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Privacy on Facebook for your children



Your children may be constantly asking if they can set up a facebook account so they can connect with their friends online. No doubt many of you have regularly heard the plea "but all my friends have a facebook account"! But how safe is Facebook and how can you keep them safe?

If you opt to allow your child have a Facebook account there are a number of ways in which you can keep an eye on their Facebook activity. The need for such supervision will obviously depend on the age and maturity of the child. We have set out below a couple of the ways you can monitor Facebook and have also provided some information on how to implement privacy setting to ensure maximum privacy for your child.

Set up a Facebook account for yourself so that you can become a ‘Friend’ of theirs.

One way to monitor your child's Facebook activity is to become a 'Friend' of your child on Facebook. This allows you to see quite a lot of what they are doing. Including seeing what photos they are tagged in, what applications they are using on Facebook and their general comments. It does not, on the other hand, allow you to see what Private Messages they send or receive from any other friend. While a younger teenager might be happy to have a parent as a 'Friend' on Facebook, for older teenagers it is not 'cool' to be seen by peers to have a parent as a 'Friend' !

Set up their account using your e-mail address

Another way you can monitor your teenager's Facebook account at the initial stages is to set up their account using your email address. By choosing the appropriate settings within Facebook, Facebook will send an e-mail every time somebody sends a message, tags a photo, sends a friend request or comments on your teenager’s profile. However, your child may learn to turn off these e-mail settings so you may need to keep an eye on on the settings page from time to time. As they mature you may not feel the need to monitor the account so closely and you can change the e-mail notification address at a later date so that the updates are sent to the teenager's email address.

To check/amend the settings for e-mail updates, click on the 'cog' in the top right hand corner and a menu will drop down. Select 'Account Settings'.



Select 'Notifications'.





When you choose Email from the 'Notifications' you get to choose whether you get emails about what their friends are doing or just their own profile.


Privacy Setting and Information - Changing the privacy settings:

One of the most important ways to protect your teenager on Facebook is to ensure all the necessary Privacy Settings are in place so as to ensure that personal information cannot be openly viewed or that your child cannot be contacted by strangers. Settings included are: who can message them, who can see their D.O.B., who can see photos they are tagged in and much more.

To implement Privacy Settings -click on the 'cog' in the top right hand corner and a menu will drop down. Select 'Privacy Settings'.



The 'Privacy Settings' page shows whether you share with Public, Friends Only or Custom Settings.



Whereas 'Custom' settings used to allow you to make information such as their birthday - which is required to register - be invisible to everyone. Sure why would their 'Friends' not know their birthday?
This is no longer the case and as such the best setting is 'Friends'
You have a choice on most Privacy settings with the options of allowing you to choose whether Everyone, Friends of Friends or Friends can look up, send friend request to, contact, etc, your child.




Once you have set that to Friends we recommend you change the 'Limit the Audience' section below that to Limit Past Posts. This means any posts they wrote in public in the past will only be viewable to their friends.



If you agree to set up a Facebook account for your child, it is important to

Other articles dealing with safety settings online: