11 most important things about Facebook that parents should know

Technology is said to connect people across the globe but if not used wisely, it can also have detrimental effects mainly on teenagers and youngsters. Hence it is the responsibility of parents to take care as to how their children should use the various manifestations of technology. One of the aspects of technology that has created a revolution amongst young and old is ‘Facebook’.  According to its owner Mark Zuckerberg, “The thing that we are trying to do at facebook is just help people connect and communicate efficiently.”

However one must remember that this means of communication does come with a lot of security risks as well-mainly children under 18 (even though the policy of facebook clearly mentions, one must be 18 years to have an account, kids below have already opened their accounts) are to be made aware and cautious about online threats. It is the responsibility of the parents, whether they have an account or not, to know few important things about this social networking site.

(1)  Facebook default privacy settings are probably more public than you’d like. It guards the information on minors a little better than the general population, but one will still need to review one’s child’s privacy settings and manually reset it to “friends only” or even stricter.

(2)  Sending a friend request to your child and getting accepted does not ensure that you can view all the posts or photographs that they display. Facebook allows its users to select which friends they want to be able to see a particular post. For instance, Mr Mehta and Mrs Mehta were totally oblivious of the fact that their 14 year old daughter was victimized in a case of online predation by one of her school seniors. It was only brought to light when school authorities intervened.

(3)  By default, anyone can send friend request to your child, so as parents one must help the child to edit the privacy settings under the “How to connect” heading, to restrict unwanted friend requests.

(4)  Users can “tag”, or identify, the faces in their photos. Turn on tag review in your child’s privacy settings and Facebook will notify them whenever they’re tagged in a photo before it goes live. Facebook will remove the tag (but not the photo) if they request it. I would also urge parents to get some sort of Parental Intelligence System or Service to receive alerts when your child is tagged in a photo, or uploads theirs. It is advisable for children to avoid getting tagged in photographs until and unless they know someone very closely because some malicious minds might try to morph or superimpose obscene stuffs.

(5) Facebook allows users to put their location on every post. Tell your child not to do this, and change their privacy settings so their friends can’t check them in, either.

(6) If your child posts something and then has second thoughts, they can hover over the post and click the handy little “X” that appears to delete it.

(7) If your child lives in the U.S. and has their mobile phone in their Facebook account, all they have to do is text “otp” to 32665 and they will receive a one-time password that is good for 20 minutes. This is the safest way for them to log in to Facebook from a public computer.

(8) Facebook is home to thousands of third-party apps that your kids can use to play games and do just about anything. Before using any app on Facebook, your child has to agree to the app’s privacy policy that outlines what information it will collect on your child and how it will be used. Tell your child not to click “Allow” without actually reading and understanding the privacy policy.

(9) Facebook allows your child to remove offensive posts on their Wall, unfriend or block other users, or report posts that violate Facebook policies (including a fake account pretending to be them.) Any type of Facebook bullying is a reportable offense. However as parents, one must be very open and candid in dealing with such situations; they should create an amicable environment at home so that whenever a           child is in trouble, he/she can immediately approach his/her parents without any hesitation.

(10) Users can browse and post on each other’s walls, but they can also talk with friends in real-time using chat or video calling. Make sure they know how to mark themselves as “unavailable” for chat or video calling while doing homework or during other inappropriate times.

(11) Finally, parents must always remind their children that Facebook is a public and open forum, hence they should use it cautiously and refrain from divulging too many details about their private lives.

Having said that, parents must remember that Facebook’s policies and default privacy settings are always subject to change, so make sure to keep up on any changes. Visit the Facebook Safety Center, keep up a dialogue with your child, and responsibly monitor their social networking account.

Image Courtesy: thenextweb.com

Written by Joyadrita Ragavendran

Joyadrita Ragavendran

Joyadrita has completed her Masters in English Literature from Calcutta University. After her 6 year long stint in the corporate world she chose to become a full time mom to her lovely daughter, Anshika Raghavendran.

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