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 www.facebook.com/help  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.

A Little More Privacy – Take Control of Facebook Tagging

We seem to enjoy posting pictures and videos on Facebook and then tagging them with the names of one or more of our Facebook friends.    Once you are tagged in a Facebook video or photo, that video or photo will be displayed on your Timeline (Profile) and end up in a Photos and Videos of You section in your Photos folder.

Perhaps you went to a party Saturday night, and you wake up Sunday morning to find there are pictures of you already posted on your Timeline.   Perhaps these pictures show you really enjoying this party, and you’d really rather these photos remain private.   Additionally, in an effort to bring your attention to a photo or video, you may even be tagged in a photo or video in which you are not even present!

An easy solution to avoid these situations is to enable Timeline Review in your Profile Settings.  Click on Privacy Settings, then Edit Settings on How Tags Work.  You want to enable Timeline Review.  Once you do the setting will indicate On.  If the setting indicates Off, click on it and then click on Enable.

Now that you’ve enabled Timeline Review, you’ll receive a Facebook notification when you’ve been tagged in a photo or video, as you did before, however the photo will not be posted to your Timeline or your Photos folder.  You can now click on your Activity Log (new Facebook Timeline feature) to review the items in which you are tagged.  Posts and Info to Review will be at the top of the Log.  In the right column there is a check mark to approve or an X to ignore the item.  If you approve the item it will be displayed on your Timeline.  If you ignore the item it will remain in your Activity Log, but will be hidden from your Timeline.

If you are not on Timeline yet,  there will be a Needs Review folder in the left column on your Wall.  Once you click on that folder  the items for review work the same as described above.

How can you remove the tag altogether?  To remove your name from a photo in which you are tagged, you must click on the arrow next to the round tool gear at the top right corner of the photo.  There will be a choice to Remove/Report the tag, which will then give you additional choices to remove the tag.

Hope this helps you feel a bit more in control of your face on Facebook!

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