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What parents need to know
In light of recent events, our Facebook review is currently being re-evaluated to determine the appropriate age recommendation.
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- Kids say
What's it about?
To sign up for FACEBOOK, you need to be at least 13 and have a valid email address. Once you have an account, you can "friend" other users whose posts will appear on your Timeline. Through the settings, you can choose to have your account accessible to everyone, only to friends, or a custom group. You can also select what personal information is shared with others, choose whether your profile is available via a Web search, and delete posts from your Activity Log. "Liking" a product or celebrity profile will make related posts appear on your Timeline -- and will fuel targeted advertising. Because others can "tag" you in their posts, it's possible to adjust settings around being tagged and approving those posts on your own Timeline. Parents can use tagging to create a Scrapbook of their kids' photos, and users can create secret groups that are undiscoverable without an invitation. In addition to posting, users can use Facebook's Messenger app -- which is integrated into Facebook -- to chat with others. It's also possible to live-stream video and watch others' live streams. As of 2017 users can choose to only share a live stream with friends or use "Live With" which allows two users to stream jointly from two different accounts using a picture-in-picture format. If you go live, you can also use a feature called Lip Sync Live to choose from the available songs, lip sync, and even add someone else in the video. In addition to social connection, users can access games, concert ticket, and on-demand services, like Uber. Creators can make games shows like HQ Live Trivia Game Show via Facebook Live where users can participate in real time to try to earn real money.
Is it any good?
As one of the biggest and most enduring social networks, it has many elements that are attractive to users, but it's important to know the ins and outs before your teen starts posting. Though lots of teens are now only using Facebook as one of many methods of communicating, it's still relevant, continues to innovate, and keeps adding more features. In fact, it's hard to keep up with its acquisitions and new capabilities, so it's a good idea to check settings periodically and have an account of your own to stay on top of things. As always, posting publicly, oversharing, and cyberbullying are concerns with social media, and with the addition of live-streaming in 2016, it's even more important to talk to teens about what's appropriate to share. This is even more relevant with the recent announcement of live monitoring of violent content by Facebook to cut down on the amount of murders and suicide videos that have been posted to feeds since live streams were implemented. Since so many parents use Facebook, it's also worth thinking about the digital footprint you're creating for your kid; in fact, many kids don't want endless pictures and videos of themselves shared with the world, so be sensitive to the information trail you're creating for your kid.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how to responsibly use social-networking sites -- and how to react if someone (even a good friend) posts something inappropriate on your Timeline. (Parents should get up to speed on Facebook so they have a sense of what kids are doing on it.)
Discuss privacy settings. Because Facebook makes frequent changes, it's a good idea to sit down with your teen for periodic profile reviews. Pay close attention to the privacy settings and which posts, photos, and personal information are visible and to whom.
Use the information in the Youth Portal to talk with your teen about how to use this -- and other -- social networking sites and apps safely and responsibly.
- Subjects: Social Studies: global awareness
- Skills: Communication: conveying messages effectively, multiple forms of expression
Collaboration: respecting other viewpoints
Responsibility & Ethics: following codes of conduct, making wise decisions, respect for others
Tech Skills: social media
- Genre: Social Networking
- Pricing structure: Free
For kids who love hanging out online
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.