There is no denying that Facebook is an important tool in our personal and professional lives. Facebook helps keep our friends close and our families closer and an estimated 75 per cent of parents have an active Facebook account.
Liking posts, sharing stories and commenting on statuses are some of the ways many parents engage on Facebook but most mums admit that uploading photos is one of the best ways to make use of Facebook. According to a recent study conducted by The Parent Zone in the UK, the average number of kiddie photos parents are posting online before their little ones turn five years old is 973. And, while experts do not advise against posting photos or engaging via social media entirely, they do suggest that all Facebook users need to be well aware of just what they are sharing (and with whom).
There are countless news stories circulating about the dangers of Facebook in regards to identity theft and often the issue comes down to your privacy settings. The Parent Zone reveals that “17 per cent of parents have never checked their Facebook privacy settings and almost half (46 per cent) have only checked once or twice, despite the social network being the most common platform for photo sharing”.
If your information, including photos of your children, get into the hands of the wrong people, the consequences can be shocking. So how can you ensure that you have full control of your Facebook? Our PakMag social media team share their tips:
1. GENERAL SAFETY SETTINGS
Head to “Settings” and the “Privacy” tab. See what your settings are and edit accordingly.
Go to “Timeline and Tagging”. Enable “Review Posts” and the “Review Tags” so that people can’t post on your timeline without your approval of each post.
2. CATEGORISING YOUR FRIENDS (BEST DONE ON A PC)
To categorise your Facebook friends go to the “Friends” tab on your “Home” page. Click on the dropdown box per friend and categorise them as a “Close Friend”, “Acquaintance” or “Add to another List” that you create.
You can create lists based on people you work with, people in your alumni, people in your mother’s group and much more.
You can also “Restrict” the person so they are your friend on Facebook but they can’t see your photos or posts.
Another option is to “unfollow” certain friends and pages. That way you still remain friends but you are not bombarded with their status updates and posts.
3. SECURING YOUR PHOTOS
Like categorising your friends, you can categorise your photos which is highly recommended for the safety of your family.
Most albums can be customised for viewing in similar categories that you have set up like your friends. (Ie: “Public” can view your photos, Friends, Acquaintances or Family).
We suggest no images of children in your profile and cover pictures. The Profiles Pictures Album has to be a “Public” folder so change or remove photos from this folder if you wish, then change the settings of each album or photo accordingly.
4. VIEWING YOUR ACCOUNT AS A CERTAIN PERSON
Sometimes we don’t want certain people to see things on our timeline.
You can check to see how they see your timeline and photo albums by using the “View As” feature to see what your timeline looks like to the “Public” or as we like to say – the biggest country on Earth – Facebook. If the security is not tight enough – fix it and view again.
THINGS TO AVOID SHARING ON FACEBOOK:
YOUR PHONE NUMBER
If you want to include your phone number, make sure you hide it from your profile so only select people can see it.
• Go to Facebook and click on your name at the top of the page. When your profile page loads, click the “Update Info” button in the lower-right corner of your cover image.
• Click on “Contact and Basic Info” in the left column and next to your phone number click the “Edit” link.
• Click the “audience selector” icon and change it to “Only me.”
YOUR HOME ADDRESS
It’s best to avoid showcasing your home address. Remove it from your profile as well as any events that you have hosted at your house in the past.
• Follow the directions above to get into the “Contact and Basic Info” section of your profile information.
• Look for “Neighbourhood,” and if there’s an address there, click the “Edit” link next to it and wipe out the information.
• Then click “Save Changes.”
YOUR PAYMENT INFORMATION
Facebook is free, but it still wants your credit card number. Adding your financial information lets you buy gift cards and other products straight through the website but this could be disastrous in the wrong hands.
• Open your Facebook, click the upside-down triangle in the top right corner and choose “Settings.”
• In the left column select “Payments,” and then on the right go the “Account Settings” tab.
• You can see if you have any saved payment information and remove it.
YOUR HOLIDAY PLANS
Going away for the month? Don’t share this on Facebook until you have returned. This simply announces to your friends (and possibly others if you share publicly), that your house is empty.
Also, avoid status updates claiming “All alone tonight”or “Partner is away for the weekend” as you never know who could get this information.
• Facebook is a great place to store family photos and albums from holidays but make sure you have the right settings on the album. “Only Me” or “Family” may better than “Public”.
KIDS IN THE BATH, ON THE POTTY OR NAKED
What you may think is a sweet moment in the bath could end up on a child pornography site. It’s not a nice thing to think about, but it does happen.
• If you are going to share these photos, make sure you select the appropriate audience.
According to The Parent Zone, “25 per cent of parents confess to never asking the permission of the people in photos before posting them and over half (53 per cent) have uploaded a photo of a child that wasn’t their own.”
• When uploading photos of other children, make sure you have permission from the parents first. Many parents are not comfortable having their children’s faces on social media.