BELLEVILLE – Some parents have concerns about Facebook’s recent changes that could affect how your child uses the site.
This month the social-media network lifted restrictions on posting policies for users aged 13 to 17. Until now, teenagers’ Facebook activity could only be viewed by their Facebook friends and friends of friends. Now the young users are able to post publicly and have their posts viewed by anyone in the world.
Belleville’s Connie Young has very strict rules on Internet use for her teenagers, who are 13 and 15. “I have their passwords and check their activity weekly,” she said. Young worries that the new policy will make it easier for people who prey on children.
“My biggest concern would be easier access to photos by child predators and strangers contacting children through photos,” she said.
Facebook plays down the changes in a company blog, comparing the new policy to those of other social-media sites.
“While only a small fraction of teens using Facebook might choose to post publicly, this update gives them the choice to share more broadly, just like on other social media services,” the blog post said.
Teens who choose to use this new option will receive a warning pop-up reminding them that the post can be seen by anyone, not just people they know. It gives them an option to change the post’s privacy setting.
The Ontario Provincial Police have several tips and suggestions for parents for protecting children online. Parents need to play an active role in understanding how social-media privacy works and be aware of their children’s online activity, the OPP says. Other tips:
- Be involved and know your child’s online activity.
- Keep the computer in an open area of the home.
- Remind children to protect their passwords; encourage them not to share passwords with friends.
- Use caution with web cams. Unplug web cams when they’re not in use.
- Be sure of whom they’re talking to before allowing them to turn on a web cam.
- Make sure children are cautious with what they post online.
- Know their online friends the same way you know friends in real life.