What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
What kids can learn
- global awareness
- conveying messages effectively
- multiple forms of expression
- respecting other viewpoints
Responsibility & Ethics
- following codes of conduct
- making wise decisions
- respect for others
- social media
Engagement, Approach, Support
One of the most addictive sites on the Internet. Kids (and grown-ups) can spend many hours virtually socializing on this granddaddy of social media sites.
Teens can practice communication skills by posting and commenting, and a cascade of prompts teases out quirky forms of self-expression. By setting up privacy controls, teens also can learn responsible social networking.
Teens won't easily find direct guidance or tips on responsible social networking; more likely they'll learn through experience. Though Facebook offers a range of privacy controls, figuring out the options can be tricky.
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. In addition to social connection, users can access games, concert ticket, and on-demand services, like Uber. Facebook's personal assistant, "M" -- similar to Siri or Cortana but with some human oversight -- is in beta testing as of 2016 and is designed to make recommendations, schedule services, and help make purchases.
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 is 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. 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.
Families can talk 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.