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Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Social networking news

Children ignoring safety advice on Social networking sites.

story adapted from reuters story 02/04/08

LONDON (Reuters) - Millions of children who use social networking sites are exposing themselves to unnecessary risk by leaving personal details open for all to see, communications watchdog Ofcom said on Wednesday.

It published research showing that 40 percent of children leave their privacy settings on "open"

The research found that many young children have by-passed age restrictions to publish their profile on sites like Bebo, MySpace and Facebook.
It said a half of all children, and a quarter of those aged 8-11, are registered with a social networking site.
Ofcom Director of Market Research James Thickett said parents should check the online profile their children are using.
"It is really advisable that your child's profile is restricted to people that they know," he told BBC radio. "Restricting the profile, so that people the child knows cannot enter it, ensures the privacy of the child, and safeguards the child's right to get up to no good and mess around on the internet." he added.

"It's embarrassing" he admitted "Knowing that your child is upstairs, on the computer, goofing around on the internet, for all to see, on these social networking sites.

He went on to warn and advise about the consequences of not acting now...

"It happened to me" he admitted, "My 11 year old son was a member of a social networking site, created a real goofy profile, with fake photos of him with fake glasses and a moustache and saying how proud he was to be my son!" he exclaimed.

He added "One of my business contacts saw this and recognised my son instantly, this is a very serious problem"

"I advise all parents to ensure that your childs profile is restricted, so that people they know cannot access their profile"

He advised further, and said it was possible for the parent to take out a new "goofers" insurance plan. "Just a small amount each month to the insurance company, offers us peace of mind" he said. "Now, if our child is recognised when goofing around on the internet, by anyone we know and i lose business from it, i make a claim on the goofers insurance policy, provide the company with a copy of my childs profile and they pay me appropriate compensation"

There is just one downfall to this grand scheme, he explained

"These children, they create websites, members only websites and place photos of their latest goofing achievements on them. If you seriously piss of your child, you could find that a goofing photo of you is placed on one of these sites for all to see, even searchable in Google!, he exclaimed. "Then your in a potentially worse situation, as your business contacts see you goofing around on the internet too. Theres no insurance for that one, so you also become known as a father like son."

His tale is a woesome one. His son, after getting caught, done exactly this.
He lost everything from his son's goofing...his job, his home and even his wife, during a bitter battling divorce created a photo of him goofing around and released it on goofle, the new search engine for goofers, set up by his son and friends.

"This was the ultimate in kicking a man when he is down" he explained.

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