SHESPEAKS Your Power to Influence

Facebook Safety and Kids

Facebook Safety and Kids

I was listening to the radio the other day and heard that Facebook has now become the #1 resource for thiefs and I can honestly say I am not surprised!

One year ago, police in New Hampshire broke up a robbery ring that reportedly robbed 18 homes using information posted on Facebook. Over $100,000 in property was stolen. I frequently see posts, from my own friends sometimes that tell us exactly where they are and what they are doing and even who they are doing it with! This is very dangerous and many people don't realize just how dangerous it can be. Even though you may feel you are safe because only your "friends" see your info, that is not always the case.

Your friends have friends who even though they are not your friends, still have access to you through them. If you have your profile filled out completely, they now have your home and work locations as well as any other personal info you included. And have you ever considered how many false profiles there are on Facebook?

"According to statistics,3.6 million out of 153 million monthly users of Facebook in America are under 12 years old."

There have been reported sex offenders with multiple accounts under profiles of women and children. And that leads me to my biggest peeve about Facebook and that more and more children under 13 are creating profiles by lying about their ages, some without the consent of their parents, but also many with full parental consent and the knowledge that they are lying to set up an account. According to statistics,3.6 million out of 153 million monthly users of Facebook in America are under 12 years old. 

Many say it's the future and it's just a way to keep in touch with family afar or all their friends already have an account so they had to have one too or even they just play games, they don't really post anything.  But games like Farmville allow people you don't know to connect with you and your child.  While Facebook reportedly deletes hundreds of underage accounts every day, kids are still using it and at increasingly younger ages.  I read an article the other day that said an 11 year old boy in New York State accepted a friend request from a girl in his class but the girls account turned out to be fake and the person behind the whole thing posted images of the boy on X rated sites along with some very nasty comments.  Just think about that!

I personally have a 14 year old as well as a 12 and an 11 year old and none of them have Facebook accounts, nor will they anytime in the near future.  My personal opinion is that once you see it or read it, you've seen it and you cannot unsee or unread it.  It is there in the mind and you can't take it away.  I have already had to deal with the issues that come along with "socializing" my child and it broke my heart to know that he saw something that he didn't need to see, shouldnt have seen and along with that came the questions and issues that had to be addressed.  Some much too soon for me!

If you're a parent who has made the decision to allow your children, of any age, to have a Facebook profile, here are a few things you can do to help protect them and you:

*Keep your home address and birthdate private - don't publish it to your profile

*Don't publish those on-location photos- post them when you have returned from your trip or outing

*Choose "Limited Profile" on your child's page - so pictures cannot be viewed close-up

*Talk to your kids about the potential dangers of Facebook and what is appropriate to post

*Don't post travel plans - if you do, make sure your insurance is paid up and get an alarm system

*Establish "Friends Rules" - who they can and cannot add to their friends list and who must remail on the list, like mom and dad

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  • betholion By betholion
    10.12.11  

    My son wants a facebook page so bad. A lot of his friends have them, but he will only be 12 on Friday. During the last school year, he kept really hounding me for one. I said to him "You have to be 13 to have a page on Facebook, so how do you think you friends that have one got theirs?" He replied, "They lied." I explained to him that is not how we do things in our house, and I really haven't heard much else about it. I will occassionally let him play games on mine, and I don't accept friend requests from my kids' friends until they are older since I have adult friends and sometimes the content is not appropriate. I think kids today are surrounded by so much inappropriateness that they grow up thinking it's okay. I am hoping to not have my kids think that.

  • momsvoicetoday By momsvoicetoday
    10.12.11  

    I don't have a facebook page, for protection for my daughter. Crazy, Huh?! Yeah, well there are people. That stock children and will try to find information about them from any place. Including their parents page. Fair warning! My daughter is in high school, her teachers are amazed that they can't find her on the computer, except an occasional picture from some friends facebook page. I know I may miss out on some things but to protect my children its well worth the cost.

  • stephnpwy By stephnpwy
    10.13.11  

    Gosh, it's such a scary world out there... I only have a toddler, but things like this does really make me think about her safety. Something to think about.....

  • adie1221 By adie1221
    10.19.11  

    I am 26 and I am so careful on Facebook. All that is listed is my city. I do not list where I work, live or anything like that. I stopped the "where are you" thing that would post with your status saying where you were, like a GPS thing. And I never post on my statuses the direct location of anything. My mom allowed my 14 yr old brother to get a facebook when he was 12 and let him lie about his age so he could get it and she does not monitor him at all with it. Its scary.

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