A Safety Guide for Teens Using Facebook
Facebook is a good place to connect with friends and keep yourself up to date with what is going on around you. However, just like the other social media platforms, they expose teenagers to many vices and dangers. Here are a few safety rules that teenagers should keep in mind while using Facebook.
1. Never write your full name on Facebook.
It is not mandatory to write your full names on Facebook. Try to keep displayed names at a maximum of two names only. Always exclude your middle name or unique nicknames that can narrow down an outsider’s search. Make sure that your friends also know about keeping their names private so that they can be safe as well. When your friends are safe, you are safe too.
2. Do not share specific dates on Facebook.
Most teens share details of their daily whereabouts on Facebook. They even indicate the time and place they were or where they will be going. Giving this information is dangerous. For instance, by indicating when, where and for how long you and your family will go on vacation, you could be informing burglars of the best time to rob your house. Regularly posting about habits such as going to the gym or coffee shop gives others clues about where you or your vehicle might be located for a considerable amount of time throughout your day. Be discrete about these details and do not share them on Facebook or any other social media platform.
3. Follow the rules.
Facebook has certain rules set out which are meant to be followed. For example, you can only create an account if you are above the age of thirteen. Do not lie about your age for any reason. If you are 14, do not claim to be 17. There are certain safety measures and filters applied automatically for younger Facebook users to protect them. The rules are there for everyone’s good so make sure that they are followed. You should also refrain from posting sexually explicit images or offensive content. This is against the rules of Facebook and create a poor image at the beginning of an online reputation. Facebook can ban your account for doing this and another Facebook user can also report your account to try and get it shut down.
4. Be careful what you post.
Keep in mind that Facebook is an online platform and everything there can be seen by a large number of people. Even if you have a small group of friends that you communicate with on Facebook, what you post can easily spread to thousands of people. It is important that you pay special attention to what you post on Facebook. Posting inappropriate content has led to some teenagers being expelled from certain private schools or have led to bigger problems. This can ruin your chances of getting into a good college or even landing a good job. It can also be quite devastating when family members catch sight of these online mistakes. It can tarnish reputations and destroy social lives.
5. Be picky about what you write in “About Me” on your profile.
A Facebook profile page tells a lot about the person who made the page. Be careful about what you give away for unknown others to see in your profile. For example, when writing about your hometown or current city, fill in a generally wide area or leave it blank. As for political views, religious views and interested in, think of something that will make others think of you in a positive manner. As you fill in these details, be careful not to write anything that others could turn around and give you grief over. If you can’t think of anything to fill in, simply leave the information blank. Give as little information as possible and don’t post information that those who already know you in real life would know automatically.
6. Give it a second or third thought.
Do not let your emotions control you when you are posting on Facebook. If you are extremely angry, happy or sad, you can make decisions about what you are posting that you might want to take back later. Wait until you have calmed down to take a look at what you want to post before you publish an image, video or text on your timeline. It is real easy to post something in error and extremely difficult to take it back once it has been posted.
By using caution and taking certain safety steps when using Facebook, parents and their children can work together to get a strong understanding of their online presence and personal security. This is important because online dangers and how to handle them are new for everyone: parents and their children alike. Parents who get a firm grasp on how to be safe on Facebook can pass along that same knowledge to their children in their formative years so that when they grow older, they will have responsible, healthy and positive profiles that they present to the rest of the world.