Common Sense Media Panel Offers Web Advice To Teens!

The Sweety High team recently attended "Notes To My Middle School Self: A Common Sense Media Teen Panel Discussion."

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The event was hosted by Common Sense Media in partnership with Team Tutors, and featured teens who offered advice to other tweens and teens about cyberbullying, digital footprints, and oversharing on the net.

Common Sense Media is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of kids, teens, and parents in a digital world. They provide advice and free resources for tweens, teens, and their parents to safely navigate today's technology.

Teen Charlotte Cohen was one speaker on the panel.

"The greatest advice I could give to a teen who is new to social media is to not get carried away," Charlotte said. "Social media can be a great thing when used properly, but often teens don't know enough about the social media platforms they are using. I would highly recommend not to 'over-share.'"

According to interviews conducted by the Pew Research Center, teens are sharing a lot more personal information online than they ever did.

"This could mean many different things, whether it is posting too many statuses and photos of your life, or posting possibly inappropriate, questionable content," Charlotte said. "Always think before you post and I promise you, it's never worth the repercussions!"

In 2006, only 29 percent of teens shared their email address on social media. By 2012, this number had grown to 53 percent.

Only 2 percent of teens shared their cell phone number on their social profiles in 2006. Ten times as many teens shared their cell phone number in 2012, just six years later! For even more stats, check out the chart below.

Common Sense Media- Teen Media Sharing Chart

So what can teens do to stay safe online?

"I would say that teens should only be friends with people that they know closely on social media," Charlotte said. "Although I don't personally follow this rule, I often wish that I could go back in time and accept friend requests only from close friends, and even consider going back and deleting people I don't know well."

Befriending strangers on Facebook can be dangerous. Often, what teens post on Facebook is intended to be seen by close friends and family. When teens have strangers in their Facebook circles, those strangers have access to their photos and personal information.

"Make sure you are very aware of the privacy settings on your account and learn all of the different options of protecting your account," Charlotte said. "In addition, always be aware of how what you might post could put you in a compromising position. For instance, "geotagging" a photo on Facebook may be fun in the moment, but it is important to remember that all of your followers (or if your account is public, then everyone) can determine your exact location."

Check out Sweety High's safety tips and PSAs here!

To learn more about Common Sense and what they do, check out their website, commonsense.org, and their blog, "Making Sense!"