Your child is active online. Did it ever occur to you that he or she uses a fake name so that they can't be identified by you? Chances are, you, the parent, also uses a pseudonym. It's very common.
Cyberspace is full of obvious pseudonyms, but a phony name can also be a regular name that many people have. Your child will be lost in a sea of David Johnsons or Amanda Millers.
Intel Security did a study and found that 40 percent of kids use aliases or alternate accounts. Intel Security also found:
- Many kids fessed up to cyberbullying, including making threats.
- Far fewer parents in the survey, however, believed their kids were capable of cyberbullying.
- Over 25 percent of the kids admitted they'd meet someone in person after first meeting them online.
Wayne State also conducted a study:
- Over 50 percent of juvenile respondents admitted to tracking or stalking a romance partner or harassing/bullying them.
Parents really need to monitor their kids' cyber lives. However, there are obstacles facing parents such as being intimidated by technology and feeling awkward requesting their kids' passwords.
However, parental involvement, such as knowing the passwords, correlates to lower incidents of cyberbullying. So contrary to myth, parents are not overstepping boundaries by monitoring their kids' online habits-within reason, of course.
But parents need to do more than just cyber-hover. Kids need to learn from the inside out how to cyber-behave in a smart, safe way. They need to learn how to think for themselves and understand how predators prey on kids. If they're old enough to use social media, they're old enough to be told all the dirt on what kinds of creeps are out there.
Parents must ask themselves, "Is my child's life so empty that they can easily be lured by an online predator to meet him in a secluded place?" Or how about, "Why is my kid obsessed with adding friends? He already has over 3,000 and that's not enough."
Computers and social media, in and of themselves, do not turn kids wayward, into bullies or into victims. Predisposing family dynamics are already present, and they simply manifest themselves online. For example, a teenager who spends six hours a day creating fake Facebook accounts, stealing photos off of blogs, then adding these phony accounts as friends to her actual Facebook account, has pre-existing psychological issues.