7 things to know about Facebook
Useful information and tips on how to keep your children safe on Facebook.
Facebook has become a worldwide phenomenon, and, for the most part, the social website provides a safe and fun way of keeping in touch and communicating with your friends and acquaintances. However, the number of young Facebook users is increasing rapidly, and young people are the ones most at risk of falling victim to the dangers of the social website. Despite Facebook’s 13-year age limit, a large number of children younger than this have profiles, having lied about their age when creating the account.Related article:
Facebook is not suitable for children
For parents, it might be useful to become as familiar as possible with Facebook’s privacy controls and other settings. The more you know, the better equipped you will be if you children need guidance, or, if something serious ever arises. In this respect, the following list might be useful:
1. Facebook have created privacy settings specifically for users between the ages of 13 and 17.
The “Everyone” setting is not quite as open for young people as it is for adults. This means, if the privacy settings are set to “Everyone”, only friends, friends of friends and people within the child's verified school or work network are included. As well as this, the accounts of under-18s cannot be found on general search engines outside of Facebook. However, the “Everyone” setting still allows adults to search for under-18s by name and send them friend requests (and vice versa), unless the account owner manually changes that.
Read more: Facebook Help Centre: How does privacy work for minors?
2. The Internet never forgets.
Even with Facebook's privacy settings for under-18s, young people's personal information is still widely on display. Once personal information is distributed online, it might be difficult, or even impossible, to delete this information. Facebook public-policy representative Nicky Jackson Colaco advises parents to sit down with their children and talk about the importance of protecting one's online identity:
“I'd never send my son onto the football field without pads and knowledge of the game,” Colaco says, “and it's exactly the same with Facebook.”
If young people publish questionable statements, pictures and so on, this might affect their reputation today, and potentially come into play later in life when they're applying for school and for jobs.
3. Keep an open dialogue with your children.
Talk about the importance of protecting personal information. Remind your children that their Facebook profile might be seen by adults and strangers. Show them how to change the privacy settings to a high level of security. Make an agreement with your child on what he or she is allowed to do, share and publish on the social website.
4. If you have a Facebook profile, consider whether you should “friend” your child - not necessarily as a spying tool, but to remind your child of your own online presence.
5. Talk to your child about how important it is to avoid people they do not know in real life.
There is no way to know that people are who they say they are. If a stranger contacts your child in an inappropriate way, it is possible to report them to Facebook.
6. Cyber bullying.
Facebook is a convenient place to target victims for bullying. Research performed at the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center shows that children and young people are “significantly more willing [than adults] to 'go further' and to type very shocking things that they would never say in person… Kids believe that online statements simply 'don't count' because they’re not being said to someone's face.”
The following articles provide further information on cyber bullying, and advice on how to relate to it:
What is digital bullying?
Cyber bullying Tips
What to do if your child is being bullied
Cyber bullying - Topics for discussion
7. Be careful what you download
On Facebook, there are many third-party applications and games that are created by other companies. Several of these are aimed directly at young people. It is important to know that these Facebook components have different terms of service. We strongly recommended that the terms of service for external applications, as well as their privacy policies, are read through before downloading anything. As well as this, some downloads could contain malware. Several Facebook scams have been reported, and, for this reason, it is important to ensure that your computer have antivirus and ad-blocking software that can catch these threats. It might be a good idea to make an agreement with your child that they are not allowed to download external applications or games without consulting you first.
How to Keep Your Kids Safe on Facebook
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