Why do people use online social networking? Online social networking can provide a valuable way for people to connect, share interests and stay in touch across the miles. Social networking also has hidden dangers, so it's important to monitor who your kids are talking to and what they're saying.
Helping People Connect
The reason so many people use online social networking is that it provides a way for people to connect. You can keep in touch with friends, share information about events and even help one another with homework with online social networking tools. If you move away from friends, an online social network can help you keep in touch. It's the ultimate networking tool.
With online social networks, you can get in touch with old friends and make new ones. Most social networking Web sites have tools that enable you to track down old friends and colleagues. You can also use an online social network to make new friends with similar interests. Online social networking is a great way to expand your social circle and get in touch with people you otherwise wouldn't speak with regularly, or at all.
Collaborating at Work
Social networking tools are also very useful for work. If you're looking for a job, you can use it to get references from old coworkes. You can also connect with other people who work for the same company, or in the same industry. Managers looking to hire people with specific skills can then find you using social networking tools. You can also convey a sense of who you are and what you have to offer through your use of social networking sites.
Both businesses and individuals use social networking for marketing purposes. They use it to advertise new products and deals, to stay in touch with customers or to follow other people who might have items or offerings they could use. Social networking can be a great forum for viral marketing, but it's important to be clear that you're marketing a product or the message won't get through.
The Quest for Popularity
Along with the positives, social networking carries a few negatives. Some people see social networking as a big popularity contest. These people use social networks to grab as many friends as possible, and people with few friends may be seen as losers or people with poor social skills. However, friends' lists in online social networks can be very misleading, as many of those people may simply be acquaintances who are also looking to collect and acquire online friends.
Hiding from Real Life
People with poor social skills may use online social networks to withdraw from real life. They may feel less pressured in online interactions, and rely more and more on online tools to interact with friends and peers. Using online social networks and withdrawing from real life interactions is a real danger, and parents must be vigilant to ensure kids are still spending quality time with friends in person. There's simply no substitute for spending time together with friends in the real world.
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.