Do you know what social network sites your child is on?

By:  Ashley Harding

Lincoln police are encouraging parents to get to know these websites and learn what your child is doing on them.

Police say parents need to know which sites their child is on, their usernames and passwords.  Social network sites like Facebook and Myspace have fast become a popular way for kids to communicate with each other.  But, police say it's also become a popular way for child predators to meet children.

“I think a lot of parents don't actually know who their kids are hanging out with. And the social networking places like that, is a great way to find out exactly who their friends are,” says Officer Brytten Sorgenfrei.  She will begin the project next week by talking to parents about social network sites and what they need to know about them.

Lincoln police say parents not only need to know how their kids are communicating with friends, but they also need to know the basics such as their kids' user names, passwords, email addresses, and even their cell phone contact lists.

And, police say Facebook and Myspace aren't the only social networking sites kids are using nowadays.  

“The Bebo, Friendster, HI–5, and the rest of these I've never heard of those,” says Mistie Diaz, a mother of a 5th and 7th grader.  She says both of her children are on Facebook.  Diaz says the police initiative is a good idea.

“Make sure where they're going, who their friends are, get to know the friend's parents. That way, if my child was to run away, I'd go to all his friends.”

On the issue of privacy, Officer Sorgenfrei says, “Parents have the right to know where their children are at. And I think that once they're older and maybe have children of their own, maybe they'll understand.”

On Monday, police officers will start handing out checklists to parents of all the things they should be aware of when it comes to their kids and social network websites.

Here are some of those sites:
-Facebook              -Orkut
-MySpace               -PerfSpot
-Bebo                     -Zorpia
-Friendster             -Netlog
-Hi5                        -Habbo