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Through college and beyond, females use technology to make connections with people, while males use it to demonstrate competence. Males write most software. Nonprofits have made a start, with initiatives such as training Girl Scouts in broadcasting skills and offering programs that feature chat and other technologies for at-risk teenagers through the National Youth Development Information Center.
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Spending too much time on social media can be a downer too. Seeing how many "friends" others have and the pictures of them having fun can make kids feel bad about themselves or like they don't measure up to their peers. It's important to be aware of what your kids do online.
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But snooping can alienate them and damage the trust you've built together. The key is to stay involved in a way that makes your kids understand that you respect their privacy but want to make sure they're safe.
Consider making a "social media agreement" with your kids — a real contract they can sign. In it, they agree to protect their own privacy, consider their reputation, and not give out personal information.
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They also promise not to use technology to hurt anyone else through bullying or gossip. In turn, parents agree to respect teens' privacy while making an effort to be part of the social media world.
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This means you can "friend" and observe them, but don't post embarrassing comments or rants about messy rooms. Parents also can help keep kids grounded in the real world by putting limits on media use. Keep computers in public areas in the house, avoid laptops and smartphones in bedrooms, and set some rules on the use of technology such as no devices at the dinner table.
And don't forget: Setting a good example through your own virtual behavior can go a long way toward helping your kids use social media safely. Larger text size Large text size Regular text size.