Social Networking: Connecting Families Online

The world is changing and so is the way families are communicating with one another. A few decades ago, people sent letters and post cards to loved ones. Then technology popularized the telephone, the pager and the cell phone. Today, younger kids are using email messages and social networking sites like FaceBook, MySpace and Twitter. Parents and grandparents will enjoy learning to use these new tools to chat with their loved ones, share photos, videos and more.

Fun Ways to Interact with Family Online

Social media tools offer parents and grandparents dozens of ways to have fun with their loved ones online, even if they are separated by great distances. Sites like FaceBook allow users to share photos and videos, send messages, chat online and play video games together. Twitter is less media rich but is great for getting short, text only updates. Both social networking tools can be connected via Smart Phones so loved ones can keep up on the go.

MySpace and other sites that are more blog-centric allow account holders to post long blog style messages instead of the short updates used by FaceBook and Twitter. When used to communicate with friends and family members, it is the equivalent of sending a lengthy message to all of your loved ones at once. This is great for announcing the details for a family gathering, birth announcements and more. Users can also share photos, videos and play many online games similar to FaceBook.

Setting Digital Boundaries with Loved Ones

Parents and grandparents should expect that loved ones may have many reasons for using social networking sites. For some, their FaceBook and MySpace profiles may double as an online dating profile. Others may use their profiles extensively for professional networking. Parents and grandparents should avoid publicly posting stories and photos that there loved ones might not want to share with everyone on their contact list. Sharing will be more appreciated if it is done in private.

It is easy to accidentally share photos or messages with all contacts on a social networking site. Parents and grandparents should understand that by participating on these sites they may accidentally see a side of Dear Little Johnny that they never wanted to see. Should this occur, family members need only remember to treat their loved ones with the same courtesy and respect that they would desire for themselves. Parents and grandparents should handle these situations as politely as if they had accidentally overheard a conversation not intended for their ears or walked in on their loved one at a private moment in their lives.

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