Alert your teen to the potential dangers of social media.

How to Keep Your Teen Off Facebook

by Ann Daniels

Facebook is an online social network that allows people to stay connected by sharing statuses, photos, videos and more. Facebook can have negative implications for teens’ lives for a variety of reasons: it's a time waster for teens, it may expose them to cyber bullying or scams, not to mention the privacy issues, the potential for exploitation by a predator or their own inappropriate behavior. If nothing else, consider that an article from Times.com reports that children who use Facebook do worse in school. All of this adds up to some very good reasons to at least limit the time your child spends on Facebook,

1 Talk to you teenager about the possible risks associated with Facebook. Explain your reasons for limiting your child's time on Facebook, but avoid the temptation to frighten her into submission. The Internet is a big and sometimes unruly place, but the chances are overwhelming that she'll have to learn to navigate it sooner or later.

2 Set firm boundaries with regard to the time your teen spends on Facebook. For example, limit her to one hour per day after she completes her homework and chores. Explain the the consequences that will be implemented if your teen fails to follow your rules.

3 Monitor your child's Facebook interaction by setting up a personal Facebook account and "freinding" her. Remind your child about the risks associated with Facebook if you see inappropriate material posted by your teenager or see they are on Facebook too often. Implement consequences if necessary.

4 Use technology to your advantage. If your teenager is not following your Facebook rules, you can block access to the website on your child’s computer or any shared family computers. Computer programs or online monitoring services can also track your child’s online activity if you do not want to block your teen's access to the website.

5 Purchase a cell phone for your child that does not include a data plan or Internet access if necessary. This will stop your teenager from accessing Facebook from his phone while still allowing him the freedom to call and text his family and friends.

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