Who’ll see what I post 20 yrs from now?

That's a question that needs to hang around 24/7 in the back of social networkers' and bloggers' minds, because – according to the authors of just-published Born Digital (Basic Books, 2008) – "at no time in human history has information about a young person been more freely and publicly accessible to so many others.” This comes as no surprise to many parents, but few of us know the reasons. Here's one good one from authors John Palfrey and Urs Gasser: Teen "social norms suggest that more information about yourself will attract more friends." So a few interesting questions you could ask your kids in a dinner-table conversation (from a blogger in the Digital Natives blog) are: Will sharing their thoughts and everyday life online make them more popular? (Remember, it's normal if they feel that way – this is a commonly held view among youth – just explain you read it was a social norm and are honestly interested in your child's take on it.] "Do [they] understand the gravity of what and how much information [they] expose of themselves on the Internet?" And do they "ever take into account that [their] information is owned by the companies offering the services [they] are using? (Parents and teens can look at any social site's Terms of Service for information on how users' own content might be used.)

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