Back to School with Facebook?

We use the Internet daily for information about anything and everything.  Today parents of school age children are fortunate as school districts have websites  containing a wealth of information including school calendars, homework assignments, teacher’s email addresses, as well as links to textbooks and outside resources, all of which is really good stuff.

Chances are your teen is using Facebook, and like it or not, Facebook is another online resource that is  becoming increasingly more important for students.  Group pages abound as a primary form of communication for sports teams, clubs, and study groups.   Facebook is now so mainstream that it can be a social handicap if a student is not on Facebook.   My daughter gets her scheduling changes, reminders, and information she needs to know about her school team’s activities via the team’s group page on Facebook – without it we’d be lost.   Just the other day she was offered to join a club via a group page invite.

Facebook is being used experimentally in the classroom in Amsterdam, as Timeline is a great tool for organizing history complete with images, audio, and video.  Check out the history of Magellan’s voyage   or  20th century inventions.  Although not in English you can get the idea.   It’s a great way to learn history.

For older students, needing to use Facebook may not be an issue as hopefully they’ve learned the Facebook dos and don’ts.  Parents still need to make sure their young teens and older students practice “safe Facebooking” and know how to handle their Facebook data.

Here is a good example.  My computer savvy high school sophomore was recently tagged in a photo on Facebook.  The only problem was this picture was not my daughter nor was it an appropriate photo for her Timeline.   In another instance, she was tagged in an unflattering photo which also automatically posted to her Timeline.  These situations are easily to avoid – just make sure the automatic Timeline posting setting  is off, meaning you have to approve any posts or photos before they appear on your Timeline.    Navigate to Privacy Settings, and edit your settings for Timeline and Tagging.  “Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your Timeline” should be on.  This way if you are tagged, the post or photo will not appear on your Timeline, it will land in your Activity Log.

Your Timeline Activity Log will let you approve an item which will cause it to post on your Timeline, or you can dismiss the item, but it won’t remove the tag.  Your name is still associated with the item.   To remove a photo tag,  you need to click on the photo, then click on Options below the photo.  You can then remove the tag, and also request that the photo be removed from Facebook.  You can also compose a personal message that will be sent to the poster asking for removal.

Facebook does offer some safeguards for users under 18.  Their Timelines and posts do not appear in public searches.  Also only their friends, friends of friends, and networks they may belong to can view their posts.   Facebook does offer its own resources at  where you can find links to its Safety Center and also a link to report abuse of the service.  Note that you can view this help feature even without a Facebook account.

My suggestion for parents of teens on Facebook is to learn as much as you can about Facebook, review your child’s Account and Privacy settings with them, and be their friend on Facebook so you can watch out for inappropriate posts.  My daughter may not be too happy that I know so much about Facebook, but we both know she is a bit safer because of it.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Matt McDonald
    Sep 25, 2012 @ 18:19:21

    I didn’t realize I can do so much on Facebook. I wonder if one day Facebook will become people’s homepage.


    • Jeri Usbay
      Sep 25, 2012 @ 18:46:23

      Yes, Matt it would not surprise me if there is already a segment of the Facebook population that already has Facebook as their homepage. Afterall, what do you check first thing in the morning? If people answer this question honestly it will most likely be email and Facebook, not necessarily in that order!


  2. Jenny
    Sep 25, 2012 @ 19:35:19

    I can relate to your daughter’s feeling of dismay at seeing her photo. I saw a photo of myself on the internet which was very unflattering and I couldn’t imagine the motive of the person who put it there. I do feel it’s presumptuous for people to take photos of others without asking permission. There’s more here than meets the eye (excuse the pun). I heard of a man who was in physical therapy for an injured arm and the insurance company saw him on FB holding up a glass. They then denied him the physical therapy he needed saying that his arm must be OK if he could lift it. It’s not only friends looking at your FB photos. It’s very important to be familiar with the above tips. Photos are fun but taken out of their context they can often be misconstrued. In the meantime, was it the British author George Bernard Shaw who said that Americans have no sense of privacy?


    • Jeri Usbay
      Sep 26, 2012 @ 19:11:32

      Thanks for your thoughts, Jenny. Yes it is a bit unnerving that at any time or place a picture or video of you can be taken and posted on the Internet. We have become “big brother” watching ourselves!


  3. Jenny
    Sep 26, 2012 @ 21:20:34

    Speaking of photos I have a question. A friend of mine posted a fundraising event and I noticed the “share” button on the bottom of the photo so I decided to click on it to put it on my Timeline. No sign came up saying it was posted so I clicked again. Well, now the same photo is there on my Timeline in 2 places!! Oh boy, this looks really dumb. I have tried to navigate all over Facebook to delete one of the photos and I simply can’t do it. Any tips would be much appreciated!


    • Jeri Usbay
      Sep 26, 2012 @ 21:49:32

      You should be able to delete a post that is on your Timeline by clicking an option in the top right corner of the post. The option will appear once you move the cursor to the post. You should see a star and a pencil icon. If you hover over the pencil you should see Edit or Remove pop up, just click on the pencil, and then the Delete option. Hope this helps!


  4. Jenny
    Sep 27, 2012 @ 12:55:06

    Thank you very much because I spent the better part of an hour trying to fix this. I did let the cursor hover over the pencil and the star and waited but neither the “Edit” nor “Remove” popped up. I want to share this fundraiser in particular because it’s for leukemia lymphoma, a disease my dog died of 2 years ago. I went into the FB Help section and tried phrasing my question in different ways and then following the instructions but nothing worked. I feel that Timeline is very difficult, the older version was more user friendly. Am I the only person who feels this way?? I had a country western band ask me to administer their FB page and I thought, my God, I can’t even do my own, how could I do yours?! Thanks again!


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