Facebook Privacy Issues
Many argue that Facebook and the fun games and applications involved are actually information gathering schemes that are looking to simply document all of your personal interests and information and sell it to the highest bidder. Because Facebook makes almost all of its revenue from advertising, this argument holds some water. However, playing these games and offering this information is voluntary, and those looking to stay “off the grid” should simply limit how much information they actually post onto the social networking website.
This issue takes a much darker turn when parents consider the effect this can have on their children’s safety. As a general rule, you must be at least 13 years old to create a Facebook page, but even at that age, there is plenty of danger lurking. In fact, many would argue that this is the target age range for online predators and pedophiles.
Private Page Infiltration
Forcing your child to keep their Facebook page private is a must, however there are ways around this, and predators have learned the loopholes. For example, gaining access to your child’s personality, interests, and even school location is as simple as creating a false profile, contacting them claiming similar interests, and becoming their “friend”. Once they have joined your child’s friend list, all of the information posted is at their disposal. Just because a Facebook page is private, doesn’t mean it will stay that way.
Explain the Ramifications
When your teen is posting pictures of last weekend’s party or a day trip to the beach, they are opening themselves up to all kinds of dangers. Pictures can lure unwanted personalities around your teenage daughter and create all kinds of problems both socially and physically, should the opportunity arise. Explaining to your children that there are consequences to certain actions on Facebook can be the difference between a fun day at the beach or the notching of another statistic.
Facebook Places Creates Problems
There’s no doubt that your teen will be eager to “check-in” to every establishment he or she walks into. But, in doing so, they are opening themselves up to a serious threat. For example, if any of their Facebook friends aren’t really who they say they are and have ulterior motives, your teen has now told them where they are currently at and who they are with. If they are alone, there’s a chance they may attempt to seize the opportunity. Teens should understand that the “Places” application may be a bit too dangerous for the time being.
Facebook offers plenty in terms of socialization and the ability to express oneself, but there are lurking dangers as with all internet social scenes. People can easily disguise their intentions and identity, which could create a situation that may lead to unspeakable consequences. Don’t underestimate the resolve of sexual predators and their online habits. Talk to your children, explain the dangers, and monitor their activity. You don’t need to embarrass them with love notes on their Facebook wall, but being present on their friend list allows you to keep an eye on their activities.