Facebook has become rather addictive for teenagers and adults alike.  The famous social network is a great medium to connect with friends and family members no matter how far they are. However, there is a flip side to it, as popular social media are not immune to the threats, cursing, and jeers made by cyberbullies. Teenagers are the most likely age group to connect with hundreds of people online, even strangers. A random encounter with a stranger online can form a major threat.

Getting on Facebook

The first step that a parent should do to stay on board with the social media game is very simple: join it! There is so much that could be done by familiarizing oneself with what social media is all about and the different features it offers. First of all, it gives parents the chance to always be in touch with their young ones. Also, becoming “Facebook friends” with your child means that you’re no longer unaware of the many ways it could be used. Most importantly, it can help parents monitor their children’s online activity without seeming like they’re invading their privacy.

Adjusting Facebook Security

After familiarizing oneself with Facebook’s multiple features, a parent now has the ability to adjust the security settings for his or her teen’s Facebook account. You should keep in mind, however, that only children aged 13 and older can join the social media website. This rule can be clearly seen in Facebook’s Terms of Use. A parent should make sure the child is of age before registering for an account. If the child passes the age rule, the parent can now make adjustments to the account’s privacy settings. Make sure that the settings are set to the highest levels and never on default. You should also make sure that only approved friends can get to see the teenager’s account content like information on Facebook pages the teen “likes”, pictures, and videos. This can tighten the account’s security so that parents could be less worried about their teens’ Facebook experience.

Protecting the Teen’s Account

To make the teen’s account more secure, the parent can opt for setting the account’s password, which is shared with the teen. To avoid having the password changed behind the parent’s back, Facebook offers a feature that allows the parent to set a security question that only the parent knows. Parents can contact Facebook Safety Center for more information about this issue. The Facebook Safety Center team gives vital tips on how to achieve optimum Facebook security for teenagers. However, this is only needed if the teenager abruptly changes the password without the parent’s consent or knowledge.

Create your own Facebook Rules

Both the parent and the teenager should agree on a set of rules they set together. These rules are to ensure that the teen is properly using Facebook, and is not abusing it by any means. To maintain trust on both sides, parents should tell their teens that they are monitoring their Facebook accounts, especially for very young ones aged 13-15. Moreover, the teen should agree to become Facebook friends with their parents, as a precondition for using the website. The parent should also remember not to reveal the Facebook security question to their child.

Teaching the Child about Facebook Security

If the teen is new to Facebook and wants to make a Facebook account with the parent, the adult should guide them along the way.

Create a Strong Password

The most important part of filling out the information for the child is the Facebook security check feature: a strong password. Teach the child what kind of password should be made. The password should be a word or a phrase that cannot be guessed right away but it should have meaning for the child. This way, the teen can easily remember the password right away without looking at a note that the child might accidentally in the future. Strictly advise the child to not tell his or her friends about the password. If you would like to learn more about creating resilient passwords, check out this guide.

Properly Logging Out of Facebook

One of the most common ways a teen can get bullied on the Internet is by not logging out properly from Facebook. There are some people who love to hack accounts, especially careless owners who leave their accounts logged in. To prevent that, a parent should remind the child to always log out of Facebook after using any computer, even if it is owned by the family. Tell the child to also tick off the “remember password” option that can be seen on the login screen. Explain that this is to avoid storing the password in that computer. Even if Facebook assures the user of a secure login, the user should always be careful. This goes for teens and adults alike!

Avoiding Facebook Scammers

Even if Facebook offers secure browsing, social media is not immune to the many tricks of scammers littered on the website. To avoid being scammed, a parent should teach the child to know what types of Facebook posts are okay to click on and which ones to avoid. There are some strangers out there who intentionally send scam posts to those on their Friends list in order to bully them. The teen should be informed so that he or she can avoid getting scammed or getting his or her account stolen.

Scam posts are of different forms. Some of them are:

  • Phishing posts – This is a type of scam post that attempts the user to reveal private or financial information in order to steal that information and abuse it. Usually, these posts will be about an amazing offer, and the user who clicks it needs to fill out a form with all of the information needed. Avoid this at all costs.
  • Malware posts – This is a type of scam post which installs dangerous software on the computer. This software will then eat away the computer’s own software and the PC will most likely shut down in the process. Some strangers do this just for fun. Others do it as a way of cyberbullying.

In order to protect the family from malware attacks, parents can install anti-virus software. Most content on Facebook is alright, but this preventive measure can prevent any harmful software from attacking your computer. Just remind the teen to carefully choose which Facebook posts to click on, and everything will be fine.

Setting up Secure Browsing

Teens love to use gadgets to connect to the Internet through public hot spots. Public hot spots are also “hot spots” for many threats like hacking, viruses, and many other Internet threats. Parents should adjust the settings for secure browsing, thus preventing online predators from stealing the user’s Facebook account or even peeking in on their online interactions.  This feature will also guarantee that the browser that is being used is connected to Facebook and not just a fake website claiming to be Facebook. This will make the teen’s public wireless connection to Facebook secure.

Securing Accounts

If a teen’s account has signs of hacking, the parent should provide assistance for further Facebook security. There are several steps in retaining a hacked account and the Facebook Safety Center team will always be of assistance in the event of a Facebook security breach. A parent can report the hacked account to the team, and Facebook will lock the teen’s account until proven safe. The team will then ask the parent to complete a security check to unlock the account and enable the parent to change the Facebook security code or password.

Understanding Facebook security tactics is a part of a parent’s responsibility in the digital age. Before allowing your child on Facebook, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the different features and risks that come with using social media. Establishing Facebook family rules and providing the child with security guidance should be done afterwards. Earning the teen’s trust is also a requirement for the parent, making it easier for the adult to monitor the child’s actions on Facebook. Facebook security is always there to help, but with the parent’s teaching and loving guidance, our teens will always be protected.