Thinking about my children having Facebook accounts truly scares me. Like I need a glass of wine in front of me right now to just write about it. But thinking about the kids Facebook usage in just a few short years means that I have to think about safety and what should be done before we set up their accounts.
Being an involved parent means that I'm pretty much researching any and everything the kids do with the computer or tablets. While I want them to learn and grow from their fun apps and games, I also want to keep them (and my computers) safe.
Here are a few things to do before your kids get Facebook to help keep them safe and help give you peace of mind (or you can just pretend for a bit…).
10 Things to Do Before Your Kids Get Facebook
- Read Facebook's Rules and Regulations – when you set up your child's account (because you should be doing it, not them) make sure you know and understand the rules, terms, and policies Facebook has set fourth for their users. And make sure your children know as well.
- Talk to other parents – find out what other parents you trust are doing with their kids. Are their kids under 13 but still allowed to have a Facebook account? Do they monitor their activities and usage by signing their kids on every time they go on Facebook? What rules and limitations do they set?
- Sit down and talk with your children about internet safety – You might be surprised at how little your kids really do know about internet safety. Discuss phishing, fake accounts, and the consequences of sharing personal things on the internet.
- Set up your child's account – if your child is younger than the Facebook approved age to start an account, consider setting up your child's account with your email and your password. Sign them up every time they want to use Facebook so that they know you have total control until they show the maturity needed to have their own access to their account.
- Make sure all notifications are sent to you – along the same lines of setting up the account under your email, make sure that you're getting all of the notifications as well. That includes game notifications, friend requests, etc.
- Monitor your child's usage – I know I've said it before, but monitoring your child while their on Facebook is the best way to assure their safety. Make sure they only use Facebook while you're in the same room and that they know you can access their account at any time.
- Routinely go through your child's friend requests – better yet, check their Facebook account daily and monitor what they're sharing as well.
- Have a “no click” rule – with the increasing amount of ads on Facebook, there are many links and ads in the sidebars. There are also links that friends may share with your child that could lead them to sites that you may not wish for your child to go to including infected links. If this is something you're concerned about, create a “no click” rule unless you have approved the link they're clicking on.
- Set up encryption on your home or office router – make sure that you've set up encryption on your home or office router just in case someone is trying to use your internet connection. This will not only protect your kids while they're on the internet but it will protect your information on your devices as well.
- Utilize Hotspot Shield’s VPN service – use a virtual private network (VPN), like Hotspot Shield's VPN service, to lock down and encrypt the wireless communication shared on your devices. This service will also detect and block any malware in case your child does click on that bad link while browsing Facebook via WiFi.
Facebook is a great way for kids to connect to family members, friends, etc and can be a great tool when used properly.
Want to learn more about Hotspot Shield? Their free VPN can shield data from hackers on your computer or phone so that your children’s personal information is safe. Connect with Hotspot Shield on Twitter, Facebook and their very own Hotspot Shield blog.