Today, our good friends at Connectsafely, together with the iKeepSafe Coalition, announced A Parents’ Guide to Facebook, a detailed resource that provides parents with step-by-step guidance on how to help their teens maintain their privacy on Facebook, the world’s #1 social networking site.
The 32-page guide is free and available online for download. It is also accompanied by an online interactive guide that gives you a checklist of recommendations for teens on settings such as what you might want or not want to share in “Contact Information” or which options to select under “Customized Privacy Settings.” The online checklists also link directly to the relevant section on Facebook so you can immediately set or amend settings. (You do need to be logged in to Facebook, so it will prompt you to log in if you are not already so).
The guide is helpful for parents because it not only walks you through the technical details of what to click within the privacy settings section (with screenshots included), but it also provokes parents to think about the impact of social networking and what kids need to consider, from their privacy (and the privacy of others), to their online behavior, to the implications to their reputations.
Frankly, after reviewing the guide, I have to agree with Larry Magid, co-director of Connectsafely (and CBS News technology reporter) who says “these recommendations are just as useful for adults.”
The guide is available today in English, but will be translated and distributed internationally. Anne and Larry have requested that I raise any interest in translating this guide into other languages to their attention. Given the global reach of Facebook, I have no doubt there will be high interest.
I spoke on a panel this past Saturday with Larry at the Computer-Using Educators Fall conference in northern California. The annual conference is designed for teachers and school administrators to stay up-to-date on technology in schools. Looking into the faces of these teachers reminded me that there is still so much work still to do to raise awareness about online safety. While some of us may think maintaining online privacy is a no-brainer, it is important to remember that there are still hundreds of thousands of parents, teachers, and kids who still need to know and/or be reminded of the basics. A Parents’ Guide to Facebook as well as many other resources from Trend Micro’s Internet Safety for Kids, Internet Safety Guide Library, Connectsafely, and our other partners are great resources for parents and teachers who are concerned, engaged, and ready to make the Internet a safer place for kids.