So What Happens to Social Media Data? Read the Terms of Service!

unnamedI am preparing to make a presentation to a group of well-informed teens at a school. In the process, I’ve reread the terms of service at a range of social media sites to remind myself about what can potentially happen to the pictures, comments, videos, and other content that we share on social media.

Social media is a part of life in today’s 21st Century world. Rather than wringing our hands about these apps, and the things that can go wrong, it’s a far better strategy for adults to proactively learn about social media, know what their digital children are using, and help them understand the power of social media apps. Moreover, every social media user — young and old — needs to develop strategies to use when things have the potential to go wrong.

Check out the terms of service for your favorite social media site. What do you think these policies mean for the pre-adolescents or teens in your life? The social media companies design these statements — albeit long documents — to make it clear what happens and what does not. What can you do to ensure that your child develops the necessary tools and strategies to think carefully about what content to post and share and what content to avoid sharing? Ongoing conversations about living in the digital world are are a critical part of family life.

Each of the clips is from one of the social media websites, and I’ve added a link to each site’s complete  terms of service document.  Most of the companies want us to understand these documents.

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Back-to-School Digital Parenting Tips – 2013

The back-to-school season is a great time for adults to think about what they can do to help children avoid some of the typical online and social media mistakes and difficulties.

backtoschool cyber rules

These adult strategies can help elementary and middle school children develop safe, secure, and disciplined digital life skills.

Teachers can also share this list with the parents of their students.

Are Teens Moving Away from Facebook?

Take a few minutes to read Some Teens Aren’t Liking Facebook as Much as Older Users, a May 30, 2012 business article in the Los Angeles Times. Facebook’s growth is slowing, and many teens, after  absorbing lessons about privacy and the need to share less personal information, now seek to socialize online in smaller community groups with people they know.

Reporters Jessica Guynn and Ryan Faughnder point out that students are also far more eager to use mobile services designed for their smartphones. Interestingly, parents are still avid Facebook users.

Best Quotes from the Article

  • Teens… can also be more selective about what they share and with whom, and feel less social pressure to “friend”everyone in their school or friends or friends.
  • Teens who belong to the first truly mobile generation — their most common form of communication is text messaging — are increasingly gravitating to services made for their smartphones and tablets.

Pew Report on Teen Behavior and Social Media Sites

Pew infographic. Click and view larger version of this image.

Take a few minutes to read at least the main points of the November 2011 report on teens and social networking, published in November 2011 by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. The executive summary is a fairly quick read.

During the spring and summer of 2011 researchers made calls to 799 teens between the ages of 12 and 17, and they also spoke with a parent or guardian of each adolescent. Interestingly, a large number of the teens surveyed reported that their parents and teachers provided them with the best and most helpful advice on digital citizenship issues and other virtual concerns. The media were the third most significant influence.

Browse all of the infographics from this Pew Internet report.

A Few Other Interesting Points

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NetSmartz: Digital Suggestions for Summer Family Fun

This set of summer digital activities, 5 Things You Can Do Online With Your Child This Summer, arrived  in my e-mail a week or so ago. The list includes simple, but open-ended activities, each one enjoyable by itself, but with the potential to lead parents and children in many additional and enjoyable digital directions during the summer vacation. The ideas come from NetSmartz.

NetSmartz is an interactive and educational program for parents and kids, connected with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC). NetSmartz uses its considerable resources and clout to educate, engage, and empower children and their families about digital care and safety.

Visit the NetSmartz parents’ site. — Visit the site for Kids. — Visit the site for teens.

NetSmartz also features a wide range of digital safety educational resources for educators and law enforcement professionals.

No blog, though, at least not one that I can find. Puzzling since they provide some excellent information on blogging. Why not an example of what good blogging looks like — maybe one for parents and one for adolescents?