AOL has launched Safe Social to help parents keep track of Facebook, Twitter and MySpace postings made by their kids. AOL's Regina Lewis says while a survey shows 76 percent of parents on Facebook have "friended" their kids, 29 percent of the kids are ready to "un-friend" their parents, and are twice as likely to want to "un-friend" mom versus dad.
"They will appreciate it because you don't have to have mom and dad on your list of friends, and you do have to speak to your child, and I think one of the things that it's important to let kids know nowadays is 'hey, I'm your parent, and I'm concerned. I read the headlines. I see some of the risks out there and I just want to keep an eye on you. So let's talk about the best way we can do that.' Now maybe it's friending, or maybe we can use something like Safe Social."
Safe Social has an ongoing monthly cost, but it helps parents who don't have the time to vet every single friend their child makes online. She says people get in the habit of friending friends of friends, and suddenly they're friending strangers.
"You would go out to the Safe Social site at safesocial.com. The product will ask you for your child's email addresses. So it does require open and honest dialog between the parent and the child because none of this done in stealth mode. It is all open, and once the parent enters the child's email address or addresses, then they're notified of the accounts that they have and can send a request out to the child to connect."
Safe Social alerts parents when someone identified as an adult befriends them, or when the person has no or few other mutual friends with their child. It allows review of postings, uploaded photos and pictures in which their children have been tagged. It recognizes trigger words related to sex, drugs or alcohol and even suicide.