With the increasing use of social networking sites such as Facebook amongst teens, it becomes important to safeguard your teens against others. Not only is your teen in danger of being convinced by a stranger to run away, but cyber bullying takes place online in these venues as well. To protect your teen from becoming a victim on Facebook, utilize the following tips:
- Teach your teen how to protect profile information. At this point in your teen’s life, the only people who should have any access to their profile are approved friends and family members. Facebook has many different options for protecting profile information.
Have your teen safeguard profile information such as location, school and availability and allow only known users to view the information.
- Do not allow your teen to post inappropriate pictures of themselves. Many teens like to take photos of each other and friends for fun and post the results on Facebook for all to see. Amongst friends, the practice is fine, but allowing the general population to view such photos will attract unwanted attention.
- Set limits for Facebook usage. A good idea is for teens to have their parents listed as a family member, if said parent uses Facebook. If you are not a user of Facebook, maintain an overview of your teen’s profile. Many teens will object to the invasion of privacy, but as long as you promise not to judge them or their friends, it should be easier to convince them.
Agree to lift the limits when your teen reaches a certain age. Also allow for the fact that teens will usually vent about parents and friends on Facebook as an outlet.
- Educate your teen in how to safeguard themselves and not to use posts that will allow someone to find them at a certain place or time. If your teen only has approved friends and family on their friends list, there is no harm in posting such information.
Be aware, however, that the appropriate security settings, namely privacy, must be activated in order to prevent unknown persons from being able to access your teen’s profile. Also be sure to educate your teen on the perils of meeting someone they do not know. While the news reports may be scary, share them with your children to instill a fear of what may happen if they ignore your warnings.
Keeping your teen’s safe is a major part of your responsibility as a parent. However, if your teen is an active social networking user on sites such as Facebook, it can be harder to protect them. Instead, teach your teen how to safeguard their information and only allow those who they know in person to view their profiles and become friends.
Set the appropriate privacy settings and also ask that your teen share their password if they are younger. Educating your teens on how to avoid becoming a victim is the most important step of all, as most teens are typically not aware of the consequences their actions may bring.