PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Social Media, Facebook in particular, is so popular, its nearly impossible to avoid it in our daily lives. For parents, it's a scary thought. What is the appropriate age for kids to join?
So why age 13?
"We follow the guidelines set by the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which applies to the online collection of personal information from
children under 13."
That basically means that the government says that at 13 years old, kids are allowed to have their personal information collected online.
Facebook actually has specific settings to protect kids under 18 years old.
"We have created special privacy protections for minors on Facebook, including minimizing who can contact them on Facebook and ensuring that they do not have public search listings created for them. Additionally, we've designed the "Everyone" privacy setting to work differently for minors than it does for adults, so a minor's information will never be shared with everyone on Facebook."
So how does Facebook do that?
They have a well designed site that breaks down and explains everything that you might want to know about minors on Facebook and protecting their privacy which can be found here:
Privacy for Minors
All parents should read this section:
- Depending on their settings, minors may receive messages from people who are friends of friends on Facebook, which may include adults they don't know. Facebook says that while a minor might see the word "public" when they choose their options, that only goes as far as friends of friends. Once they turn 18, then public really does become public.
When adults have a post something, they have the option to post to the "public" kids are limited to only allow "friends of their friends." This includes tagging. Minors can only be tagged by friends of friends.
Kids also default to having their locations turned off, but they do have the option of having that turned on.
What about if a minor lies about their age, can they be protected?
Now if a child is not honest about their age when they register on Facebook, those settings designed to protect kids won't work properly, meaning if a minor says they are 18 or older.
If your kids are on Facebook, it's also best if you are too and you are friends with them. To increase both of your privacy, set your settings to friends only and not friends of friends. This will go further in limiting how many strangers can see them or tag them.
Facebook also has a family safety center that has a wealth of resources for parents to use as well:
Now Facebook recently started offering it's users the option to download their Facebook data?
That's right now under your account settings you can download all your Facebook data. This is a collection of everything you've ever given to Facebook. Inmoremation, pictures, data -- all of it. Once requested it takes a day for them to compile everything then they send you a link you can download to see just how much information we share with Facebook. If you're on the fence about your kids joining this might be a good exercise for you on your page.