My teenage daughter has asked me if she can join Facebook. Is it safe?
Doting Dad of Dargate.
Yes, with a dose of commonsense and good parenting.
The Geek family are strong believers in children using the internet safely. We keep our computers in ‘communal’ areas, not hidden up in the bedroom, so that whatever the children are doing they know we are close by and keeping an eye out.
First of all, you need to be at least 13 to set up a Facebook account. Lying about your age to create an account is not a good start and could be an indicator of how open and honest a child’s internet use is going to be.
As soon as the account is created, the next thing is to adjust the privacy settings. Click “Account, Privacy Settings” in the top-right corner. Regardless of age and gender, having a completely public Facebook account is not the best idea. By limiting your content to friends you know your identity is that bit safer.
When adding friends, try to remember the real world. Is this person asking to be your friend also your friend in real life? If not, why do you want them to have access to everything you do?
Add Mum or Dad to their friend list. That way you will be able to see who they are making friends with and what content they are sharing, while they will still be able to send private messages to their friends. Yes, when they get older, you may not want to be watching so closely…
Finally, look at something like K9 Web Protection to make sure your children do not wander off to unsavoury sites and even limit internet access to certain times of the day.