Online social networking is the process of communicating with friends, business colleagues, classmates and others through the Internet. An online social network creates a virtual community for others to join and feel connected to each other. The concept of social networking sites, such as MySpace, Friendster and Xanga, is incredible. It allows people from all over the world to share information and connect with one another.
Appealing as that is, the potential risks lie in the amount of personal information members--especially young members--may divulge about themselves through videos, photos or written communication.
Teen identity theft victim, Zach Friesen knows the importance of keeping personal identifying information safe at all times. Friesen's identity was stolen when he was seven years old. At age 17, he learned he was the victim of identity theft and that thieves used his name for purchases totaling $40,000.
"It is important for parents and guardians to become involved and aware of these sites and talk with their children about the safety issues surrounding them," says Friesen. "Parents should let kids know the dangers of sharing too much personal information while online."
Qwest Communications wants to help parents and guardians learn about the potential dangers of social networking sites and how they can help keep their families safer while on the Internet. The Qwest Online Safety Classroom, located at www.IncredibleInternet.com, gives parents and guardians Internet safety tips and resources to understand this new way to communicate as well as valuable identity theft prevention solutions.
According to Friesen, the amount of personal information available on social networking sites makes them the perfect place for identity thieves to quickly gather information for future crimes. Often, one can find the real names, addresses and phone numbers of the online users. This information can then potentially be used in a predatory manner or to steal an identity. For more information about social networking sites and identity theft, visit www.IncredibleInternet.com.
Social networking site safety tips for parents and guardians from www.NetSmartz.org.
Zach Friesen is a teen identity theft victim and spokesperson for Qwest Communications who travels to high schools across the country to talk about identity theft and the dangers of sharing personal identifying information on social networking sites. Learn more about Zach at www.IncredibleInternet.com.
- Courtesy of ARA Content