Facebook has introduced the ‘Parent’s Portal’, featuring new resources for parents to help being the conversation about online safety with their children. The hub is a new addition to the updated Facebook Safety Centre which was launched in November.
The Safety Centre demonstrates the tools Facebook offer to control your experience on the platform, as well as providing guidance and resources for safe and secure sharing. The Parent’s Portal is dedicated to educating parents on how Facebook works and includes tips for talking with children about staying safe online and provides access to resources from experts around the world.
Commenting on the Julie de Bailliencourt, “We take safety on Facebook very seriously. By working with experts to help shape our products, policies and community education programs we can create a safe space for everyone to communicate and share.”
Julie continued, “Every day, parents come to Facebook to ask for advice in Groups, share pictures of their kids or just stay connected with family in different places. And for many parents, they also have questions about how Facebook works once their children join. That's why today we are launching the Parent's Portal, a new section of the Facebook Safety Centre.”
Simon Grehan from Webwise the Irish Internet Safety Awareness Centre which is co-funded by the Department of Education and Skills and the EU Safer Internet Programme said, “In every aspect of development, from learning to cross the road, ride a bike or swim, parents teach, guide and support their children. It should be no different when it comes to their online lives. The new Parent’s Portal from Facebook is a valuable resource for parents to assist them in ensuring their children have a safe, positive online experience.”
Technology has changed the ways in which people connect, but for families the basics of talking with children about safety remain the same. Working with expert partners from around the world, Facebook has pulled together tips to help parents on how to speak with young people about their online safety.
- Let your child know that the same rules apply online as apply offline
If it's not something you want others to do to you, don't do it to others. Just as you might tell your child to look both ways before crossing the street or to wear a helmet while riding their bike, teach them to think before they share online.
- Try to be a good role model
The adage that children will "do as you do, not as you say" is as true online as it is offline. If you set time restrictions on when your child can use social media or be online, for example no texting after 10pm, follow the same rules.
- Engage early
Data suggest that parents should engage online with their children as soon as they are on social media. Consider friending them when they join Facebook. Just as you lay the foundation early for dialogue and conversation offline with your children, you should lay that foundation early online. It gets harder to do so if you wait. Even before they are on social media, talk to them about technology as a whole. It can help lay the groundwork for future conversations.
- Identify and seize key moments
For example, when your child gets their first mobile phone, it's a good time to set ground rules. When your child turns 13 years old and is old enough to join Facebook and other social media, it's a good time to talk about safe sharing. When your child gets a driver's license, it's a good time to discuss the importance of not texting and driving.
- Trust yourself
Typically, you can adopt the same parenting style for your child's online activities as you do for their offline activities. If you find that your child responds best to a negotiated agreement, create a contract that you can both sign. Or, maybe your child just needs to know the basic rules.
- Ask your children to teach you
Not on Facebook? Or, maybe you're interested in trying a streaming music service? If your children are already familiar with these apps and sites, they can be an excellent resource. The conversation can also serve as an opportunity to talk about issues of safety, privacy and security. For example, you can ask them questions about privacy settings as you set up your own Facebook account. And, as most parents know all too well, your child will likely appreciate the opportunity to teach you.
This list is only a starting point and may not exactly fit the needs of your family — the important thing is that parents and are having the conversation with their children.