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How social network sites can ruin your teenager's chances at college

Facebook, My Space, Timbr. All fun places for teens to chat, post photos and catch up on the latest gossip. However, teens who want to get into a good college need to be aware that their social network behavior could seriously jeopardize their chances. If, as a parent you have not caught up with what social networking means, then take a crash course immediately! On one level, it is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, both old and new, near and far.

It is a place to post updates on your life, upload pictures from outings and events, and send messages to family overseas. On the other hand, if the privacy settings are not appropriate, it is a place where your moans about your school are public for all to see. Adults have lost their jobs over postings on Facebook; criticisms of their boss, or pictures of them having a good time whilst signed off sick.

Schools have become Facebook savvy and can track the planning of a fight or disruption by their school children by reading about it on social networking sites. Teenagers can be extraordinarily naÔve; what they see as harmless fun can be interpreted by others as delinquent behavior. Many colleges are now checking out their prospective students Facebook and My Space pages. They are in effect, running a background check on their applicants. The posting of inappropriate photos depicting the teenager, drunk and scantily clad can destroy that teenager's chance of a college place.

Teenagers have lost a place at college because of remarks they have posted about their tour of campus which were negative and unflattering. Teenagers have been expelled from school for posting videos they have taken in the classroom that have mocked their teachers. Medical schools and business colleges are even stricter about their prospective studentsí behavior and routinely use checking their social network pages as part of the screening process.

In one college, the current students were so unimpressed by the pending freshmanísí Facebook postings that they reported them to the school administrators who called the parents in for a serious discussion about their teens behavior. There are legal implications to posting on social network sites, not least, child protection issues. Nude photos posted by teenagers are covered by pornography legislation, and what the teenager thought was a laugh, can turn into a court case. If you are the parents of a teenager applying for college, advise them to clean up their social networks and get them to understand that the adult world has standards which they are going to have to meet if they want to succeed.

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