In a certain social networking site, a seventeen year old teenage girl befriended a thirty-two year old adult; the man was a predator who pretended to be a sixteen year old handsome boy. They met face to face and after some hours, her body was found in a ditch. The teenage girl was already dead. This is nasty and shocking news! Could this unpleasant incident be avoided if the parents had monitored her activities?

MySpace, Twitter and Facebook are some of the social networking sites which many teens have signed up for membership. Teenagers have also created their profiles on dating websites. Through the social networking sites, teens have reunited with their friends and made new friends. Anyone who is over 14 years of age is eligible to be a member of any social networking website. Do parents care about their children's safety while using social networking sites?

Unfortunately, teenagers who are making new friends on social networking sites are at a risk than adults. Most adults go online for purposes of networking and business. There are several reasons why teenagers are at a greater risk. Some of the reasons are:

1.) Most of the teenagers are naïve and they're more likely to trust strangers.

2.) They may not realize the potential for harmful consequences.

3.) Many predators using social networking sites specifically seek out teens as their victims.

Safety Measures Parents Should Enforce

A.) Parents Should Be Involved

Parents staying involved in their children's lives will ensure their safety. One of the most effective ways parents can help their children to remain safe while they use social networking sites is by monitoring their activities.

Parents should know whether their teenagers have created profiles on the social networking sites. If so, parents should follow-up and check their child's profile from time to time, checking it to make sure there is no sign of any questionable interactions or activities that are likely to cause harm.

A teenager who knows that her parents will be looking at her profile will probably make better choices when using social networking site. Parents who regularly view their children's profiles will monitor the kind of friends their children are making and be in a better position to stop any potential relationship that is likely to harm them.

B.) Teach Teenagers How to Use the Internet Safely

Internet is a wonderful resource for adults and teenagers. Teenagers can learn much from various websites and blogs. However, they need to realize that predators hang out on the internet. It is easy for a malicious internet user to disguise his or her true identity. This makes teenagers to be at a risk if they befriend such people on social networking sites. Parents can help protect their teenage children by teaching them some basic internet safety rules and then enforcing them. These basic rules include:

1.) Don't give out any personal information such as your address.

2.) Don't send any photos of yourself without parental approval.

3.) Don't agree to meet the person face-to-face without parental approval.

4.) Don't respond to any type of online harassment or threats. Instead, report them to your parents.

5.) Don't visit any website that will make you pay any amount of money. Don't provide any credit card information without parental approval.

C.) All Face-to-Face Meetings Should be Chaperoned by Parents

Teenagers who use social networking sites might decide to meet their new online friends in person although they hardly know them well. One of the rules mentioned above forbids teenagers meeting with their online friends without parental approval, but in reality, not only should parents approve all these meetings, they should ensure that their teenage children are accompanied by someone who will ensure their safety. All meetings in person should happen in public places during daytime.

Author's Bio: 

The author of this article is Joshua Nyamache and together with other team members they are working on Nikenya website, a website that you connect with friends and family.

Here are techniques and ideas that will teach you on how to make friends on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook etc. Discover these techniques and use them to make new friends online in a way that is safe.