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How to keep your children safe on Facebook

Protect them from predators and their peers

The appeal of Facebook can be seen by both kids and adults alike. With a bit of strategic parental guidance, you can educate your kids about the potential hazards of the social network and give them the tools they need to protect themselves from online predators.

Monitoring behaviour

If you want to keep a more watchful eye on your kids' online behaviour, you can use any of several effective tools.

SafetyWeb is an online service geared toward parents who wish to keep tabs on what their kids are doing online. It checks across 45 different social networking sites to see if your child has a registered public profile, and it monitors those accounts for any potentially threatening activities. Monitored platforms include Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube. It also recognises LiveJournal as a social network and will monitor that site, but it has yet to include other blogging platforms such as Tumblr.

The service will notify you, the parent, if your child has posted anything potentially unsafe or inappropriate, within categories related to drugs and alcohol, sex, depression, profanity and cyberbullying. That way, you can check your child's public activity without having to join every site or read every post they make.

McGruff Safeguard software takes online monitoring a step further: It can record every move your child makes on the internet, covering everything from instant-message logs to search terms on Google. Parents can keep a close eye on their children and discuss any behavior found to be dangerous or inappropriate.

Whether you use a software monitoring tool or not, experts agree that having regular conversations with your children about their online usage is the most important element to keeping them safe and aware of the dangers of the web.

See also: 10 Facebook & Twitter privacy faux pas

  1. Protect them from predators
  2. The basics
  3. Cyberbullying
  4. Stranger danger
  5. Monitoring behaviour
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