As a parent it is important to know how profiles are created on Facebook, and what information is included in them. If your child is going to have a Facebook account, they will have a profile, and you should be aware of the various items of personal information they could share.
The basics of a Facebook profile are as follows:
You have the following categories that you fill out as much or as little information as you want in them.
Basic: This is where you put your gender, your relationship status, your reason for joining Facebook, your birthday, where you are from, your political views, and religion. Because you are a parent you will want to talk to your child about the dangers of including too much personal information, such as their actual birthday. You may want to have them put some fake information in just to protect their identity.
Contact: In this section you get to put contact information. There are privacy options so that only your friends can see your contact information, but even with this you will want your child to be careful about the contact information they put. You would probably not want to put your address, or any information that could make you a potential target for Internet predators.
Personal: This section is where you get to say who you are. This is where you put your favorite activities, your interests, favorite music, books, television shows, quotes etc. In this section you are basically giving details about yourself that an Internet predator could use against you. It is important that you talk to your child about the hazards of putting too personal of personal interests in.
Education: In this section you put your education level, where you went to school, including high school. This poses risks because you put your graduating class, etc. However, it also helps people from your past find you and reconnect. Just talk to your child about how they need to be selective and not just trust that someone went to school with them because they know where they went to school, make sure they remember them, or look them up.
Work: This is like education, it is a part that allows you to put where you work, your title, etc. This could also pose a threat to your personal security as it basically gives people a location you will be, etc. Talk to your child about the risks of putting too much information on their profile.
Picture: This is a place where you put a photograph of yourself on your profile for others to view. You would be wise to advise your child to put a photo that has multiple other people in it, so that only people who truly know you will know which one you are. This way an Internet predator would not be able to pick you out. It is also wise to not put up any photos that are obvious as to where you are.
Layout: This allows you to change how you want the information on your profile page displayed for your friends and network to see.
With a Facebook account and profile you can do a lot of things, you can chat with friends, find new friends, share photos, videos, etc. So, knowing what your child can do, and talking to them about what they should do on their Facebook profile is important for Internet security and personal safety. Do not let your child have the mindset that nothing could happen to them; take the precautions so that nothing does, and so that your child is not putting too much personal information on the Internet for others to see.