As a computer teacher, I am always surprised when I hear from parents "Yes my child has a Facebook, but he/she had to "Friend" me so I can see what is happenening."
Huge, no, epic mistake. What some parents may be unaware of is that your child can restrict you from seeing anything on a Facebook profile.
I know my students have some very common restrictions to hide information their parents:
- Posts to their wall by 'undesireable' friends
- Relationship status
- Posts they make to their own wall in general
- Pictures that they upload
- Pictures that other upload are tagged with their names.
Essentially, parents who are simply "Friends" with their children will see only a few select things, meanwhile the children could be acting out, or seriously endangering their safety and reputation.
Lastly, I asked how my students had gotten their Facebook accounts, despite age restrictions. Some said their parents allowed them to lie about their age. And some kids just went ahead and created one with out their parents knowing. (see the Google Alert Post)
What to do?
1. Seriously reconsider allowing your child to have a Facebook account. Watch the video and get your child's username and password. Use them, often, check the privacy settings and all restrictions.
Remember, what is done online is permanent and unscrupulous, illegal or immoral activity can affect the possibility of getting into college or getting a job. It could also seriously damage his reputation.
2. If you allow your child to have a Facebook account, do not let him lie about his age. There are certain precautions Facebook does take to protect the young. For example, any member under 18 will automatically be exempt from public directory information, and Facebook will restrict what adults can contact them.