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Facebook recently decided to allow teens to share posts publicly and allow following. If you have teenage kids, or you are a teenage kid, you might be wondering what the implications of this are. Here’s what you need to know.

In effect, the new Facebook teenager accounts are just like regular accounts, but with a few safety features built in. This is good in a way, as it means teens will learn how to moderate their own privacy before they are suddenly thrust into the spotlight.

What’s Still Protected?

Minors still benefit from certain protection, such as reminders when they post publicly. Their contact details, birthday and school details are also hidden from public view. Minors must review tags by default and location details are turned off by default.

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This means that teens are actually used to taking some responsibility for their own privacy. Allowing public posts and follows is the next step.

Public Posts & Commenting

Until now, a minor on Facebook was limited to an audience of “Friends of Friends”, so the jump to public is quite a large one. When you make a public post, that post can be seen by anyone you are friends with, anyone following you, anyone who searches using Facebook Search Graph and anyone who is friends with someone commenting on your post. Conversely, when you comment on a public post, your comment can be seen by all these people too. And those people can follow the link back to your timeline.

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I think this is the most important thing to note. A savvy teenager may choose to post publicly and allow followers, yet a less-savvy teenager may post comments on those public comments, not realising how public those comments, and their own profile, have now become.

The Graph Search aspect is also a big one. These public posts could appear in all sorts of unexpected searches, even years from now. You never really know who will find your post or what they were searching for, and that’s a little creepy.

It’s also really important to consider the implications of public posts in terms of location and tagging. For instance, if you and your friends are all out watching a movie, you might want to tag everyone and give a location. Even amongst friends this has its potential safety issues, but when the audience is public and any of the tagged users have followers, then you start to see major security and safety problems. What if one of the followers is a stalker, and decides to show up at the cinema and try to find you in person? Or what if you’ve previously shared enough information to give away the location of your house? Someone might break in, knowing you’re out for a few hours.

In short, unless you are doing something that specifically requires a public post, like raising money for a charity, friends of friends is probably public enough for most people, adults included. Don’t forget that by locking down your own posts you are also protecting your friends from making accidental public comments.

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Followers

Followers on Facebook are a lot like followers on Twitter. They find you however which way and then they can see your public posts in their own news feed alongside their regular friends, if they have any. You have to manually allow following before someone can start following you. The question is really, do you want followers The Ins And Outs Of Followers & Following [Weekly Facebook Tips] The Ins And Outs Of Followers & Following [Weekly Facebook Tips] If you're not Facebook friends with a person, how can they see your updates on their home page? If someone is following you, how can you stop them? What is this following thing anyway? Facebook... Read More ? And why?

Think on this: Who would follow a teenage girl on Facebook? Well, teenagers you don’t know and who want to know you. Teenagers you don’t like, but who want you to like them. Teenagers you don’t like who don’t like you either, but want to know the second you do something dumb. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings & cousins. Not just your own, but of your friends’. Teachers. Creepy old men who think the photo is hot. Fake accounts by any of the previously mentioned people.

Basically, it’s a list of people who you really don’t want to see your posts. Teachers? Your friend’s dad? The creepy 25 year old guy who likes to go to parties with teenagers? Your stalker? Your principal?

None of this is good. Don’t let people follow you unless you’ve got a very good reason. And even if you do, keep these follower types in mind.

Job Hunting

Yes, one day, all teenagers will want to look for a job. You can use Facebook to help you look for a job This Is How You Use Facebook To Find A Job This Is How You Use Facebook To Find A Job Welcome to the modern age of career networking! It’s a wonderful world where you can find a white collar job in the same place you’ll find Grumpy Cat – that is, the Internet. In fact,... Read More , but regardless of what method you use, your Facebook profile had better look squeaky clean. Remember, it’s not just your drunken photos that lose you job opportunities. It’s also your immature comments, poor judgement and terrible spelling. Hide it all!

