Fredericksburg Parent

January 2014

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8 Safety Tips for Parents and Teens BY KERRY L. PINTO T hese days, Facebook is still the rage. A recent study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 81 percent of American teens have used social network sites and 94 percent of those teen social network users have a Facebook account. Despite declining numbers of teens in the past year, Facebook remains one of the top social networks for young people. In order to have a safe, yet fun user experience, Fredericksburg Parent has eight tips for parents to help their teen set up and maintain a Facebook page. 1 Parents, have your own page If you don't already, it's a good idea to have your own Facebook page if only so you can navigate through the site and understand how the social media platform works. 2 Use strict privacy settings Under privacy settings, make sure to check "review all posts and things you are tagged in." This can prevent an unwanted picture or status updates where someone else is linking your name to it. 3 Don't use location tab As an added precaution, teens shouldn't be posting their exact whereabouts when they upload a photo or status update. 4 Have a conversation with your teen before friending them While friending is encouraged, be respectful of their page. Too many comments, posts, and "likes" on their page may have them second guess their decision to friend you. 5 Make rules alongside your teen about what's appropriate to post 6 Don't befriend strangers 7 Do not use the "public" option Remind them that these days, employers and college admissions departments are increasingly searching the Internet to see if you've left your digital fingerprint anywhere. Once you hit "post," the information is no longer in your hands only. This may seem like a given, but getting a friend request from someone who is attractive in their profile picture may be enough to lure your teen into accepting the request. Under privacy settings, review your teen's information with them to make sure that nothing is set to public, which is essentially allowing anyone to see certain items on their page. Instead, set to "friends" or perhaps "friends of friends" at the parents' discretion. 8 Review Facebook's Family Safety Center This information site contains specific safety tips for parents and teens. Kerry Pinto is a freelance writer living in Stafford. www.FredParent.NET 19

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