Facebook is a fun way to connect with friends from school, work, and your geographic area. However, as a parent there are some concerns you should have if your child uses Facebook. While much safer then any other social networking utility, there are still going to be some online safety concerns. One such concern deals with your child’s Facebook “wall”. The following are some of the things as a parent you should know about your child’s Facebook wall:
First, let’s establish what a Facebook wall is. Your child’s wall is going to be sort of like a blog. People can make comments to them, talk to them, chat, etc. and this is going to be on their profile or home page. This is called the wall. When one of your child’s friends sends a message to their wall, it appears on their profile page with the name of the sender, the picture of that person, and then the message.
So, why is this a concern?
Well for one, many people use the wall for chat, and sometimes chatting can be personal. While only one side of the conversation will show up, it is still important to advise your child to start a private chat if sharing plans, etc. Advise your child to only post greetings and general information on their, or another person’s wall. Most people opt to use the wall to comment on some information the person posts on their profile, etc. but it can be used for other things, so try to help your child see the dangers of using their wall as a means of making plans, because it is not private; information on it makes them vulnerable, so keep it limited.
Secondly, the wall can be viewed by anyone on your child’s friends list or network. So, the reason this should be a concern is because Internet predators may join networks, and scan the walls of people on those networks for any information that could help them. If your child does not want to be a victim, it would be wise not to post details about plans of their whereabouts, or personal information about themselves or their family that could aid an identity thief, etc. If your child makes plans to meet a friend, they should do so in a private chat, not on their wall. Postings on the wall are potentially dangerous, so warn your child about that.
Third, your child does not control what is posted on their wall, it is comments made by other people, they do have the option to delete a posting if they want to, but whether or not they do is up to them. The reason you need to know this is that your child’s wall could be littered with profanities, and other unbecoming topics etc. because of other people. So, talk to your child about their wall, about how they use their wall, about other people’s use, and advise them to keep topics clean, and to discourage any inappropriate comments.
Knowing what the wall is, and taking the time to explain to your child that while they can enjoy the wall, and have a good time using it, that they need to be careful, and always be conscious of the fact that there are predators on the Internet looking for ways to exploit people. If your child is conscious about the potential dangers, their Facebook wall can be a fun way to connect with friends.