Teens, you know how you feel when you read stuff you wrote a year ago? Well, adults feel that way about just about everything you write. Hide all but the very best of your writing if you want to appear job-ready.

Teach Your Kids Responsible Facebook Usage

As a parent, you need to know how to teach your kids responsible Facebook usage. And to do that, you need to understand it well yourself. Facebook has tried to help, with a dedicated safety section, and sub-section for both parents and teenagers. At MakeUseOf, we’ve written dozens of articles about how to stay safe using Facebook, how to get your kids to use Facebook responsibly How To Get Kids To Use Facebook Responsibly How To Get Kids To Use Facebook Responsibly Over the last few weeks, news hit the Internet that Facebook is looking at ways to allow kids under 13 to use Facebook under parental supervision. For quite some time now, Facebook has required all... Read More and how to monitor your teens Monitor Teenage Computer Use & Detect Inappropriate Content With Care4Teen [Windows] Monitor Teenage Computer Use & Detect Inappropriate Content With Care4Teen [Windows] As my girls grow into young teens, as a father I do tend to worry quite a bit. I worry about them when they go out to a friend's house, I worry about them when... Read More .

Specifically, parents should read up on the following things: privacy and Facebook Graph search Prepare Your Account Privacy For Facebook Graph Search [Weekly Facebook Tips] Prepare Your Account Privacy For Facebook Graph Search [Weekly Facebook Tips] Every time Facebook releases a new feature to learn more about our friends, many people realise that their privacy settings are not adequate anymore. Their latest new feature, Facebook Graph Search, is no exception -... Read More ; top privacy tips for Facebook apps The Top 5 Privacy Tips For Facebook Timeline Applications The Top 5 Privacy Tips For Facebook Timeline Applications If you're a Facebook user, you've probably recently started to use the Facebook timeline on your user page. You've probably also noticed changes such as the ticker feed and new behaviours of open graph applications... Read More ; regular Facebook Graph Searches 6 Cool Things You Can Find With Facebook's New Graph Search Features [Weekly Facebook Tips] 6 Cool Things You Can Find With Facebook's New Graph Search Features [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook has just given its graph search another boost, and those who have been upgraded are now able to search post history as well as photo history. What is it good for? Read More and what they might find; how Facebook can be used as an interpersonal weapon Facebook Search Used As An Interpersonal Weapon: What To Watch For [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook Search Used As An Interpersonal Weapon: What To Watch For [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook has always been an easy way to accidentally expose yourself to unwanted privacy breaches, however with the new Facebook Graph Search it's even easier to get stung. You might think you've locked down your... Read More (and how to stop it); and how to spot a fake account How To Spot a Fake Facebook Account & Stay Safe [Weekly Facebook Tips] How To Spot a Fake Facebook Account & Stay Safe [Weekly Facebook Tips] According to a fairly recent estimate by Facebook, there are around 83 million fake accounts on the social network. Sure, a few of these are duplicate accounts or businesses using personal accounts instead of pages,... Read More .

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What do you tell your teenagers about Facebook privacy? Teens, what do your friends do that they really shouldn’t? Tell us in the comments!

Image Credit: Facebook

  1. Bud
    October 24, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Facebook has become a vast wasteland of trash and garbage !!! And in this day and age of paranoia, I've noticed how my own page on FB has been seriously altered / changed after making some negative comments about it. Still use it to only play a few games and rarely to chat on. The friends I do have I seek other ways to chat and/or view.

    I'm waiting for their "big screw-up" and to be fined in a huge way !!!

  2. Jonen560ti
    October 24, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    just turned 18

    aaand Facebook underage restrictions removed.

    i need to make a meme about this

  3. Fred M
    October 24, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Why do I get the feeling facebook is controlled be the Government?

    • believe it or not
      October 24, 2013 at 11:46 am

      'cause it is LOL

    • believe it or not
      October 24, 2013 at 11:47 am

      'cause it is LOL

    • Anon
      October 24, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      U know it now??? -_-

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