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Facebook Privacy Settings To Protect You'Re Teen From Online Predators
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Facebook Privacy Settings To Protect You\'Re Teen From Online Predators

First off let me say Facebook is a great site and excellent way to connect with your friends as well as keep up with all you're old high school buddies without actually having to go to a reunion. However, with so many teens on Facebook it's more important than ever to educate parents and teens about online predators using Facebook as a tool to lure you're teen into a very bad situation. I'm not even going to mention Facebook's bad track recordregarding privacy over the last few years here.

For the most part teens mean well, but teens may be a little naïve when it comes to online predators that are using Facebook and the great lengths they will go to to lure them out. Facebook privacy settings, on the surface, can bea pretty deep subject, but if configured correctly can help prevent you're teen from being contacted or contacting an online predator.

Let's look at what an online predator could look at if we just used the recommended Facebook privacy settings. Here's what an online predator or anyone for that matter can see if you're teen enters this information using Facebook's recommended privacy settings;

You're teens statuses, photos and posts

You're teens Bio information and favorite quotes

You're teens family and relationships (often the family information is other friends and not real family members, but that's a different story)

Now let's say an online predator has befriended a friend of your teen, here's what they can now see in addition to the information above;

You're teens photos and videos that they have been tagged in

You're teens religious and political views (if they have any)

You're teens birthday

The rest of the profile Facebook recommends adding "custom" settings or only allowing your friends to view the information.

How to view you're Facebook privacy settings

Login to Facebook, in the upper right corner, click the "Account Settings" drop down menu then select "Privacy Settings".

My recommended Facebook privacy settings for your teen to cut the exposure to an online predator.

I recommend only using the "friend" privacy settings, but with some customizations. Even the more restrictive "friend" privacy setting can still leave you're teen vulnerable to online predators. For example, by default in the "friend" privacy setting called "Include me in "People Here Now" after I check in" is enabled. What this means is that if you're teen uses the check-in feature of Facebook than their friends and non friends around them that have checked-in nearby will see you're teens check-in which gives away a place.

I recommend doing the following with your teens Facebook privacy settings;

Login to Facebook, click on "Account" in the drop down menu then select "Privacy Settings"

On the left hand side of the page you will see various privacy defaults. One of the defaults is "friends". This means only friends can see any of your information on Facebook. This also means you'll need to educate you're teen on who they can friend.

Un-check "Let friends of people tagged in my photos and posts see them." Next you will need to click "Apply Settings".

After you've clicked the "Apply Settings" button then click "Customize settings".

From the customize settings page you can be specific about who can see you're teens information. I recommend changing them all to "friends".

Un-check "Include me in "People Here Now" after I check in"

Click "Edit" next to "Photos and videos you're tagged in" and ensure this setting is set to "friends"

(optional) Look for "Suggest photos of me to friends" and click "edit". Set this to disabled. I put this as optional because I may just be paranoid. However, I imagine a scenario where one of my teens Facebook accounts has been compromised. If an online predator is viewing the account and viewing pictures they may see you're teens name being suggested for tagging.

Look for "Friends can check me in to Places" then click "edit" to make sure that this feature is disabled. This feature allows another friend to check you're teen into another place.

I know this might feel like it's a little tedious but bear with me for a bit longer. You're probably aware of the thousands of apps that are part of the Facebook kingdom and I'm pretty sure you're teen is using upwards of 20 of them. I recommend checking what information those apps are accessing that you're teen is using. While this may sound over zealous I believe it's necessary since while you may trust the app itself, you may not trust everyone that makes the app and now has access to your teens information?

To check which information Facebook apps are accessing from your teens profile you'll need to go back to the "privacy settings". Look in the lower left corner for an area called "Apps and Websites" and click on "Edit your settings". I removed my teen from public search by clicking the "edit settings" button then un-checking the "Enable public search" check box. This feature simply makes a preview of your teens public profile available to search engines.

At the top of the page you'll see an area called "Apps you use". Click on "edit settings" to view all the appsaccessing your teens information. in the next screen you'll see a long list of apps most likely. Click on "Edit" to see the actually information being accessed to use the app. You can change the information by clicking the "remove" button, but it may affect use of the real app. I generally make sure at a minimum that all the apps have "Friends" selected in the "App privacy" area. This should keep you busy for a good while.

I hope you're heart rate isn't getting too high, but remember I'm a little paranoid and possibly over protective with my teen. I know some of my recommendations may seem too harsh, but I just don't believe in making anything easy for an online predator to use any of my teens information. While it's not a guarantee your teen won't be contacted by an online predator through Facebook this should help to cut the risk. You'll still need to educate you're teen on who they should friend and who to avoid. I recommend you read my "teens & technology guidelines" as well as "Tips to Recognize an Online Predator". I hope this helps you, but if not send me an email or add a comment below.


Street Talk

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