Does New Facebook Policy Put Teens at Risk Online?
Users ages 13-17 can now share public posts that are viewable by anyone who searches within Facebook.
If you thought Facebook wanted kids to share everything before, the number one social network now entices teens to share even more (almost certainly embarrassing and possibly damaging) content by letting them share public posts viewable by everyone.
There is no doubt that Facebook makes it super easy to share just about anything about your life at a moment's notice. As a result, most people do, especially young adults. For the most part, Facebook has tried to enact certain restrictions so that teens wouldn't be completely exposed.
Case in point, Facebook users between the ages of 13-17 could only set posts so that "Friends of Friends" could see them. Of age users, could allow anyone to see their posts by setting them to "public," similar to how other social networks like Twitter are set to by default. According to a post in the Facebook Newsroom, 13-17 year olds will now have the same public posting capabilities as older users.
What this means is now random Facebook users who may be searching for a certain keyword or topic within Facebook can find any posts made by teens that were set to "public." Now I will give Facebook just a little credit. Unlike Twitter, where all posts are set to public by default (some slow-thinking but quick-typing Twitter celebs would argue this is a bad thing), Facebook will have its default set to "Friends" with the option to set posts to "Public."
But that's where my credit to Facebook stops, as teens, whose social media foresight is very short, run the risk of posting updates that will not only will follow them forever, but can now also be viewed by anybody. Sure, parents should teach their teenagers some restraint, respect, and responsibility when it comes to social media, and not leave it up to Internet companies - whose sole revenue stream is selling information - to do what's best for our kids.
…But we're talking about teenagers who are itching to chronicle their every thought and action to a broad-as-possible audience. So parents need all the help they can get.