Facebook Privacy Settings

by Barbara J. Feldman on April 19, 2011

Facebook Privacy Settings

From protecting your identity to ensuring the safety of your children, there are several privacy settings that Facebook uses to help keep private information private.  However, it should be mentioned that if you want to keep things REALLY private, simply don’t upload it to the internet, regardless of how safe a website claims to be.  But, understandably so, in the modern world this is becoming increasingly difficult and good luck keeping your children off of Facebook completely without a fight.  So, when you know that your child will be using Facebook for socialization, there are some key points that every parent should understand about the website.

Become a User

Many parents have found it helpful to become a Facebook user, if even in a casual sense.  Once you understand the basics behind the creation of a profile, the security options available, and the general workings of the website, you’ll have some insight when considering the privacy of your children and their personal information.  Take note that at the bottom of every Facebook page there is a “Privacy” tab that will re-direct you to the privacy features involved in the site’s design.

Limited Visibility is a Must

When you are considering all of the information that an online predator may use against your children, think about what is viewable even when the profile is listed as private.  Sometimes, a picture and a name is all that is needed, but when a listing of “networks” is given, that could give them just enough insight to send a message and pose as a potential “friend”.  The best advice in handling this threat is to turn EVERYTHING off on your child’s profile and work backwards from that point.

Stay Up to Date

Staying up to date on the changes being made to Facebook’s Privacy Settings can help you utilize them to your advantage.  Depending on the privacy settings, however, may not give you the comfort you seek, and there’s nothing wrong with having your child simply omit information like their school from their profile.  Their friends know who they are, and honestly, that’s enough.

Facebook offers quite a bit to teens and many can navigate the website better than anyone.  However, they need to be informed of the dangers involved.  Predators masquerading as teens are quite a threat online.  If they are not taken seriously, they can be entrenched in a child’s life before anyone realizes what’s happened.

Have conversations with your children about online safety and explore the Facebook Privacy settings on your own.  Read them and if anything is unclear, read them again.  There are many tools that will hide important information, but nothing is certain.  The best remedy is simply not posting this sensitive information online at all, and keeping the profile for contact with people that you and your children already know.  As a parent, creating a profile offers a wealth of benefits, so don’t shy away from the site.  Learn its capabilities, understand its dangers, and then relay this information to your children.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Facebook Privacy Settings." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 19 Apr. 2011. Web. 20 Aug. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/826/facebook-privacy-settings/ >.


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  • Caitlin

    This website was of concern- http://www.hackingfacebookpasswords.com/
    My computer detected a threat from it as well as the content being disconcerting.

  • Howard Beale

    GOOD NEWS EVERYONE! I have finally found a way to send feedback to Facebook DIRECTLY! It seems they only want to know what you think of them if you deactivate your account…

    Go to your Account/Account Settings. Then select the “deactivate” link to activate the “Deactivate account” option. Under “Reason for leaving”select “Other” and leave your feedback in the “Please explain further:” text box.

  • Tony Lampet

    I read a story in the Advertiser about a week ago on the subject of Facebook. It talked about how 3/4 of Mums (in a survey) used Facebook everyday but many of their teenage kids would not invite them to be friends.

    As a baby boomer parent, I recently joined Facebook to find out how it works and what danger it is exposing my 13 year old son to.

    It would be no surprise to parents who have entered the Facebook world that kids under thirteen lie about their age (to Facebook) so that they can setup their Facebook profile. The under 13 year old’s who do this would definitely not want to invite their parents as friends for fear of being caught out.

    In my opinion, kids who ‘claim’ to be 13 to 16 years old, when they register on Facebook, should be forced to invite a parent as a friend or, if their parent is not on Facebook, the child should be forced to provide a parent’s email address, to which the child’s Facebook profile should be sent.

    Furthermore, the default Privacy Settings that Facebook attaches to a new profile are akin to them saying ‘We have optimised your privacy settings for disclosure of your personal information to your friends, friends of friends, and everyone else on the planet. If you want to understand why we believe these are the BEST Privacy Settings for you, please read our 6 page Facebook Privacy Policy Document’ (these are my words).

    I do not believe kids have any idea that what they are posting, BY DEFAULT, can be viewed by anyone on the planet.

    For the sake of our children’s privacy, Facebook needs to urgently change the default Privacy Settings by making the default ‘Friends Only’ for everything. If Facebook users want to broadcast to the wider world, there should be an Opt In system.

    At the moment, Facebook makes it very difficult for anyone to become adequately informed about privacy issues and the consequences of their own Privacy Settings. There are no video tutorials that I can find. No pop-up warnings, No Privacy Tips when you log on, etc… It doesn’t take much creativity to come up with these ideas!

    After an exhaustive search of the Facebook Help system, I found there was a feature called “Friends Lists”. This feature allows users to set up lists of friends like “My Immediate Family”, “My School Friends”, “My Cousins” or “Everyone on the Web”, etc.. I assume this feature could be quite handy if you only want to post to a particular group of friends, but I don’t know how it works exactly. Who knows what other hidden Privacy features there are on Facebook.