|ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.|
|PAUSE: Know your child; some content|
may not be right for some kids.
|OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.|
|NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids any age.|
Parents need to know that Facebook Home puts Facebook at the center of your teen's smart phone and demotes any other apps, texting, and calling capabilities to less visible spots on the device. Teens who are heavy Facebook users will probably love this app because their Facebook account's news feed becomes the phone's launch screen. Now called the cover feed, the main screen also includes a little bubble with the user's profile photo at the screen's bottom center. Turn on the phone, and posts from Facebook friends (and the user's own posts) begin to appear, then pan across the screen for a few seconds, and then another post, and another. Teens can like or comment on a post directly from the cover feed. They can also easily post their own status updates, photos, or check in simply by swiping their chat head upward.
Facebook essentially becomes the focal point of a teen's phone if Facebook Home users also download Facebook Messenger, which combines texting and Facebook messaging in the form of "chat heads." Chat heads are used to send and receive Facebook messages and texts anytime, including while using other apps. Teens can still access the phone, traditional texting, and all other apps, but it requires an extra step or two. Currently, Facebook Home is only available to install on a few Android-based smart phones, and comes pre-installed on the HTC First. Parent should note that users can adjust their data use setting to high, medium, or low -- this is a key factor to consider for phones with limited data plans.
Teens can learn how mobile social networking blends with their smartphone's other capabilities on Facebook Home. If used wisely and with guidance, this app can help teens express themselves to friends, build friendships, and learn how to organize their smartphone-based communication in a new, streamlined way. Teens will need to practice a lot of self-awareness and wise decision-making to make sure the constant communication stream on Facebook Home doesn't drive them to distraction.
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