Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Little Kids on Facebook

The first time I saw my 12 year old grand daughter on Facebook I wasn’t really concerned until I saw that her birthday implied that she was 18 years old.  Thankfully, she wasn’t trying to misrepresent herself. She just knew that Facebook users under 18 have a different experience. It turns out correcting her birth year back to 1996 was a safer experience.


I was actually surprised to see that Facebook took any steps to protect the privacy of 13 to 17 year old kids. Do you think it’s enough? You can guess my answer would be NO! My grand daughter is now legitimately a Facebook member at 13 years old but was still encouraged to access the applications like “Lover of the Day”.

I can’t deny kids and many adults think sharing their private information is the closest thing to becoming a reality TV star. It’s like we’re raising the  Share-It-All Generation. Unfortunately, Facebook shares most of this information with companies who have no physical address or stated privacy policy.

Kids need all the help and direction possible. When it comes to your kids I’m all in favor of  “My Mom is on Facebook”

While this fun video will make you LYAO, if you’re a parent and you let you young kids on Facebook there are few things you should know. Yes, I know many of you are giving in and allowing kids even under 13 to be online so listen up.

First, not only should be a friend of your child, you should have complete access to their account so you can see who they’re friends with and what they post.  Trust me compared to what they might give away on Facebook, you’re not invading their privacy. If they see a screen that says “Allow Access” they should click the little “Leave Application” text and not the big YES button.

If you want to know what happens when they allow an application see my previous post “Who gets your personal information on Facebook”.

Like the video, Facebook is fun and appealing.   Full disclosure:  when my kids were pre-teens they were running Trivia games in online chat rooms. Our computer was in a common area and they weren’t giving away personal information or sharing photos with strangers.  So I can’t tell you what choice to make as a parent but I hope you won’t be afraid to keep your eyes open and teach you kids about what choices they have.

Especially teach your kids to “Think Before You Post” and check out the videos like Everyone.


Thanks to Abby, whose son is a Facebook developer, for the link to the “My Mom is on Facebook” video. :)

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Anonymous delenn13 said...

When I read this on Twitter, I was thinking about MY Mom who is in her 70's and has Alzheimer's. She would have been one of the first to fill out one of those emails that are going around about changing your password for security on FB.

I agree about the kids though. They should be watched. I, personally, unfreinded all my friends including my husband, when FB changed their privacy policy. The only thing I have is now is "Be a Fan" stuff. And I am not sure how long I am going to keep that up.

12:18 PM  

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