Top-notch social networking on the go; some issues for kids.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The mobile version of the most popular social networking site in the world is extremely easy to use. Switch between tools simply by tapping a small grid in the upper left of the screen. The new app version makes it easier to see which friends are currently available to chat, to share multiple photos, and to give real gifts to friends using Facebook gifts. 


Facebook pages can contain disturbing links and images. Site terms prohibit "graphic content for sadistic pleasure," violence, and threats.


As with the full app, user-submitted content sometimes contains sexual topics, and kids are free to search for sex-related Facebook pages. Site terms do not allow nudity related to pornographic content.


Depending on their circle of friends and the Facebook pages they choose to explore, kids might be subject to swearing and a wide range of use of language, for good or ill. Facebook terms state the site takes "action on all reports of abusive behavior directed at private individuals. Repeatedly targeting other users with unwanted friend requests or messages is a form of harassment."


Some ads encourage users to shop online stores, join dating sites, and "like" various pages to get free samples or other offers. But potential buyer beware: "Like" or otherwise interact with a social ad, and your action could be shown alongside the company's message -- and your profile may appear, too. Advertisers also use info about what you and your friends like to determine which ads you'll see when you're on the site. Users can also give gifts to friends, buy apps and premium items in free games using Facebook Credits, the site's virtual currency, which is earned through special promotions (taking surveys, applying for a credit card, etc.) or can be purchased via credit card or PayPal (50 credits cost $5; 2,360 cost $200). Users can also connect with companies via brand pages.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A user's Facebook friends and pages found through searches might subject the user to posts about drugs, alcohol, and smoking. Facebook terms say that it will "remove any promotion or encouragement of self-mutilation, eating disorders or hard drug abuse."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that teens must be diligent about setting their privacy controls on Facebook. They can set and tweak these settings on the website or on the mobile app. There are a multitude of privacy settings, including limiting who can contact you via the email you provide to Facebook, who sees your posts, and who you completely block. Different Android phones and iPhone/iPad Facebook apps may have a few small variations in bugginess and capabilities, so be aware that some features may be different if you are using an iPhone and your kid is using an Android. The Scrapbooks feature allows parents to tag photos of their kids and create a virtual scrapbook to share with friends and family. Because content about a kid under 13 is being curated, and more features are bound to roll out, the privacy and safety implications aren't clear. Facebook states that if you use others' photos of your kids, their audience settings dictate who sees the picture, and you'll be notified if the audience of a tagged photo of your kid goes public.

What's it about?

Download the Facebook app to your mobile device and you'll see a user interface that looks quite similar to the Facebook website. Tap "Status" to update your status, "Photo" to upload a photo, or "Check In" to show friends where you are. You can read, like, and comment on other people's posts. Because the screen is smaller on mobile devices, it may take a few more clicks to discover where certain features/settings are located on Facebook's mobile app, but for the most part it operates much the same as the main website.

Is it any good?


No need to pinch or squint to see some of Facebook's best features with this free mobile version. Almost everything's reformatted and perfectly sized for reading. Jump between the default "Live Feed" view of friends' posts and a screen of neatly laid-out icons you can tap to see your profile, inbox, requests, and other crucial social networking tools.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what photos and other content is best to share online and what it means to share on Facebook: Who can see your posts? How do you know?

  • Talk to your kids about your photo-sharing: Is it okay with them if you share their pictures? Before they are ready for an account, is it okay with them to have an online presence?

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:November 5, 2012
Category:Social Networking
Size:12.60 MB
Publisher:Facebook Inc.
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.3 or later

This review of Facebook was written by

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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  • Teens connect instantly to contacts; best with guidance.
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  • Powerful social tool, but use privacy settings.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byilovecookiez October 5, 2011


I'm not exactly sure whether I like this or not, but I got bored really quickly....
Teen, 16 years old Written byRisherwood June 24, 2010

Great App, Useful

Common Sense Media isn't entirely trustworthy- you CAN delete posts you make and that's not even a big deal to start with. I personally think the reviewers on this site blow things way out of proportion far too often.
Kid, 10 years old May 22, 2010

ANYONE CAN GET IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Its free for any kid to get and make their own account if they wanted to and their parents said they cant. Thats why its bad!!!!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Safety and privacy concerns


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