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Sunday: Parents fear social media endangers children's reputations
[December 22, 2012]

Sunday: Parents fear social media endangers children's reputations

Dec 22, 2012 (Tulsa World - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Steve Kunzweiler is concerned about his children's -- and all children's -- use of social networking sites.

"When I grew up the scary people of the world were Son of Sam, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer," Kunzweiler said. "Those people didn't have cell phones or the Internet to access your records." Kunzweiler is chief of the criminal division in the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office. He is also the father of three daughters between the ages of 12 and 22 years old.

"It's so much more frightening for me as a prosecutor, knowing what I know about the ease of which information can be obtained about young children and manipulated to put that child in a position of danger," Kunzweiler said.

High on his list of concerns about content sometimes made available are pictures that reveal the vulnerabilities of home environments, he said.

Examples Kunzweiler gave of pictures "ripe for disaster" are photographs of young people at home with their families or hanging out at a friend's house.

The changes Instagram proposed to its terms of service last week are a reminder of the vulnerabilities users of social networking sites may expose themselves to that exist along with the benefits they gain. The photo-sharing site owned by Facebook later said it would rescind changes that implied it could sell users' pictures to advertisers without their knowledge.

Parents worried about the impact social networking sites could have on the safety and reputations of their children and teens make up a significant portion of those concerned about possible privacy risks connected to the sites.

A survey released in November by Pew Research Center and Berkman Center for Internet and Society studied the issue. The survey found 59 percent of parents whose teens used social networking sites talked with their child because they were concerned about something posted to the child's profile or account.

Read more in Sunday's Tulsa World.

___ (c)2012 Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.) Visit Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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