On Your Side

Darkside of Facebook 5/16/11

Reported by Martha Koloski | bio | email | blog

Sixteen-year-old Amy Stiefel says she felt terrible after receiving mean posts on her Facebook page. Amy Stiefel, "I just felt attacked by basically just a whole bunch of people for everyone to see." Devastated by the cyberbullying, Amy joined Love Our Children USA, a group that promotes Internet safety. Many kids are at risk online, according to a survey by Consumer Reports National Research Center of more than two thousand online households. "We project that more than five million kids age 10 and under had Facebook accounts last year, even though 13 is the minimum age that Facebook allows. And we found most of their parents did nothing to monitor their Facebook activities." If you have a preteen using Facebook, be aware parents can delete the account by going to Facebook's "privacy policy" page and clicking on a link to fill out the "report an underage child" form. Rosalind Tordesillas, "In order to protect your child - whatever their age - it's important to supervise their Facebook use. Become their friend and check their profiles regularly. You can also connect their Facebook account to your e-mail so you see incoming messages." Facebook users of all ages should use privacy settings. But one in five active members had not used these settings, according to Consumer Reports' survey. To set them, go into your account's "privacy settings" and indicate "Friends Only." It's also important to use the privacy settings on the Apps and Websites linked to your account. Rosalind Tordesillas, "If you connect your Facebook account to another site, you're allowing that site to collect a lot of your personal information unless you block its access."

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