As teen suicide rates increase because of Facebook bullying, the social media website is changing their privacy settings. And as much as I wish I could tell you that they're making things tighter and restricting access, they're not. Yes, Facebook has changed their teen privacy settings (13 to 17 years old) and are now allowing their younger users to share photos, updates, and comments with the general public.
What's that mean? Well, now companies collecting data for advertisers and marketing companies will be able to see certain posts. OK, that's concerning, but not wretched. What is wretched? Strangers will be able to "follow" your teen. Meaning that people they don't know can see their public posts in their newsfeed by simply clicking "subscribe."
Let me ask you a question: Do you want strangers knowing what your teen is up to? Yeah, I didn't think so.
Whereas teens may think posting things publicly could be cool and get them more "followers," that's NOT what you want to see happen as a parent. While they may not understand the danger of letting strangers know they're "OMG at the movies with the gals!" or "This mall is SUCH a miss today!" -- you do. That's why it's your responsibility to talk to them ... and soon.
So today, I urge you as a parent to sit down with your teen and talk about the changes. I beg of you to not only address the issues of cyberbullying, what's OK and what's not, but to also step-by-step show your teens how to keep things "private" and select the "friends only" option. Now more than ever, parents need to know what their kids are doing online. It's your responsibility, and scarily enough, this talk could mean the difference between life and death.
Are you concerned about what your teen is sharing on Facebook?
Image via Ted Soqui/Corbis