In the past, Facebook hasn’t used the names, images or content of underage users in advertising – a comforting thought for parents.
But that’s all about to change.
In a proposed revision to its policy set to roll out later this month, your children’s names and images could be used to advertise products and services to their peers – essentially turning teenagers into unpaid digital spokespeople based on their ‘likes’, interests and content.
If the policy change is made, Facebook could assume that those under eighteen will have joined with a parent or legal guardian’s consent – which includes opting-in by default to this advertisement.
Just what could Facebook use?
- Your child’s full name
- Your child’s profile picture (public by default)
- Your child’s content (what they share, ‘Like,’ etc.)
- Your child’s information (demographic, contact and ‘About Me’ information are included)
Not using Facebook may not be a social reality for your children – but protecting them is your reality as a parent. Here’s what you can do:
- Make sure you know their password and friend them to monitor what they’re sharing. Remember that kids often have more than one social media profile – the “parent-friendly” one and the one they actually use.
- Put computers in shared spaces in your home and hold on to Internet-enabled cell phones at night, returning them in the morning.
- Educate your child on what’s okay and not okay to share publicly. Even innocuous statements sometimes reveal more about your family than you might want to share.
- Teach your child to use of the ‘Public,’ ‘Friends’ and ‘Custom’ filters when making status updates.
- Always emphasize to think, think, think before they post. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. It can be so easy to make a mean comment or post a revealing picture – but it’s not easy to unring that bell.
- Advise them not to like bands, restaurants, movies or other items that may be specially targeted for younger audiences for data mining.
If Facebook makes this policy change, will that impact how your family uses Facebook? Discuss in the comments below.
To see if your child’s information is already exposed elsewhere online, sign up for a free scan from ReputationDefender