Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Social Networking and Our Youth

More than 90% of adolescents have access to the Internet and statics say that 50% of adolescents are on social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. An article released last week in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine concluded that a short informative e-mail from a physician may reduce teens from referencing risky details. One concern is who is teaching our youth about their online safety?

I started to search around and was happy to find that the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh teen site did have a great section for teens called real issues, that lists wonderful websites for finding valuable information in regards to health and other teen issues. This was great because another article out this last week also stated that kids were using MySpace to find out information regarding their health. The library also has a section for parents and library users that links parents to sites about rules for online safety and teens. My question is this: Are adolescents being informed about their behavior online especially in regards to social networking?

What can you as a youth librarian do? Take a look at the few links I have listed below. You may want to link a web page to your library homepage and encourage your young patrons and even young adults to view a site like Cybertipline. YouTube also has some short videos that may grab the attention your adolescent audience.

Think Before You Post explains to teens to think about what they are posting on social networks.

Everyone Knows Your Name is a one minute commercial on YouTube about posting online.

Bulletin Board is an Online Safety Commercial.

ALA websites for Online Safety.