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Facebook Ups Teen Risk, Opens Teen Sharing to All
Facebook Ups Teen Risk, Opens Teen Sharing to All

By Seth Fitzgerald
October 19, 2013 11:18AM

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For parents, Facebook's new privacy policy could raise serious safety concerns. Pew Internet Research says 91 percent of teen Facebook users post pictures of themselves. Although most teen Facebook users report high confidence in being able to manage privacy settings, it can still be risky business, as Facebook keeps changing the rules.
 



In the early days of Facebook, the social network did not even allow younger teenagers to join the site. Although that quickly changed and Facebook officially allows 13-year-old to join, its privacy policy has been strict regarding young teenagers, especially when it comes to sharing content.

Underage users will now be able to share their content publicly due to coming Facebook privacy policy changes which will remove some restrictions from one of its largest age groups. Analysts already suspect that the change is due to Facebook's desire to control the teen market, instead of allowing it to flock toward other social networks.

No More 'Friends of Friends' Restriction

Out of all the changes being made to Facebook's privacy policy, perhaps the most important is the removal of the "friends of friends" restriction on 13- to 17-year-olds. Prior to the update, young teens could share content to friends of friends, but not the general public.

"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 said on its site. "While only a small fraction of teens using Facebook might choose to post publicly, this update now gives them the choice to share more broadly, just like on other social-media services."

It is true that most Facebook users do not chose to share their content publicly, but just as a 30-year-old may have something useful to share with a wider audience, so may a 16-year-old. While there are definitely valid privacy concerns regarding young teenagers sharing content to a large audience, social networks such as Twitter already allow for it.

Key Market

Various studies from Pew Internet Research and others have repeatedly shown that the 13-17 age group is one of the most important for social networks. While the adoption rates for Twitter and Facebook have been high for both adults and young teens, people in the youngest age groups tend to be on both social networks more frequently.

Although some teens may choose to utilize the more open option now being offered by Facebook, the majority are expected to continue opting for the more private setting.

According to Pew's 2013 Teen Social Media study, "60% of teen Facebook users set their Facebook profiles to private (friends only), and most report high levels of confidence in their ability to manage their settings."

Cyber Safety Alert

As we see from Pew's statistics, a minority of teens are currently like to share their information and personal Facebook posts with the rest of the world. However, those that opt to share pictures and posts with the general public could be putting themselves at risk.

For parents, the new privacy policy should raise serious safety concerns for their teens who like to post personal pictures and other details. In fact, Pew says, 91 percent of teens surveyed post pictures of themselves while on Facebook.

Although most teen Facebook users report high confidence in being able to manage their settings, it can still be risky business, as Facebook keeps changing the rules and settings.

At the very least, parents should discuss the risks and new rules with their children to ensure they understand the possible implications of posting personal photos and other content to the general public. Once pictures and private details are shared online, they're out there for the world to see. Unfortunately a non-private choice of posting to "everyone" includes pedophiles and plenty of others with bad intent.
 

Tell Us What You Think
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AndersM:

Posted: 2013-10-20 @ 11:13am PT
Teens don't really use facebook. Facebook is now for old people and businesses. Teens are now using SnapChat, Instagram, Ravetree, etc.



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