With over 500 million registered users in 2010, and that number growing at a rapid rate Facebook has become larger than any nation, more trafficked than almost any other site on the web, and the hub for many people’s entire lives. Keeping your kids off Facebook may not seem like an option, so how do you manage their lives and Facebook?
Facebook may seem very frustrating as a parent. But, it is advisable to not be like this father who unloaded nine rounds into his daughter’s laptop over a Facebook post. Or, while it may also be tempting to be like this father:
Neither is a prime example of how to properly manage your kids and Facebook, though both may be a mixture of clever and amusing.
So if you’re navigating these waters with your child or teen here are some suggestions of how to keep your peace of mind, them safe, and everyone happy.
1) Review the Privacy Settings Often
Facebook has a habit of changing their privacy policies often. During these revisions the settings change and as a result the defaults you had previously set may no longer be set up how you want them to. Looking at the privacy settings takes only a few moments and can go a long way. With Facebook’s current set-up the privacy settings can be accessed by clicking the arrow in the top right. By doing this with your child or teen you can set the settings as strict as you would like and take it as an opportunity to explain to them why these settings are important.
2) Set Tags to Approval Only
This can be done in the privacy settings area. When someone posts an image, a status update, a location and more they have the ability to “tag” your child as being with them in that post. You can set these tags to only appear after they have been approved. This means an unflattering comment, or photo, will not automatically appear on your child’s wall.
3) Don’t post the location
Elaborating on the tag options every Facebook post can be pinned to a location. This automatically, also defaults to do. So if your teen is out driving posting Facebook updates anyone subscribing to their feed will see a running list of where they are and where they have been. The potential dangers are obvious.
4) When it doubt, take it out
All Facebook posts and tags on your page had the option to be removed. If you see something you don’t approve of ask them to remove it so it is no longer there. Removing a post is as simple as hovering over the post and clicking the edit button.
5) Create your own page, but be wary of being too “friendly”
The best way to know Facebook is to be on Facebook. And ideally the only way to see your child’s page after privacy settings have been implemented is to be their friend. Discuss why you want to do this with your child and set boundaries for you and them, get their opinions on if they would be comfortable or not and put their mind at ease. Do not make it a point to friend all their friends or post constantly on their page. Be a secure overseeing shadow, but not an active participant. This will allow you to have the peace of mind and know they are making good choices and them to still have the space to be social and have fun.
The Men’s Divorce Law Firm believes in creating strong and secure families. We encourage all parents to take proactive roles in the lives of their children for the safety and happiness of everyone involved.