Facebook is a network that allows you to connect with friends, share photos, videos, and information about yourself with people from the various areas of your life, such as school, work, religion, etc. Many people compare Facebook to MySpace, however, Facebook is the more grown-up version and more secure version of MySpace.
As a parent, the Internet can be a scary thing, and not knowing what your child is doing on the Internet is a bad idea. So, the following is an explanation of the things you can do on Facebook, and as a parent, what you need to know about these various features.
Upload photos: On Facebook you can upload photos so that your friends can view them. This is a nice feature, and a great way to share your life with those who live far away. So, as a parent you want to know that while Facebook does have terms and conditions that prohibit pornographic or really explicit material to be uploaded, this does not mean that it does not happen. So, you will want to make sure that your child is only uploading appropriate photos, and not viewing inappropriate photos others have uploaded. You will also want to help protect them by making sure they do not upload any photos that are going to give away where they can be found; there are Internet predators out there.
Publish notes: On Facebook you can publish notes about yourself, about others, preferences, etc. You will want to make sure that your child does not publish too personal of information. You will also want to have access to your child’s network of friends so that you can see if inappropriate notes are being published.
Get the latest news from your friends: On Facebook there is a feature that can help you see which of your friends have upcoming birthdays, and check out the videos, articles, links and other items your friends are sharing with you. So as a parent, you will want to make sure that the things being shared are appropriate material, and that your child is not sharing things that they should not share.
Post videos on your profile: Facebook allows you to put links to YouTube videos on your profile. This means your child, through Facebook has access to millions of YouTube videos, and they are going to be viewing other people’s videos. As a parent this is important because your child could be clicking links to explicit videos (although there is a policy against that); in addition, they could get viruses, etc.
Tag your friends: This is a feature that allows you to tag when your friends are in one of your pictures, notes, etc. Then when you post something that shows a friend it will also be on their profile on Facebook. You can upload photos and notes from your mobile phone. When you tag your friends in photos, the photos show up in their profiles.
Use privacy settings to control who sees your info: One of things you should know as a parent is that your child can use privacy controls that allow only people in their network to view their profile. They can also limit what some people see. So, you may set up your own profile in order to be able to view your child’s, but they can block you from seeing what they do not want to have you see. One of the huge benefits of Facebook over MySpace is that only your friends and people in your networks can see your profile. Also, you have complete control over the information you post to the site, who sees it, who doesn’t, and you can even set certain pass codes, etc. to allow people to see your information, photos, etc. You can block individuals you don’t want knowing you exist on Facebook, and you can create a Limited Profile to hide certain parts of your profile from specific friends. As a parent, this is hugely important.
The profile: Facebook basically has a home page where you see the activity of your friends, and any activity that came on your profile while you were offline. Then you have a profile page where you have information about yourself like your favorite books, music, movies, etc. Your profile contains your personal info and recent activity. As a parent you will want to watch what information your child posts on their profile.