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Social Networking

Social networks are communities of people who share interests and activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others on the internet. Most social networking websites provide multiple ways for users to interact using chat, messaging, email, video, voice chat, file sharing, blogging, discussion groups and so on. Such sites typify web 2.0, as much of the content is user-generated.  Social networking sites each have a different purpose. Some, like LinkedIn focus on work relations; those like Facebook  that link up friends and relatives.  Social Networking sites provide new opportunities for users to express their own opinions, find others with similar interests and experiences, and share and learn in a virtual environment.

One of the main issues with social networking sites is the open access that is provided to users’ personal information. Rather than banning these sites, parents need to ensure their kids understand the privacy implications of posting intimate details of one’s life in a public space where anyone can access and download their information, photos and videos. Photos posted in social networking sites can be particularly problematic for teens. Many sites let users label or “tag” people in photos they post, which means embarrassing pictures of kids where they are identified by name may be posted without their permission. These photos can be difficult to remove.  

Learning how to apply privacy settings on social networking sites is an important way to safeguard not only your personal information – but your reputation as well.

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