In response to recent criticism, Facebook has added new privacy settings and made them easier to access. The new settings give users more security options for who can view content that’s on their profile. In a nutshell, the new privacy settings address tagging, blocking events, blocking apps, and setting visibility restrictions to the public and friends.
The most obvious change is the new Privacy Shortcuts tab in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
Clicking on this tab brings up the Privacy Shortcuts bar, which allows you to jump right into the most popular privacy settings menus without having to navigate through the entire list of settings. This new approach simplifies the process and makes safeguarding your account much easier.
Unfortunately, the new shortcut feature doesn’t give you access to all the privacy settings, so you’ll still have to click the gear tab in the upper right-hand corner of the page and select Privacy Settings.
Under the Privacy tab, you can limit who sees your future posts, limit access to past posts, edit who can access your timeline when searching for you, and most importantly, you can set up your timeline so that it doesn’t appear in search engine queries. That way if someone Googles your name, your Facebook profile won’t appear in the search results.
You can learn more about social media background checks and how they can affect you and/or your child in the future, here.
Timeline and Tagging
Under the Timeline and Tagging tab, you are given options to restrict who posts on your timeline, restrict who sees posts on your timeline, and settings for managing tags. My recommendation is that you only allow friends to post and see posts on your timeline as sometimes we tend to post personal things about ourselves that we might not want the general public to know. I also highly recommend that you set it so that you’re able to review tags that other people put on your posts.
The Blocking tab is the final featured of Facebook’s privacy settings, and it allows you to block users, apps, app invites and event invites. The nice thing about this is you can cut down on the amount of spam in your notifications feed while not having to be forced to remove the chronic inviter from your friends list. You can also place friends on the restricted list, which keeps them from seeing the posts you mark as “friends only”.
In addition to these new safety settings, Facebook has also put together a page called FamilySafetyCenter. This page offers a ton of information about the tools and resources that parents can use to protect their older teens on Facebook. I definitely recommend taking a look at the page because a lot of the information can be applied to sites other than Facebook and can help you start a conversation about privacy with your children.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: Facebook was created for adults. The content, culture and people that make up Facebook highlight this fact. You can see a glimpse of this reality right here. That’s why, when it comes to your younger teens and children, I always recommend that you introduce them to social networking in a healthy, positive way. Yoursphere.com is a great online destination to do that in. Our core focus as a company is not only on the privacy and safety of our members, but also on providing today’s children with a positive online environment where they can connect with other children who have similar interests, learn how to be digitally responsible, (minus the adult content and often very coarse culture that surrounds them on Facebook) and most importantly, have fun!