By Scott Tibbs, October 25, 2013
A headline in The Register sounds the alarm: "TEENS in TROUBLE as Facebook EXPOSES them to the entire WORLD." The warning in the Christian Science Monitor is a little more subdued, warning that "Facebook pulls back privacy curtain on teen posts." Parents should be very worried about their teens, right?
All Facebook has done is allow teenagers to share their status updates and so forth as "public," something they can do (and many actually do) by simply lying about their age in the sign-up process. It is not unusual for pre-teens to have Facebook accounts (with the support of their parents) by claiming to be at least 13. In other words, posts are no more public than they were before, and people can lock down their privacy settings to limit the audience of their posts. They can even (gasp!) close their Facebook accounts.
Teen activity on the Internet should be monitored by their parents. They should watch what their teens are posting. It does not hurt to be your teen's "friend" and having access to their account is not unreasonable. With proper parental monitoring, there is no need to worry about this new setting. As always, parents should teach their teenage sons and daughters this lesson: Never post anything on Facebook you would be horrified to see on the front page of the newspaper or as the lead story on the nightly news.
If they are not behaving properly, limit access to the computer or take away the smartphone. Be a parent.