Removing A Social Networking Profile
Help Your Kids Socialize Safely Online
The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, urges parents to talk to their tweens and teens about social networking sites, and offers these tips for using these sites safely:
- Help your kids understand what information should be private. Tell them why it’s important to keep some things — about themselves, family members and friends — to themselves. Information like their full name, Social Security number, street address, phone number, and family financial information — like bank or credit card account numbers — is private and should stay that way. Tell them not to choose a screen name that gives away too much personal information.
- Use privacy settings to restrict who can access and post on your child’s website. Some social networking sites have strong privacy settings. Show your child how to use these settings to limit who can view their online profile, and explain to them why this is important.
- Explain that kids should post only information that you — and they — are comfortable with others seeing. Even if privacy settings are turned on, some — or even all — of your child’s profile may be seen by a broader audience than you’re comfortable with. Encourage your child to think about the language used in a blog, and to think before posting pictures and videos. Employers, college admissions officers, team coaches, and teachers may view your child’s postings. Even a kid’s screen name could make a difference. Encourage teens to think about the impression that screen names could make.
- Remind your kids that once they post information online, they can’t take it back. Colleges, clubs, and employers often check a potential applicant's online profile to get a sense of their personal life to ensure the applicant is a good fit for their organization.
- Know how your kids are getting online. More and more, kids are accessing the Internet through their cell phones. Find out about what limits you can place on your child’s cell phone. Some cellular companies have plans that limit downloads, Internet access, and texting; other plans allow kids to use those features only at certain times of day.
- Talk to your kids about bullying. Online bullying can take many forms, from spreading rumors online and posting or forwarding private messages without the sender’s OK, to sending threatening messages. Tell your kids that the words they type and the images they post can have real-world consequences. They can make the target of the bullying feel bad, make the sender look bad — and, sometimes, can bring on punishment from the authorities. Encourage your kids to talk to you if they feel targeted by a bully.
- Talk to your kids about avoiding sex talk online. Recent research shows that teens who don’t talk about sex with strangers online are less likely to come in contact with a predator.
- If you’re concerned that your child is engaging in risky online behavior, you can search the blog sites they visit to see what information they’re posting. Try searching by their name, nickname, school, hobbies, grade, or area where you live.
- Tell your kids to trust their gut if they have suspicions. Tell your kids to trust their gut if they have suspicions.
- Understand sites’ privacy policies. Sites should spell out your rights as a parent to review and delete your child’s profile if your child is younger than 13.
The Federal Trade Commission's complete publication "Social Networking Sites: A Parent's Guide" can found on its website by clicking here.
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What to do if There’s a Problem
Encourage your kids to tell you if they feel threatened by someone or uncomfortable because of something online. Then report it right away to the police and the social networking site.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) requires websites to obtain parental consent before collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children under age 13. If a website is violating COPPA, report it to the Federal Trade Commission.
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Removing A Social Networking Profile
An open dialog between parents and children about their online habits is recommended, however sometimes it is necessary for parents to remove their child's profile. The following tips will help remove profiles from some of the major social networking websites.
To delete an account on MySpace:
- First login as the user with the email address & password. If you don’t know your child’s password, you can retrieve it by clicking the "Forgot Password?" link on the login box of MySpace.com. The password will be sent to the email address used to login to MySpace.
- Once you've logged in, click "Account Settings."
- Click "Cancel Account" (the link is near the top of the account settings page).
- You will receive the Cancel Confirmation Page.
- Click the Red button "Cancel My Account."
- Enter a reason for canceling MySpace. You may skip this step if you wish.
- Click "Cancel My Account." A cancel email will be sent to the email address of the user. In the email, there will be a link to confirm the cancellation of the account.
Allow up to 24 hours for delivery of the email. If it doesn’t arrive, check your SPAM/BULK mail folder. It may have been incorrectly routed to protect you from receiving junk mail.
If you do not receive the confirmation email, remove all content from your child’s profile, and enter in the text ‘Remove Profile’ in the ‘About Me’. This lets MySpace know that you have taken control of your child’s account.
Visit http://www.myspace.com/safetytips for more MySpace parental tips.
- Login as the user with the email address and password. If you do not know your child's password, you can retrieve it by clicking the "Reset Password" link on the login box of Facebook.com. Enter the email address and an email will be sent with a link to reset the password.
- Click "Account Settings" from the "Settings" dropdown menu located on the upper right side of the screen.
- Click "Deactivate Account."
- Click the reason for deactiving the account.
- Click "Deactivate" to confirm your request.
Visit http://www.facebook.com/safety for more Facebook security tips.
- Login as the user with the email address and password.
- Click "My Account" on the upper right side of the screen.
- Click "Cancel Your Membership" link located at the bottom of the page.
- Click the "YES" button to cancel the membership.
Visit http://www.bebo.com/Safety.jsp for more Bebo safety and security tips.
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