5 ways to help your young person use Facebook wisely

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The new question in town is at  what age should be child get a Facebook page. Well, that’s for you to figure out (although Facebook requires its users to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account). But regardless of the age they begin as a parent it’s your job to make sure they use it safely and wisely.

1. Help kids set up their pages

Go through the set-up phase with their kids, including establishing a personal profile. Check out the homepage of Facebook and other sites, and use their help sections to answer your questions. Help young people adjust the privacy settings so they suit their level of comfort. Review them often.

2. Address safety issues

Reinforce the importance of never sharing their passwords, not even with their best friend, a boyfriend or girlfriend. They should discuss other safety tips such as the types of information and pictures that should and shouldn’t be placed on their pages, as well as what to do if someone sends inappropriate information or initiates unsolicited communication.

3. Monitor their use

Keep an eye on their child’s use of Facebook. It helps if the computer they use at home is in a common area of the house, although this is more difficult when kids use mobile phones to access Facebook. This type of monitoring is age-related and may well not be suitable for older teens.

4. Get your own page

Get your town Facebook page and learn how to use it. Many parents already use Facebook as a way of communicating with their children. This has the added bonus of enabling parents to keep one eye on what’s happening on their child’s Facebook page.

5. Discuss with kids how and when to use Facebook

Facebook is a common communication medium, but it’s not the only one available. Encourage parents to discuss the pros and cons of Facebook and other communication media such as sending text messages, talking on mobiles and also connecting face-to-face.

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