The advantages of social networking are real, even though most parents see it as another way that kids waste time. Social networking has opened up a new way to communicate, so while your child's posts may not be essential today, your child is still learning skills that could be very valuable tomorrow.
One form of social networking that's growing in popularity is corporate social networking. You can use corporate social networking to form relationships with other people from your company, or people in other companies in an industry. You can also get references and build a reputation using corporate social networking tools. It's a great way to get yourself known and network in your field or industry.
Keeping in Touch
Social networking provides a great way for you to stay in touch with people who may have moved away. Normally, people try to stay in touch with friends via phone calls and the occasional letter or e-mail, but busy lives make it difficult to maintain contact. However, social networking is such a regularly used medium that it's easy to stay in touch with people even when they move away.
You can use social networking to get feedback on ideas immediately, or to ask questions and get answers quickly. If you're developing a product or even just an idea, you can bounce it off your friends and social networking contacts and find out what they think about it. You can also ask questions and receive answers in near-real-time, if your contacts know the answer or if you're a student in touch with teachers.
Share Multiple Points of View
Sheltered individuals may not understand how many different points of view that people have, and that it's possible for people to hold drastically different beliefs. Social networking helps you learn about diversity and get exposure to multiple points of view. Ultimately, this exposure can help you to learn to look at things from different angles, and be more tolerant of other people's opinions, things that go a long way in the working world.
Talking to Other Students
Many student organizations have specific social networks designed to help students connect. Social networking tools can be a great way for students to get in touch with other students in the same school, or when they're considering a college or new school. Check with student organizations to see if they have a particular social networking tool, or type the school into your favorite social networking Web site and see what you find.
Stay in Touch Anywhere
Mobile social networking is becoming increasingly popular as more and more people have cell phones capable of running social networking applications. People can use mobile social networking tools to stay in touch with friends, and make plans on the fly. Mobile social networking tools are also great if you've got a long train or subway commute and want to stay in touch with friends and find out what they're doing.
Kids do need to learn to keep social networking under control. Some people get hooked on social networking, to the point that it interferes with getting things done. Teach your child when it is and isn't appropriate to use mobile social networking, and set a strict time limit for communicating at home.
There are many potential problems with social networking sites and the teenagers that use them. Social networking is a prominent tool for communication and self-expression for teens. While most of these experiences are positive, there are still steps parents and teens need to take to avoid harassment and sexual predators.
Social networking sites are a fun way for teens to communicate, but they can also ruin reputations or expose your child to danger. Make sure your child can follow these rules before opening the door to social networking sites.
Don't feel like a snoop when you're checking your child's use of social networking Web sites. Nothing posted on the Web is truly private, so you're free to investigate.