A Parent's Guide to Facebook (page 2)

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Updated on May 31, 2011

Facebook Behavior

Managing Facebook privacy settings may feel like a full time job, but what happens between "friends" on Facebook can be just as daunting to a parent. If your child is on Facebook, chances are that photos, videos, comments and links are flying between her and her friends on a daily basis. Bullying, teasing and flirting can be magnified in this setting, and social pressures can make it hard to say when enough is enough. Here's what kids need to know about protecting themselves on Facebook, and how parents can help.

  • Block users who are bullying or harassing you through your privacy settings. If someone is making your child uncomfortable, put your foot down and insist that they be blocked or at least "unfriended."
  • Limit who can comment on photos or view posts to friends who won't make hurtful comments or share your information with others. Parents, it may be hard for your teen to "unfriend" certain people, but that doesn't mean they should have free rein to mock or intimidate her online. Remind your child that she can customize photos and wall posts on a case-by-case basis to specify who can or can't view them.
  • Don't put anything up that could come back to haunt you. Racy photos and pictures of alcohol and drug use should not go online, period.
  • Allow a parent to be your "friend" on Facebook. Your child may resist the idea of letting Mom view his online activity, but as more and more adults join the ranks of Facebook users, its not all that uncommon to network with family members as well as friends.

Do's and Don'ts for Parents on Facebook

  • Don't "friend" your child's Facebook friends unless you actually know them and have a friendly relationship.
  • Don't comment on everything your child posts. It's embarrassing for your child, and it's just not "cool"!
  • Don't obsess. Your child's personal life is his own, and unless something inappropriate is going on, it's not your business to find out who "Veronica" is and what she looks like.
  • Do keep offline communication going strong. Facebook is not a replacement for good old-fashioned conversation, and chances are you'll learn a lot more about your child through talking than online guesswork.
  • Do create your own network by connecting with friends, finding old buddies from school, and friending colleagues and co-workers.
  • Do sign up. If you're not a registered member of Facebook, you might consider becoming one. It's a great way to network, socialize, keep in touch, and yes, keep an eye on what matters most: your child's well being.


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