One of my goals for my son on his month-long break from college this year is to get him up and running on Facebook. He started an account a few months ago but has had kind of a love-hate relationship with it, alternately asking me to help him use it and help him erase it. I think he'd have fun with it if he would take the time to friend a bunch of people he knows, get a news feed going, try out some games, chat a little. But he's afraid that suddenly everyone who knows him will know everything he does on the Internet, and judging by the number of paranoid posts people make about Facebook doing Big Brother-like things, he's probably not alone in that fear.
Still, I remain convinced that social networking has lots of potential for kids with special needs, removing that pesky in-person spontaneous-communication thing that hangs them up so often, and I'll keep nudging him in the direction of utilizing this tool so many of his age peers enjoy. If you have a teen who you'd like to get with the Facebook or Twitter or texting or e-mailing program -- or are facing some of your own fears about turning your young person loose in the scary online world -- I've got articles about social networking, Facebook, staying safe, and monitoring e-mails that may come in handy. Does your child have fun with these services or fear them? Share in the comments.
Photo by Terri Mauro