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March 10, 2008

Kids Should Worry About Strangers, Not Parents On Facebook

The March 9th Washington Post article titled "When a Mom or Dad Ask to Be a Facebook Friend" revisted a topic I have discussed often in this blog ever since I found the "Over 40 is Facebook Creepy" Facebook group. I believe adults will be the force to propel Facebook to star status. Even the article had some stats to prove that point:

"Today, the fastest-growing segment of Facebook's estimated 66 million users are people 25 and older."

I understand that kids don't want their parents following the sordid details of their personal lives, but they seem so comfortable with complete strangers doing so. The college student in the article did not mind what someone they did not know finds out, but they did mind what their parents find out.  I am sorry, but are kids clueless that future employers, coaches and ex-boy/girlfriends check profiles? Do they know if they put photo's of themselves in bikini's in their profile that it will fall into the wrong hands at some point (unless they put their pictures out to start a career as one of the hot women on the web..).

Kids should have their privacy, but anything "online" is not private. On one hand I don't feel that any adult (18 or older) should be forced to friend anyone. But kiddies, chill out about your parents on Facebook - you really should be worrying about what your future employer will think! Or an unstable stranger. At least give parents access to your limited profile...Just that little tidbit will make them happy...

Here are some of juicy tidbits for Facebook Privacy guidelines:

The "How I can protect my privacy on Facebook" page has all the details to understand how to set up profile security. The first thing anyone should do after setting up their Facebook ID is to set their privacy. The default is that ANYONE in your network and your friends can see your profile. If your network is a University or area (like Silicon Valley), then you are opening your profile up to many strangers. I suggest to set up privacy so that only confirmed friends can see your whole profile. There is a limited profile, but that needs to be set up with no private information in it. Then users can allow others in their network and search results to see their "limited profile" if needed. Select users (like that ex) can also be "blocked" from seeing any information. The other important privacy settings are for search results and individual elements of profiles.

It is best never to share personal information such as home address and phone number on the profile. Anyone can be reached via an email address or with an Facebook email.  And keep the bikini pictures offline....

Comments

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Beth,
This is so true and so frustrating. Kids really need to understand the ramifications of their lives online.

Great article Beth!

Nice, calm posting - with direct advice on privacy settings, always good to see! Thanks Beth!

Beth,

I am glad you brought this up again! This is very important for today's kids to realize what they do on the web can really haunt them in their future. As I am a recovering accountant, when I was interviewing with the Big 4 Firms they all wanted to find out more about me and what were the outside affiliations that may affect their firm! Well even after having accounts at myspace,facebook,bebo, orkut, and more I passed their test! lol but the realities of todays google search function really exploits your every footstep on the "Internet" type in your name and you will see! Even teenagers and college students need to be very careful in todays social networks as I know recruiters these days are actually googling the interviewee's name and seeing what comes up before the interview. This can really ruin and display the wrong image of a great person!

Thanks Beth,
James

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