What is a social networking site?
A social networking site is a Web site that allows users to create a specialized online profile to communicate with other users or members. These profiles can contain a user's personal information like his or her name, birthday, location, education, employment and really any other information the user decides to share. They may include photos and videos of the user as well. These profiles can be shared with other members of the social network.
A few examples of social networking sites are: Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, Classmate.com, Twitter, and FourSquare.
Some facts about the Internet and social networking sites 
- 93% of teens use the Internet
- Almost 90% of young teens, aged 12-13, go online.
- Teens that go online every day are more likely to use a social networking site.
- Almost two-thirds of teens using the Internet get their news and current events from a news Web site.
- Of the teens that create content online (i.e. post photos, videos, artwork or stories), 38% of them have shared their content.
- Two-thirds of teens have sent a private message to a friend through an online social networking site.
Tips for parents
- Depending on your child's age, ask to see their online social network profile or go online with him or her to review the privacy settings to make sure they are not sharing personal information.
- Explain your reasoning behind wanting to see what your child is posting on the Internet – open communication is important.
- Social Networking sites can be a breeding ground for child predators to get information about your child that at first glance seems innocuous for them to share. Be vigilant with the content your child is posting.
- Talk with your child about what information they are sharing and what information they should be keeping private.
- If your child is using a social networking site, be aware they may also be using an instant messenger function within the site, allowing them to "chat" directly with other users.
- Create your own online social networking profile and "friend" your child.
- Many online social networking sites allow for anonymous reporting of threats or inappropriate content. Make yourself aware of these policies so you can report any threats that your child may receive.
 Statistics have been taken from: Lenhart, Amanda; Purcell, Kristen; Smith, Aaron; and Zickuhr, Kathryn. Social Media & Mobile Internet Use Among Teens and Young Adults, February 3, 2010, www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Social-Media-and-Young-Adults.aspx accessed on September 24, 2010.