts on more than half a dozen social media sites; they are on vine, posting 6-second videos, on Instagram posting pictures on Snapchat, posting even more questionable pictures, or on Tumblr creating secret profiles.

"Tumblr is an interesting site because it's not a full blown blog but it's more than Twitter," said Kristine Daukas, a social media professional who also happens to be Mackenzie's mother. "There's no one monitoring it. There can be a lot of unscrupulous things that are going on."

Then there's poke, a new Facebook picture and video sharing app, along with Google hangout, Reddit, Formspring, and the list goes on.

"They are just trying to get to a new site that parents don't know about yet," Mackenzie offered her insights.

Lackaff says, "we saw this happen with Myspace to some extent, we saw this happen with Facebook right now and we'll probably see this with every new platform, every new social space that comes along."

As a worried parent, you can chase them down every social media hallway but truth is, there'll always be a new one around the corner.

Plus Daukas and Lackaff both agree that's not really effective.

What works is what's always worked -- be aware of what's out there and have the talk.

"Know how the sites work, know the dangers of them and talk to them about the dangers of them," Daukas.

And one last thing, our social media professionals say if you notice your child doing or posting something inappropriate on social media, do not call them out on social media.

No posting on their wall, no tweeting them. Talk to them off-line.

"I think the conversation needs to move away from specific conversations about specific sites and be general about how do we approach this world that we live in that kids are always hoping to be online and spaces where we don't have perfect access to as adults," said Lackaff.


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