Is Your Tween Safe on Facebook?

In an honest answer to the question that the title poses, it’s safe to say no, not really. Facebook is the largest social networking site to have hit our world and though it has managed to change the face of social geography and landscape, it is still not an open forum full of protection for teens and young children. Just like the rest of the Internet, social networking sites are open to the pitfall of problems that can target and distress your child.

What You May Not Be Aware Of

Most parents think that there is no reason that there child should not be on Facebook or Twitter. Well, why would they since there seems to be no awareness or campaigning on the side of these sites to restrict underage individuals from accessing them and creating accounts. But in actuality, there is a prescribed age limitation. Facebook advises that users under 13 should not have an account. Studies by Pew Internet and American Life Project tell us that 55% of children aged 12-17 have an online profile (you can bet that Facebook is the key one) and 48% of them visit these sites at least once a day. So statistics show that no one seems to care what Facebook says or thinks. But as a parent, you should.  

Safety Hazards

Tweens using Facebook can at any given time be subject to peer pressure and end up sharing private details with people they really shouldn’t. For instance, strangers who pose to be fellow teens in neighboring schools or vicinities. And again, if they end up accepting files and applications, or use Facebook through their mobile, it is possible they can be victimized by harmless looking apps which render them under some form of computer monitoring—or in this case, stalking—or the other. Then of course comes the entire parade of social pressure and bullying. Online forums are a great place to publically humiliate someone. And so, it’s pretty much obvious that your tween is on Facebook and you need to get in and find out what is happening as a concerned parent.

What Child Experts Have to Tell You

According to Stephen Balkam (Owner/Founder of Family Online Safety Institute), the Internet has changed and yes your kids are on it. So again, preventive measures are out of the question. What can be done, however, is that now children get to experience Facebook, not on their terms but on yours. The belief, as expounded by Balkam and many others is that, no security step you take will completely paralyze them from doing what they have to do to get in, that is, to be a part of a social network. This time it happens to be one that exists online. So the best bet is to walk your child through the steps and teach them the ins and outs of visiting and using Facebook together, both for safety and privacy purposes.

Parental Control Software

Of course there is always a wide range of tools you can use to assure that your child stays within bounds. Parental Control Software now allows parents to work through and set up a large variety of systems that restrict and control their tweens from accessing sites and features you deem unsafe. So, how to protect your child from harm on Facebook again? Well the best option is to stop fighting the current and go with the flow. In other words, acknowledge their presence on Facebook and walk them through the pitfalls. And then, because prevention is better than cure, employ some computer monitoring on your own and get your hands on some parental control software. It’s the middle ground all parents should now be opting for.  

Jane Andrew is a writer and guest blogger of with years of experience in tech industry. She loves to write about mobile spy and iphone spy software. You can also follow her on Twitter @janeandrew01 to get tip and news about cell phone and computer security.

Filed in: Feature Articles, Technology

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