The following are the things a parent should know about Facebook:
1.What it is for: Facebook is a social networking site that allows people to connect with those in similar social circles, such as people from their high school, people they work with, go to church with, etc. It is a way to stay updated on people’s lives, share information, and socialize.
2.What you can do on Facebook: Facebook has a lot of cool features. You can upload photos into various albums for your friends and network to view. You can publish notes, get the latest news from your friends, post videos, songs, etc. You can chat, invite people to activities, find old friends, etc. Another fun feature is that Facebook allows you to tag photos, etc. This means that if one of your friends posts a photo with you in it on their site, and they tag it to you, it will show up on your site as well. So, it is a fun way to share photos, etc.
3.How it differs from other social utility sites: Unlike other social connection sites, like MySpace, Facebook isn’t just one big site where everyone has access to everyone else’s information. Instead, Facebook is made up of lots of separate networks based around things like schools, companies, and regions. This way your child is only going to be able to “meet” people in their same networks, and only people in these networks will be able to see your child’s profile, etc. This makes Facebook safer as far as your personal information goes. For example, your child can not claim to be a college student and suddenly have access to that network. They would need a valid school email in order to register in that network. The same goes for work, etc. So, while your child can search for anyone on Facebook, and anyone on Facebook can search for your child, only those that are “friends” and in their network can see their profile, and vice versa.
4.How it works: Basically you have to create an account. You include some information about yourself, and you start joining networks and establishing your friends, so you first connect your email to it so that those you email become your friends; you can also use your instant messenger, etc. Then, each time you log in you will see a home page screen that will show you all the latest news and activity from your friends on Facebook. This is called the News Feed. This way instead of surfing through all of your friends’ profiles to see if anything is changed, you can simply look at your News feed and then check out any additions. You will also get notifications of friend requests, pokes, events, group invites, etc.
5.How secure it is: Facebook offers a lot better privacy than any other social networking site, but is still not perfect. Thus, you will still want to talk to your child about protecting personal information, and not sharing too much. With Facebook you do get to control your information, you can block certain people from being able to view portions of your profile, etc. You have a lot more control over the information on your site. There are specific privacy settings for things like photos, notes, chats, etc. And, they also have a thing called a limited profile which you can create to hide certain parts of your profile from specific “friends”.
Facebook is a social network, so what you need to know as a parent is similar to what you would need to know about any other social thing your child is doing. What they are doing, when they are there, who they are with, etc.