Do your teens have a Facebook accounts? Are you concerned about the kids they hang out with or their online behavior? Getting a Facebook account and adding your teen as your Facebook friend is one way to monitor your teen and make sure they are OK.
Teens are particularly vulnerable to online predators and online bullying which is why it’s important for parents to know about Facebook and other social media sites.
Your teen’s reputation can be completely ruined by another teen who makes a hurtful comment or posts an incriminating picture. If you add your teens as Facebook friends, here are some guidelines to follow to make sure you are building a healthy relationship with your teen as you check that they are staying safe:
1.Sit down and talk to your teen about appropriate and inappropriate online behavior. Let them know that using vulgarity or engaging in sexting is inappropriate and can hurt them. Explain to them why they should not be part of incriminating pictures. Most pictures, especially when they can do damage, stay private. In fact, they usually get distributed over the internet which can damagae your teen’s self-esteem and reputation. Should you, or they, discover such a picture, get it removed as soon as possible, especially if it involves smoking or underage drinking. There are a number of news reports that discuss some of the problems with teens and social media sites as they often get suspended from school when pictures surface of them engaging in illegal activities.
2.Know your teen’s user names and check to make sure they aren’t providing too much personal information. Adding their full name, address, and phone number can leave their account open to online predators so it’s important to be extremely careful. Talk to your teen about increasing their privacy settings.
3.Here are the steps you need to follow to change your privacy settings:
- Log into Facebook and click on “Account” and “Privacy Settings”.
- Within Privacy Settings, the user can then decide who they would like to have access to their profile.
- Change all of the settings to “Friends only” so there’s no risk of having just anyone view their profile and pulling up your information.
Getting your own Facebook account is a great idea not only so you can monitor your teen’s online behavior and make sure they are staying safe but it’s a great way to reconnect with some old friends, too. Facebook can give you a chance to meet new people and explore the online world which can be a lot of fun. Like your children, make sure you that your profile is secure by setting your privacy settings as high as possible so you won’t be a target for predators and identity thieves that want to damage your good name.
If you find that your child is being stalked or preyed upon by other students, it may be time to step in, help your children change their settings to block the perpetrator or take steps to stop the behavior. Have a serious discussion with your teen about online privacy and acceptable behavior in order to keep your teen and your family safe.