Facebook Safety Advice
For all of the great applications involved in social networking websites, there are some dark undertones that if not considered, can deliver horrific results. Just about everyone has a Facebook page, therefore there’s a wealth of information floating around that strangers can view if privacy settings aren’t utilized. For parents, requiring your child to keep their profile private should be a top priority. Statistics are proving that sexual predators prowl social networking sites like Facebook looking for potential victims, and any information acquired will be used against your child.
As previously mentioned, any child’s Facebook page should be kept private. Any messages or friends should be monitored by the parents, but how is this possible without watching your child’s every online move? A technique that many parents have begun to use is simple: create a profile and friend your child. In doing so, you’ll be able to monitor who is on your child’s friend list, what they are posting on your child’s “wall”, and what information your child has been offering up for their friend list to read.
Discuss the Dangers with your Children
Nothing offers more peace of mind than a conversation with your children expressing the dangers involved with social networking websites and the internet in general. Chat rooms are a very dangerous place when a child doesn’t understand that someone may not be who they claim to be. Creating a Facebook profile is simple. With a few pictures, some falsified details, and questionable intentions, anyone can appear to be a 14-year old with the same interests as your child. The danger comes through the deceit. They will message your child, posing as a peer who shares some common interests. Once a conversation is underway, things can progress quickly if the child is unaware that the danger exists at all.
Understand the Threat
As parents, it’s important that you understand the tactics that these individuals will utilize on a website like Facebook. They will comb through pages, looking for troubled children that they can take advantage of, and send them a message requesting friendship. Never underestimate just how much effort or time they will put into these pursuits. Some cases have involved several months of contact before ever attempting to induce a child into sexual conversation, or worse, a face to face meeting. Staying informed regarding the tactics these pedophiles use can be your best defense against them.
When a child uses Facebook, they are at risk. Keeping a page private can hinder an online predator’s advances severely, but there’s never a 100% guarantee. The best advice parents can heed, should their child insist on having a Facebook profile, is creating one themselves, adding their child as a friend, and monitoring their activity. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to talk to friends from school, as it is an important aspect of modern socialization. However, safety should always be a concern, and the watchful eye of a parent can ensure that your child’s Facebook activity is safe and healthy.