When your 13-year old daughter comes to you and asks for a Facebook account for her birthday, it’s almost as bad as the first time they ask about the birds and the bees.
After all, whether you’re a parent or not, you’ve at least heard one horror story about a child suffering a grisly end due to an online predator coaxing them away from their home using Facebook. Despite the risks, the more you try to dissuade your child from using Facebook, the more likely they will go behind your back and do it anyway, so you might as well give in on your own terms. Below are some tips to keep your child safe and still allow them to use Facebook.
• Keep Privacy Settings High – Make sure that when you child sets up their Facebook account you are there with them, and you configure the privacy settings to keep their account very private. Make sure they cannot be found through search engines and that their photos are only available to friends. There are multiple things to consider while setting the privacy levels, so read through them carefully and make sure you place every setting as high as possible.
• You’re allowed to access their Facebook anytime – This can be a recipe for disaster, so be sure to do this right. When asking your child to see their Facebook, do it randomly and let them sit with you. Don’t ask for their password because then it is more often perceived as snooping because you can look through their messages and such when they aren’t there. Show them that you respect their privacy and let them click through the pages. Granted, direct them where to go, and check out any suspicious messages, as well as their friends list.
• Only allow them to Connect to people they know – When you are looking through their Facebook page with them, be sure to make sure everyone on their friends list is someone they know in real life. If they ever tell you they met a person on Facebook, make them delete that person. It’s just safer. Anyone can acquire a photo and say their a 13-year old girl too. They may really hate you for this one, but better safe than sorry.