Teenagers will have more sharing options when it comes to Facebook after the company had decided to change privacy settings. Their comments, updates and photos can now appear to the public. While this may seem like good news for them, it could me trouble. Some teenagers do not realize the dangers of allowing anyone to see their posts. Advertisers are likely to take advantage of the new privacy changes as well, using posts and photos for data collections purposes.
Facebook has made some other changes that will help protect posts by teenagers. When a teenager in the 13-17 year old range adds a Facebook post, the default security setting will only allow “friends” to see the posts. Teens can then change their setting to “public” if they so desire. Parents who are concerned with the changes can help protect their teens’ posts by monitoring their online activity and talking to their teens about the dangers of being online.
Facebook advises that the new privacy setting will mean that anyone could be viewing a teens profile, if the teen allows it. They may see more friend requests and get comments on posts and pictures from people they don’t know. They can avoid contact with strangers by not changing the default settings and being aware of the security setting of each picture or post they make.
When a teen does decide to change a post to public, a popup will display a warning explaining what the change means and who will be able to see the post. Facebook is one of the most popular social networks for teens and one of the only one that does protect their posts from being public. When new users sign up to Facebook, they are ask to submit their birthday. This allows Facebook to determine if they fall into the teen bracket. Children under 13 are not supposed to have Facebook accounts, but many lie about their birthday in order to create accounts anyway.
Facebook offers a help section on their website for teens and parents of teens who are confused about the new security changes.
Image from Wikimedia Commons.