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Keeping Your Child's Facebook Profile Safe

 

It's no surprise that most teens are on Facebook every day. Recent research shows 95 percent of teens ages 12-17 are online, and 80 percent of online teens use social networking sites like Facebook. But while most of it is fun and games, there are some easyinternet safety mistakes many kids make that can lead to danger.  A few quick fixes can help.

SafetyWeb.com compiled a list of some of top mistakes teens make on Facebook and ways to talk to your child about them.

1) Using your full name. Most kids don’t think twice about potential identity theft or child predators. Using their full names could make kids even more vulnerable to both.

2) Letting the world see your profile. Not setting limits on who sees a profile allows anyone to garner information about your child. Parents can explain to their child how often employers use social networking sites to screen applicants. It can also affect the college acceptance process. Bottom line, tell your team that what he or she posts online lives in the cyber world forever, even after hitting delete.

3) Not using privacy settings. Not instituting privacy settings on Facebook allows anyone to see your teen’s information – where they attend school, where they live, even where they’ll be and when. Teenagers should know that maybe they want their friends to see their photos, but not friends of friends. Sound complicated? It can be easy to set up. Spend a little time getting the settings just right.

4) “Friending” people you don’t know. Teens trying to get the most friends aren’t nearly as choosey. Be sure your teen knows that people he or she isn't familiar with may pose risks. More stories in the news show links between causal social networking acquaintances and burglaries because posts can clue them in on when you're not home.

5) Sharing your account password. According to Facebook, “not even to your best friend or significant other.” Your daughter may think she and her "bestie" will be buds forever, but remind them not to share personal passwords to anyone.

6) Posting inappropriate comments. Even if your teen's Facebook is clean - a friend can post something off-color on their page. If this happens, posts should be removed immediately. And remind your teen that even though the post will no longer be visible on their page, it may still show up on the friend's.  

7) Posting inappropriate photos. Even on the Facebook site it says, “Unless you're prepared to attach something in your profile to a resume or scholarship application, don't post it.” This includes items your friends post too. If a friend has tagged you in an inappropriate or unwanted photo, remove the tag right away. It will no longer be linked to your profile. Teens should also talk to their friends about deleting the image from their account all together.

8) Ignoring unwanted and harassing messages. Unwanted posts can be anything from inappropriate updates to cyber bullying. Talk to your teen about this issue. If they receive a questionable or threatening post, have them click on the "report message" link and block the user from accessing his profile.  He can also limit others from finding him in the Facebook search directory.

9) Ignoring controlling behavior from an ex. Yes, your child thought her relationship with Mr. Perfect was going to last forever. It didn’t. Now he’s talking bad about your child all over her page. Have your child block the ex entirely and report any incidents of abuse directly to the social network.

10) Ignoring Facebook’s signup policy. “Mom! All of my friends are on Facebook and they’re not 13 yet either!” Facebook requires individuals to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account. Providing false information to create an account is a violation of Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. This includes accounts registered on the behalf of under 13-year-old children by older parties. In other words, just say no.

SOURCES:
Facebook Safety for Teens, www.safetyweb.com

 

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