Google+ Is A Good Thing

Aug 24, 2011

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The latest big thing from Google is called Google+. It’s been out there for over a month but it’s still something you have to be invited to. Luckily, with millions of users, odds are you can get an invite if you really want one. Google+ is very much like Facebook- it’s a social network that lets you share with people you know.

You’re probably thinking “I’m already frustrated with keeping track of my kids on Facebook! Why would I want another social network?

Now I don’t think Google+ is going to kill Facebook. But I do think that Google+ is better than Facebook. Maybe it’s just me and the way I think, but aside from some other great features, Google+ is built on what they call Circles. Circles are separate lists of friends that you can share with, that are ridiculously simple to set up. With Circles, you can be connected with everyone you know without sharing the same things with all of them.

That’s all great, but what does that have to do with you as parents?

I think most of our kids in a conversation would be more careful about what they were saying if a stranger walked up and started listening in. If the phone rang and someone asked them for personal information, I hope our kids would hang up the phone.

Facebook has taught the current generation not to care about privacy. They share all kinds of things with everybody. It’s bad for when they’re searching for jobs and employers pull up bad things they’ve shared. It’s even worse when the things they’ve shared give predators and strangers information on when and how your kids can be contacted or approached.

Google+ lets your kids share with different people in different ways. I have my family in one Circle, coworkers in another, friends in another, and acquaintances in another. When I post something on Google+, I can share with one or more of these groups. So my family can hear about us being away on vacation, my coworkers can hear about what the status of that new project is, and acquaintances that I barely know are left with a few ramblings about the state of the economy. Each group gets to know the things I choose to share with them- nothing else. I can have as many Circles as I want. They’re extremely easy to set up. And I choose to share what I want with each. I know what each Circle gets because I decide who is in each Circle.

Google+ Circles makes it possible for your kids to learn to share wisely.

No matter what you think of Google+, Facebook will have to improve in response to Google’s challenge. I have no doubt that your kids’ privacy will improve as a result.