11 ways to Stay Safe on Facebook

Dangers of Facebook are real - Parenting by ZenParent

We’ve all heard about how important it is to keep our children safe online, be careful about what they share with friends and so on. But how good are we at protecting our kids online? Recently, there was an alert post in one of the “moms only” groups that I am part of on Facebook, regarding a certain page that was clearly pedophilic in nature. I think what struck a chord with me was how ordinary the pictures posted there were. It was something we would mindlessly share with friends, but had been stolen unbeknownst to the original poster. Here are some tips to make sure your online presence is safe for you and your kids–

1. Tighten your privacy settings – Go to https://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=privacy and make sure that all your default settings are set to “Friends” and for really private things, “Only Me”. Setting it as “Public” allows access to anyone. For more privacy settings, hit the small “lock” icon on the top right corner of your Facebook page and work them accordingly. Remember Facebook defaults your next post to the same privacy setting as your previous one. So, if you shared an article as Public before and then post a picture of your daughter intended for friends, it still posts it as Public.

2. Make sure your photo albums have all been set to whatever privacy you want them to be. You can change the privacy of independent pictures as well. You can create private albums on other services such as Google+ for sharing with family and friends.

3. Be very cautious when sharing pictures of your family and particularly kids in any group. Groups can be “Closed” meaning they’re findable on searching or “Secret” which means they’re “invite-only” but none of this prevents any misuse of your pictures or information. Post only things that you’re ok with being shared.

4. Report any suspicious groups or profiles as and when you see them. Typically after an investigation, the pages or profiles are taken down. If it is illegal, please report to your country’s cyber crime branch (although this may not lead to anything concrete).

5. Be careful who you “friend”. People you don’t know too much need to be segregated as acquaintances or you can “restrict” them from viewing all of your content while adding them. Though “meeting” online is fairly common these days, establish a bit of background about each other before allowing access to all of your personal information.

6. Keep cover photos generic. This is because they are available for public viewing only.

7. Monitor “tags” added off you by friends. If you do not want your friends viewing a photo you’ve been “tagged” in, feel free to “remove tag” by clicking on the arrow like symbol beneath each photo.

8. Avoid “checking in” to your kids’ schools/playschools and other establishments so that the public do not know where your kids go to school/entertainment etc. Also, do not post statuses which claim you’re going to be away from home for a period of time. Burglaries have happened in such cases. True story.

9. Never post information like phone numbers, addresses, etc. anywhere.

10. Steer clear of contests that require one to post pics of their kids online.

11. Change your password often sign out from Facebook after every use, even if it is your own computer.

If your tweens/teens are on Facebook, ensure that they follow these rules to stay safe as well.

loader