EdNews Parent expert Mike Harris responds:
Q. My 16-year-old daughter has more than 600 friends on Facebook and she’s got zillions of photos of herself – some quite revealing. I’m not even sure she knows the people she is friending. I just read an article about a Facebook stalker. How can I make sure my daughter understands the risks on FB and chooses friends wisely?
A. My number one rule for teenagers is you don’t communicate with someone online if you do not know that person in person. You should know every person or “friend” on your social networking site personally. If you do not know them in person, then you could be talking to a stalker, sex offender, or, as most teens call them, a “creeper”.
Pictures are personal information! Pictures you post or send to people you do not personally know can be dangerous. Pictures of yourself are what identify you. More importantly, those pictures can help a person with bad intentions find you. Images posted online should never be revealing or sexual.
Here are some simple rules to go by:
- Set your account settings to private.
- Do not accept friends unless you know that person IN PERSON.
- Limit your pictures online. Once your picture is sent or posted online it is in cyberspace FOREVER.
About our First Person series:
First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.