Will teens have the patience or interest to keep their personal information safe while online?
A Complaint filed with the FTC Managing a Facebook account has become even more complicated.
The new Facebook privacy settings which went into effect on Wednesday, December 9 were pitched as a way for members to have more control over their settings and who could access what information.
Now weeks later, the reviews are not positive and founder Jeff Zuckerman has been zapped by his own "privacy" settings. Also, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), plus 10 more organizations, including the American Library Association, has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charging that Facebook's recent privacy changes violate the federal consumer protection law.
For teens and preteens, it might as well be business as usual, but under the friends, the comments, photos, videos and fan groups, their privacy and their future could be at stake.
For our children who are most vulnerable, but believe they are invulnerable, anything they post in their digital world will have a footprint somewhere on the Internet forever.
As with all social networking communities, the potential for abuse, cyberbullying and cyberharassment exist. Children do not understand how the anonymity of the computer screen can open their world to millions of people who might not have good intentions in mind.
The new security settings, done correctly, can increase personal security in some respects, but getting there is extremely complicated. Your teens should beware of the default setting, "Everyone." Unless this is changed your kid's information is readily available to everyone for any reason. Even setting security blocks at every level, which is a very tedious process, a Facebook presence is still for sale. Your name, profile pictures, friends list, fan pages, gender, geographic region and networks are still out there.
Some changes have been made to tighten security, especially after Zuckerman found that some of his personal pictures and information were made public. Some users reported while paying particular attention to the security choices, the settings reverted to "Everyone," requiring more time to reconfigure.
Facebook admits that user information is available to third party applications, search engines, Internet users and others, without the user's knowledge or consent, even if the user has not connected with any of the sites. In this respect, personal safety can be at risk. The EPIC complaint relates harassment incidents concerning Facebook users who had posted opinions critical of the Iranian government. A user said that security agents in Tehran arrested his father because of the Facebook postings, and others received threatening emails claiming knowledge of the poster's home address.
Facebook has been accused of abusing their users' privacy in the past and the user's privacy issues will always be a concern. It is time to discuss what's on your child's (13 years of age or older) Facebook profile and urge caution while interacting, posting, uploading or clicking on the Internet.