If your teens socialize online, you've probably had some anxious moments wondering who can see all the stuff they post. And if you've tried to understand your teens' favorite sites' privacy policies, you know that, for the most part, they're not written for the layman.
Part of the problem is that privacy policies encompass various aspects of privacy. There's the personal privacy your teen willingly and knowingly discloses in posts, comments, and photos. Then there's the personal privacy they give up unintentionally -- for example, when they "like" a certain band and are linked to it. Then there's what's known as consumer privacy -- digital data that companies collect in order to target advertising to your teens' interests.
After the comment period, the company will go back to the drawing board to reorganize the information, rewrite it to be clearer, and attempt to be more transparent.
This is a great time to talk with your kids about privacy -- what they think it means, what's OK to share, and even what kind of digital footprint they're creating. Studies show that teens whose parents monitor Internet use or browse the Internet with them show higher rates of privacy concerns than those whose parents don't.
Whether it's Club Penguin or Facebook, online socialization is part of the fabric of kids' and teens' lives. Along with all the fun stuff, teens need to understand that whatever they post is no longer private and can be used (sometimes in unflattering ways) by other people. Facebook is offering a unique opportunity to express concerns and think about privacy more deeply. We say, grab it.