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With the rise of social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter, and more time on their hands during summer vacation, teens are able to retreat into their own digital worlds. While it might be difficult to keep up with the latest online fads, parents can actively monitor their teens' Internet use to ensure their children are using these interactive tools safely.

Many teens say their parents are unaware of their online activities. Furthermore, nearly one-third (29%) of students say their parents would disapprove if they knew what they were really doing on the Internet.* It's important for parents to take the time to learn about the many online dangers teens are exposed to on a regular basis to effectively keep them out of harm's way.

Parents must also be mindful of teaching their teens to use their cell phones safely and to understand the ramifications of photo-sharing and video tools. Unwanted photos or videos showing teens in undesirable activities can easily be posted on sites like YouTube or MySpace and have lasting consequences. A recent survey indicates that 6 percent of teens who use social networking sites say someone has posted an embarrassing picture of them online without their permission.**

Here's how you can help spread these important Internet safety messages to parents in your community:

Download. A "Teens and Technology" package, which includes a downloadable E-GUIDE and QUIZ, that outlines everything parents need to know about social networking, Internet and text messaging lingo, and viral video to better understand their teen's online habits.

A customizable "Teens and Technology" Open Letter to Parents is available for download on with tips for customizing and distributing.

Download the teen online exposure fact sheet.

Learn More. The updated "Teens and Technology" online section provides guidance and advice to help parents monitor their teen's online activities.

Order. For additional strategies on keeping teens drug-free, take advantage of the Media Campaign's FREE RESOURCES by visiting or calling 1-800-788-2800.

Sign Up. Encourage parents in your community to sign up for's Parenting Tips e-Newsletter, a regular e-mail notification with advice and strategies to help keep teenagers healthy and drug-free.

* i-SAFE survey. 2003-05.

** "Cyberbullying and Online Teens." Pew Internet &American Life Project: Data Memo, published June 27, 2007. Page 3.

ABOUT THE MEDIA CAMPAIGN: The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign combines paid advertising with public communications outreach to deliver anti-drug messages to America's youth, their parents, and other influential adults. The Campaign was established by Congress in 1998 to prevent and reduce drug use among young people, increase awareness among adults of the impact of drug abuse among young people, and encourage parents and other interested adults to discuss with young people the dangers of illegal drug use.

Robin F. Case
Education Associate/School Climate & Discipline
Delaware Department of Education