Your teens love their Facebook friends and their MySpace pages and whatever other social networks they've joined. And while once upon a time the fear was that someone would physically hurt them based on an online relationship, now there's a new threat: online identity theft. Is social networking safe?
Identity theft is a serious crime that can wreak havoc on your credit score -- and thus, almost every part of your life. But if you're a teenager who doesn't have a credit card and whose cell phone is under Mom and Dad's account, you might not even realize that your identity has been stolen.
You'd just go on about your life, and then one day, you'd apply for your first credit card or school loan -- or fill out a job application -- and suddenly find out that you're a terrible credit risk, not someone employers want to hire, not someone who can get money for school.
The little details teens share on their social networking profiles are the nuggets of information an identity thief can quickly grab and use. But you can help your kids with some relatively simple tips that let them have their online fun without waving a welcome sign to crooks.
You don't have to shut down your teen's social network. Following these tips can keep her identity safe, and you can rest easy. For a few minutes, at least.
Read more about social networking and Facebook: