In the last few days I have been reminded that a new generation of users has joined the rapidly growing numbers on Facebook. Estimates are that in the not-so-distant future there will be 1 Billion users on Facebook, yes that’s billion with a B.

As your teenager joins the club and begins to navigate into this social sea of digital profiles there are some things you do not want to take for granted and definitely want to talk to them about. I have seen all of these safety issues violated by students that should know better. Even more so by students whose parents should know better. Hopefully, you won’t be one of them.

Facebook is ever changing and will continue to do so. This post will be off a bit just months after it goes live. Since that is true I’m posting more general ideas then specific details about how to do these things. If you read something here and don’t know how to get it done Facebook has a good help page and YouTube is a great resource.

So here goes:

1. Who will see your post? Most of us think that is will be our friends. But what if they repost it? Or if they just like it? Then their friends can also see what you sent and you don’t necessarily know them.

2. Never post personal information. Posting your address, phone, or any other personally identifiable information other than your name is just not a good idea.

3. Post after the fact. You don’t have to post something immediately. Just wait a few days to share that favorite meal or vacation time.

4. Turn off location services. There are just too many reasons not to use this to leave it on. Yes you have the benefit of knowing who is there with you but if they are real friends you will know that anyway. Don’t risk it.

5. Assume what you post will NEVER go away. Even if you delete a post, there is the possibility that someone copied it before you hit the button and then it is out of your hands. I actually have a screen shot of names and phones numbers of people I don’t know (and they don’t know I have it) because they posted them on a status of someone I am friends with.

6. Targeted marketing. Remember that any information you enter into Facebook is potentially used to market to you. I noticed this when I posted about having computer problems and the “sponsored ad” was for computer repair. That was 2 years ago. This is how Facebook makes money so keep that in mind as you post.

7. If you aren’t on it, don’t. This seems silly with 1 Billion users but if you aren’t there you aren’t missing much, seriously. There is the very real possibility that FB will go away and something else will replace it anyway. You can consider jumping on then.

30Hope this helps and that you think about applying these safety tips to all social media usage. I know the more I read the scarier it becomes but being smart goes a long way.


What tips would you add to this list about how to be safe using Facebook?