Description: Not much needs to be said. With over 1 billion users, 350 million photos uploaded daily (over 250 billion to date!) it is the king of social media. It can be used through the app or through the web atfacebook.com.
Category: Social Media
APP Store rating: 4+, although users are supposed to be at least 13 years old in order to comply with theChild Online Privacy Protection Act(COPPA), which applies to websites and online services that collect personal information. Additionally, according to Apple’s own rules, any app that allows unrestricted web access receives an automatic 17+ rating. As explained below, Facebook does allow unrestricted web access.
What Parents Need to Know About Facebook:
Privacy is Mostly Possible – both privacy and exposure to inappropriate content should be on parents’ radar. Repeat after me: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PRIVACY ON THE WEB! Facebook feeds off sharing its users’ information with each other. Teenagers typically overshare private information, so parents must have intentional conversations around what should and shouldn’t be shared. Information that parents might suggest keeping off Facebook includes birth date, home address, and their real phone number. Facebook is genius at gathering all of that personal information and selling it to everyone. The following link provides great step-by-step guidelines for enhancing user privacy.
Look Hard Enough and You Will Find It – there are also endless numbers of inappropriate people, photos, pages, and apps that can be accessed through Facebook with a simple search. Actual pornography isn’t in plain sight but can be found with a savvy search (mostly by clicking through “likes” of random people).
But, if a teen is using the Facebook App, this search activity would not show up on monitoring reports. Only if Facebook is being accessed through a monitored browser likeCovenant Eyeswould this search activity be discoverable. The hashtag feature just creates a repository of specific themes for people to troll, i.e., #girls, #kikme, #snapchatnudes, etc.
Some Blockage – the Facebook APP and website can be effectively blocked withOpenDNSon both Apple and Android devices, using the “social networking” category. If you want access to Facebook, yet want to monitor your child’s Facebook activity, you should know their username and password, be their “friend” and make it clear that you are watching.
Unfiltered Internet Access – recently, we discovered that users can access unfiltered internet searches through Facebook. The major search engines have a company page on Facebook, and also have their URL’s on the company pages. Through these URL’s in Facebook, e.g., www.google.com, users have unfiltered access to the web. Parents must be aware of this.
Facebook is social media, therefore, COPPA is applicable, and users should all be 13. That being said, Facebook is actually a pretty attractive social platform for training kids what social media is all about.
This is because www.facebook.com operates very similarly as the Facebook App. And, by co-using www.facebook.com through a filtered and monitored web browser, like Covenant Eyes or Mobicip, inappropriate content can be partially blocked, and for what does get through, it can be discussed when it hits monitoring reports. This makes Facebook a very nice training ground for young users (who can then graduate to the app version once they prove trustworthy).