As a parent, if your child is using Facebook, there are certain things you ought to know about the site in general, and about your child’s profile.
The following are some examples of the things you should know as a parent about your child’s Facebook profile:
What is on it. How to use privacy settings. Who can view their account. What they can do on Facebook. What your child is sharing.
Your child has the option of putting personal information, contact information, likes, dislikes, photos, videos, their job status, education, etc. on their profile on Facebook. There are some rules associated with posting things, such as you are not supposed to put crude or profane remarks on, vulgar photos, etc. However, it seems everyone’s idea of this is different. So, be conscious that your child could be exposed to things you do not want them to see.
You will probably want to monitor what is put on your child’s personal profile. You will also want to monitor what their friends can see. For example, if you do not want a bunch of people calling your house, make sure they do not put your home phone number as their contact. If you are worried about your child’s identity being stolen, or them being victims of Internet predators, make sure they do not include too personal of information. Your child is sharing photos and videos with their friends and networks, so make sure that the materials they share are appropriate.
Your child has the ability to use privacy settings. This is something you should know as a parent for two reasons. First, they can block you from seeing things on their account from your account if they want to. So, do not think that if you create your own account to check on them that is all you have to do. They can make a limited profile and only let you see the things they want you to see. The second reason you should know this is so that you can advise them to use these privacy and security settings. There are ways to make certain information invisible to certain networks or friends. Make sure your child is selective about who gets to see what on their Facebook account. Help them understand the dangers of sharing too personal of information, and allow them to have freedoms if they can use security and privacy settings well.
A Facebook account is unique and differs from a MySpace account in that it is not one huge network or community, but is made up of several smaller networks and communities. It is also much more private. People can not see your profile unless they are accepted as your friend, or unless they are in your network. Your child has the option of blocking the network people who are not their friends from viewing their full profile. So, you should know that while more secure than other networking communities, it is still not perfect. Your child needs to select friends that they know, not browse the networks for new friends aimlessly, as this opens them up for victimization.
As a parent, it is always a good idea to know as much as you can about what your child is up to online. So, know what you can about their profile without invading their privacy too much. Set some rules for what is acceptable and unacceptable to have on their profile, and what they should and should not be viewing on other’s.