Teens love to share photos and personal ideas and information on Facebook. While you can’t stop them from opening an account—they’ll probably do one behind your back—you can teach them important Facebook safety rules. This will protect them from online identity theft, or anything that jeopardizes her reputation or ability to get a job or a college loan.
Facebook rule # 1: Don’t use your legal name
Your legal name, or full name, should only be used for legal documents. It’s safer to use a nickname, or to slightly change the spelling.
Facebook rule # 2: Don’t share your full birthday
It’s okay to post the month and the day (since one of the best functions of Facebook is to remind you when it’s time to greet someone happy birthday) but save the year and the age. Again, this is information is best used for legal documents, especially since most of them will require a birth date for verification.
Facebook rule # 3: Don’t give your full address
Would your teen give her address to a total stranger? ‘Hey, I’ve never met you before, but here’s my street number and hometown, so you can drop by anytime.’ That would be insane. Same thing goes for online strangers. Just share your city or state.
Facebook rule # 4: Don’t give your mobile number or home phone number
Save this information for close friends, who probably already know your number anyway. Or, if you need to exchange those details, do that privately—not on a Facebook page, where everyone can be watching.
Facebook rule # 5: Pick your photos
Don’t post any photos that would give away your school (like your uniform) or any other private information of where you live (like posing in front of the front door). Just share close up photos or group photos.
Facebook: rule # 6: Pick your friends
Don’t accept or invite a total stranger to be a friend. It’s not a popularity contest. If they want to bloat up their friends list, maybe for a game that needs a certain number of contacts to acquire a particular trophy or reward, teach them how to set up their contact lists so their personal posts are only seen by a select number of people. No use for that stranger they ‘met’ through Mafia Wars or Farmville to see their graduation pics, or know that the entire family just got back from a vacation.
Facebook rule # 7: Be on burglar alert
Don’t leak any information that would be useful for burglars. For example, saying, ‘We’re all going to Disneyland tomorrow and will be back on Sunday!’ practically sends an invitation out to crooks: ‘The house will be empty for three days, go ahead and break in!’ It’s safer to just post photos when you get back.
Photo from sheknows.com
[…] You should also tell them to be careful about the Facebook posts that they make. Private thoughts and sensitive situations are still better shared with a small circle of trusted friends, not bannered for all to see, copy, and paste. (Read our article on Facebook safety rules to teach your teen.) […]