Is Facebook a Secure Place For Your Child?
How many people from your social circle do not have Facebook accounts? Most likely, you can count them on one hand. Despite children and teens nowadays prefer messengers to this social network, they also still actively use it, so Facebook is likely to remain one of the most visited websites in the world in the near future. Being registered there is a usual thing, just like having a telephone number. However, it is different in terms of the amount of personal data you share with others, which begs the question, is Facebook safe?
The answer depends on how you use it and what kind of security you mean. If we talk about the possibility of a successful hacker attack on the site that will let all users’ information fall into the hands of hackers, it is unlikely to happen, since at Facebook they care about the company’s reputation and put much efforts to provide a high level of security.
If we talk about individuals, dangers of Facebook are pretty evident. Of course, users are often faulty for creating weak passwords, easy security questions, neglecting privacy settings and exposing too much personal data on their page.
However, at Facebook they care about customers’ privacy as long as it does not prevent them from collecting information used for ad targeting. Therefore, they aim to change the allowable level of openness in users’ minds, so they would not bother about hiding their data and thus, encourage others to do the same.
It is obvious that in such circumstances kids are the most vulnerable users of Facebook, since they are easily suggestible and cannot filter information they get.
What are the dangers of kids on Facebook?
They can be exposed to inappropriate content
Great amount of information appears on Facebook every second, so it is impossible to monitor everything circulating on the site. Although, there is a report system that gives users tools for putting a stop to explicit content, you cannot be sure your child does not see something before it is reported and deleted. Moreover, Facebook sometimes is not capable to remove all the abusive or sexual information, even if it’s aware of it.
Not long ago another problem appeared due to the launch of Facebook’s live video streaming feature. On April 6, 2016, Mark Zuckerberg posted a message about where he said, “this is a big shift in how we communicate, and it’s going to create new opportunities for people to come together.” It sounds promising, but video streaming also creates an opportunity for your kid to witness somebody committing suicide.
They can easily become perverts’ victims
Posting photos, check-ins, likes give internet predators enough information to start stalking your kid, even in real life. It is even easier if a Facebook account is synchronized with other apps. Parents often sin by oversharing and let perverts know about their children’s looks and whereabouts.
Kids can also add strangers to their friend list, allowing them to send abusive messages just because they are obsessed with increasing number of “friends” and approve everyone’s request or because they have mutual friends and don’t expect anything unusual. It often starts with one kid who is the type of person who accepts everyone and gives them a credibility border pass to others’ friend lists.
They can unintentionally provoke somebody to commit a robbery
While making selfies and video streaming, kids often show the layout of their home and everything that a robber can use to easily break into the house and quickly steal valuable items. It also doesn’t demand much efforts to find out an address and define an appropriate time for robbery since kids often make it clear where they live and when their parents are not at home.
They can become victims of cyberbullying
Danger of kids on Facebook is not limited to perverts and criminals. They can be abused even by their peers for several reasons: physical appearance, race, ethnicity, gender, personal conflicts and many other. Cyberbullying is far more dangerous that it may seem to be. There are plenty of examples when kids committed suicide not being able to endure constant harassment.
It is also necessary to mention Facebook messenger that thrives to be a primary messaging app for users, including children and teenagers, and thus, adds new Snapchat-like features not to fall behind the competitors. Is Facebook messenger secure for your kid? Not really, since by adding disappearing messages, it creates perfect conditions for sexting thanks to a seeming high level of confidentiality. Again, messages self-destruction does not prevent them from being saved as screenshots or photos, which can be used as weapons in cyberbullying.
Are there ways to keep your kid safe on Facebook? Yes, you should to talk to your kid to explain the importance of protecting their personal information and follow simple steps to ensure their safe online presence. They have to set up privacy settings for their account. It is also necessary to limit the sharing of their location by turning off geotagging on their smartphones.
Tell them to clean up their friend list from strangers and set privacy settings to allow more access for trusted friends and highly limited access to acquaintances. Remember, first of all your kids should trust you and be sure they can tell you about everything that makes them feel uncomfortable on Facebook.