It's hard to keep track of what teens are up to, and their digital social arena is often a closed book to parents. During the adolescent years, when you need to be involved the most, chances are your teens will try to keep you out of their social networking habits. The Internet is their social hub, and just like all the other issues that come up with teens, understanding their needs, mutual respect, setting limits and expressing reasonable expectations are the keys to productive communication.
Help your teen avoid embarrassing and potentially dangerous situations by learning about the Internet yourself, and about how blogs and the social networking pages work. Let your teens be the one to teach you, as a way to spend time together and learn what they are doing as they socialize and make blog entries online. Make rules for Internet use, and know your teen's Web address so you can log on to check in. Encourage your teens to come to you with any situation that makes them feel threatened or uncomfortable in any way.
There are ways to block certain sites and content, but that is not always advisable, as it may also block communication with your teen. Technology is too advanced for parents to be able to control information access, and filtering Web sites is not a foolproof method of screening out dangers. Talk with your teen about online risks, safety and privacy issues, the dangers of chats with strangers and sharing personal information. Teach your teens good judgment in all the issues of adolescence, to help them make the right decisions. Be open with your teens, and they will confide in you if they run into trouble. If you limit your teen without an explanation, they are more likely to rebel, turn to their peers and take dangerous risks.