Parents, if you don’t already know what Facebook can do, you’re about to find out! Facebook is one of the most used Social Media platforms for both parents and children, and that’s because it’s a great way to connect with friends, family, and colleagues.
Now-famous Mark Zuckerburg and his fellow Harvard University colleagues launched Facebook in 2004. It was originally created as a limited membership for Harvard students, but has since allowed anyone who is at least 13 years old, depending on local laws, to become a user starting in 2006. Users can add “Friends” and separate them into subgroups such as “Close Friends” and “People from School/Work”. As of June 2014, Facebook has over 1.3 billion active users.
It’s likely you or your student has a Facebook account, so here are a few basic rules for protecting your children online.
Be Aware of Who They’re Adding
If recent additions to their friends list look questionable, ask how they know this person. If they met anywhere outside of school, work, family, or extracurricular activities, they probably haven’t met in person. Warn them the dangers of adding strangers and be sure they delete them immediately.
Encourage Them Not to Post Anything They Wouldn’t Want to Explain to Grandma
If it’s not something they are comfortable talking about in person, there’s no reason for it be on Social Media. Make sure your student understands that everything on the Internet lives forever, so it’s important to keep inappropriate content off of Facebook.
Privacy Isn’t Protection
Of course it’s important to be sure their accounts are private, but explain that it doesn’t mean their content is safe. Anything that is liked by their friends can be seen on the newsfeed of others. While their future may seem far away, college admission teams and future job professionals would likely be able to find content with a quick Google search. Tell them to keep away from posting suggestive content, specific locations like home and work, phone numbers, and email addresses.
These habits should be carried over onto other Social Media sites as well! It’s important to always appear professional, no matter where you are in your career.
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