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DAYTON -- New changes for Facebook that could make your child more vulnerable to online bullies and even predators.
Facebook has relaxed the privacy settings for teen users. Until now, teens could only share posts with friends and family members. But for the first time ever Wednesday, their posts are now allowed to be public for anyone to view.
In an effort to compete with other social media outlets like Twitter and Instagram, and attract more advertisers, Facebook is changing the rules regarding privacy. Users under 18 can now share comments, pictures and status updates with the general public.
"That's not very good. I don't think they should be allowed to do that," said Carl Francis of Dayton.
Until now, Facebook didn't let teens make their privacy settings public, a precautionary measure that Facebook decided to get rid of. Now teens can change their settings to public allowing anyone to see everything they do on Facebook without even being their friend.
"It's very concerning. I want her safe when she's on the computer," said Kathy Fiske, a mother from Dayton.
Having public data on teens will make Facebook more appealing to advertisers. But it'll also make it easier for sexual predators and bullies to target teens.
"Seventy percent of teenagers will be bullied online to some degree," said University of Dayton Social Media Expert Art Jipson.
A public profile also means teens can get messages and friend requests from complete strangers. To make sure your child's page stays private go to privacy settings and click on Friends Only. Also be careful with status updates. That's a separate opportunity to make a post public. More sure the little drop down box says friends.
"The real lesson here is to think before you post and go in a check your settings," Jipson said.
About 94 percent of teen social media users have a Facebook page. Even after you make sure your teen's page is private, experts say it's still important to talk to them about what is appropriate to post online.
MENLO PARK, Calif. -- Social networking giant Facebook says it will now allow teens 13-17 share posts with everyone on the Internet.
Fox News is reporting that the new policy will give teens the choice of switching their settings so their posts can be accessible to the public. That option already has been available to adults, including users who are 18 or 19. But it means teenagers may be potentially more exposed to online abuse.
"The default [for teenagers] is not public, and when a teenager changes it, there's what I call a 'teachable moment'," said Hemu Nigam, the former chief security officer for MySpace.com. "The company reminds you that you are about to go public and it is at this point where Facebook can take an opportunity to remind a teenager to think twice before posting."
In a blog post, Fox is reporting, Facebook said it decided to revise its privacy rules to make its service more enjoyable for teens and to provide them with a more powerful megaphone when they believe they have an important point to make or a cause to support.
"Teens are among the savviest people using social media, and whether it comes to civic engagement, activism, or their thoughts on a new movie, they want to be heard," Facebook wrote.
The change is likely to open up a new source of revenues for advertisers, Nigam said.
Fox News says Facebook doesn't allow children under 13 to set up accounts on its service, although Facebook cannot easily verify users' ages and many children have circumvented that policy by claiming to be older.
Source: Fox News
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