Facebook now has more than 700 million users worldwide, which represents 10% of the population. It offers its members the possibility to create a profile, post pictures and details of their lives and “connect” with other members, their “friends”, and share information.
Facebook is particularly popular among young people who, unfortunately, are not always aware of the possible risks involved in its use. However, it is possible to reduce these risks by configuring one’s account appropriately and by also adopting safe behaviours.

In order to help your children optimize the protection of their identity on Facebook, review the following security guidelines with them:

Tell your child to choose an appropriate email address and password.
It is preferable to use an email address exclusive to Facebook, as well as a password that is easy for the user to remember, but difficult for others to guess.

Make sure that he controls his “friends” list.
Tell your child to pay attention to his list of friends and question whether all of these people are “Facebook friends” or true friends. Your child should be aware that everything he posts on Facebook is accessible to his friends (and also to his friends’ friends).

Remind him to choose with care the information that he publishes as well as the photos that he posts.
Your child does not need to fill in all the optional fields when he completes his profile. He needs to remember that as soon as information or a photo is posted, he no longer has control of the subject. Teach your child to ask himself the following questions: Do I really want to make this information public, regardless of the consequences? Will this photo harm my reputation or that of another person? Does this photo display information that I do not want released? Keep in mind that more and more employers now use Facebook in order to obtain information about potential job candidates: one should always be vigilant.

Tell him to be cautious when installing applications.
Facebook offers its members thousands of applications (games, weather, translation, sports results, etc). Certain applications are conceived by external suppliers and could contain risks: access to personal data, infiltration by malicious software (malware), etc. Consequently, tell your children to be wary of applications from external sources that they do not trust.

Teach him how to manage the parameters of his account.
The “Parameters” menu allows users to manage information and must be completed with care. To access this menu, your child has to slide the cursor over “Account” and click on “Account settings”. He must keep in mind that he can make important modifications: name, email address, password, subscribe or unsubscribe to a network, notification parameters, access via smartphone, language, payment of purchases made through Facebook.

What is a Facebook network?
It is a virtual community bringing together a certain number of members that have a common point of interest. For example, the “Montreal, Qc” network is comprised of members living in Montreal or those who have an interest in Montreal. Tell your child to be careful when subscribing to a network.

For more information regarding the Missing Children’s Network personal safety workshops, offered year-round, please contact our offices at 514 843-4333 or visit our website at www.missingchildrensnetwork.ngo

In order to ensure your child’s safety, as well as his privacy on Facebook, it is essential that he learns how to properly configure the “Privacy Settings” of his account.

To access these settings, he should click on the down arrow on the top right corner of the screen, and then select “Settings“, this allows him to manage the privacy of his profile, posts, public search and much more.

Controlling the privacy of his postings:
Your child can manage the privacy of his status updates, photos and information by using the inline audience selector. He can choose to share his posts with everyone (Public), his friends only (Friends) or with a limited number of people (Custom). However, he should keep in mind that the people with whom he shares information, can in turn, share it with others.

Connecting with people: At this stage, it is time to control how Facebook users can connect with him. For example, who can find his profile, send him invitations or Facebook messages, as well as who can publish on his wall and see publications from others.

Tagging: With Facebook, it is possible for a user to tag a friend or his content. In order to avoid unpleasant surprises, make sure your child activates the Profile Review in order to manually approve any posts before they appear on his profile.
Your child should also activate Tag Review which allows him to review and approve any content, including photos before they are published on Facebook.

Apps and Websites: On Facebook, your name, profile picture, gender, networks and username are always public information.
However, it is essential that your child carefully configure the “Public search” section in order to ensure the confidentiality
of his profile from various search engines. For example, if he chooses to create a public profile, everyone who enters his first
and last names into a search engine, such as Google, can access certain information from his Facebook profile, including
his picture. Suggest to your child that he deactivate this option so that his profile is not accessible outside of Facebook.

Limiting the audience for past posts. Your child may limit past posts visibility. If he uses this tool, content on his timeline he
has shared with “Public” will change to “Friends”. He also has the option to individually change the audience of his posts.

Blocking people and Apps: It is possible for your child to add friends to his Restricted list so they can only see the information
and posts that he makes public. Facebook does not notify users when their name is added onto a restricted list. Your child
can also block users. Once he blocks someone, this person can no longer be his Facebook friend or interact with him (except
within Apps and games they both use or groups that they belong to).

In conclusion, if you as a parent have a Facebook profile, we strongly recommend that you add your child on your Facebook
friends list. This enables you to have a better control over his activities and be able to rapidly intervene if necessary.
We also invite you to frequently remind your child that the Internet is public and they should exercise caution every time
they post information or send messages.