The 3 billion users of Facebook make it the most popular social network platform. It’s not difficult to imagine why people would want to use Facebook. It allows us to connect with family and friends, keep up with the news, share pictures and videos, and more. Despite Facebook’s colourful world, parents must watch over their children’s activities there. As we will explain, numerous risks threaten children on Facebook. However, using Facebook parental controls and other safety measures described here, you can protect your child.
What Threatens Children on Facebook?
Thankfully Facebook monitors the content everyone shares. However, like the world out there, not everyone on Facebook has good intentions. Therefore, children are threatened by cybercrimes such as cyberbullying, sexual harassment, grooming, data and identity theft, etc.
In spite of this, your child is not defenceless. With your help as their parent, Facebook parental controls, and parental control apps, you can let your child use Facebook with peace of mind. Read this article to the end to get a clear picture.
How to Turn on Facebook Parental Controls?
Facebook doesn’t allow children below 13 to create accounts. But your above 13-year-old child may use Facebook with or without parental supervision. You can only turn on Facebook parental controls from your child’s account. If this is the first time your child opens an account on Facebook, you can create the account for them. Otherwise, you should ask your child to let you log in to their account.
After logging in, click your child’s profile picture in the top right corner of the screen. On the menu that appears, click ‘Settings & Privacy’. Another menu will appear. There you should click ‘Privacy Checkup’.
You’ll be directed to a new page where you can view and change all the privacy settings broken up into five sections:
- Who Can See What You Share
- How to Keep Your Account Secure
- How People Can Find You on Facebook
- Your Data Settings on Facebook
- Your Ad Preferences on Facebook
Who Can See What You Share?
In this section, you can decide who can see your child’s:
- Phone Number
- Email Address
- Date of Birth
- Relationship Status
- Current City
- Post & Stories
We suggest you set information such as phone numbers, emails, and hometown to ‘Only Me’. If you do that, no one but your child (and Mark Zuckerberg!) can see it. Other information like birthday and the current city could be set to ‘Friends’, meaning that your child’s friends on Facebook can see it.
You can also define your child’s default post and story audience here. To maximise your child’s privacy, we suggest you set it to ‘Friends’.
Lastly, in this section, you can block Facebook users. If there are any people in particular whom you don’t want your child to interact with, look them up and block them.
You may like: How to Monitor Children’s Facebook Use?
How to Keep Your Account Secure?
In this section, you can change your child’s:
You may update the password or activate two-step verification. You can also set how to receive notifications when an unrecognised device logs into your child’s account. You may want to add your own email address to the account settings so that you can receive login alerts.
How People Can Find You on Facebook?
In this section, you can define:
- Who can send friend requests to your child
- Who can look your child up using their phone number and email
- If search engines can index your child’s account
We suggest you let ‘Friends of Friends’ (meaning your child’s friends of friends on Facebook) send friend requests to your child. Also, it is better to let no one other than your child’s ‘Friends’ look up your child’s account using your child’s email address or phone number. Finally, deactivate search engine indexing. Otherwise, anyone using Google or any other search engine can look up your child’s account.
Your Data Settings on Facebook?
In this section, you can see the websites or apps your child has logged into using Facebook. You can use your Facebook account (like a Gmail account) to log into different websites, which is almost always not a threat. You may terminate any of them your child doesn’t use; however, it is unnecessary.
Perhaps the best use of this section from the Facebook parental controls point of view is that it gives you an idea of what other websites your child uses. Some of them might be inappropriate.
Your Ad Preferences on Facebook?
In this section, you can modify:
- The ads your child sees
- Your child’s social interactions that others can see
Unfortunately, you cannot decide whether to see or not see ads on Facebook. Showing ads is how Facebook makes money. However, in some way, you can tell Facebook what kind of ads to show your child. Facebook collects information from all of its users to show them customised ads. In this section, you are given options to turn on or off that can affect the kinds of ads your child sees. For example, you can let Facebook use your child’s educational history or hometown. We suggest you turn all the options off. However, it doesn’t mean your child won’t be shown ads or Facebook won’t collect data from your child.
Facebook shows notifications from any user’s interactions with their friends. That means your child’s friends might be notified if your child follows a page or likes and comments on their posts. Facebook calls this feature ‘Social Interaction’. We suggest you set it to ‘Only Me’ because other than being annoying, this feature also risks your child’s privacy.
How to Maximise Your Child’s Protection on Facebook?
Thankfully, with Facebook parental controls, you can change the default settings of Facebook to make it more suitable to be used by children. However, it does not guarantee children’s protection on Facebook on its own. It would be best if you used other procedures to maximise your child’s safety.
Explain the Risks of the Internet to Your Child
First and foremost, parents must clarify the dangers of using social network platforms such as Facebook for their children. You, as a parent, need to educate your child on how to avoid risks and protect themselves. For example, tell them not to accept friend requests from strangers, reply to messages from strangers, or open links and download files from people they don’t know.
Don’t Take Friends for Granted
Unfortunately, not all threats come from strangers. Sometimes people that you and your child know have evil intentions. For example, sometimes children are bullied or hacked by classmates or acquaintances. They may mean nothing but to play a prank, but sometimes it can get too serious. That is why parents should not only rely on Facebook parental controls to keep threats away. Perhaps the best precaution is to teach children to talk to you as soon as they face an issue online.
You can warn your child about the risks of Facebook, and you may turn on Facebook parental controls, but how can you ensure your children are going by the rules you set for them? And how can you watch over your child’s Facebook use when you have no idea how it works? You must also create an account for yourself on Facebook if you don’t already have one. Add your child as a friend and monitor them without being intrusive.
Your child might change Facebook parental controls intentionally or unintentionally, so ask them to let you view the settings occasionally.
Monitor Your Child’s Screen Time
So far, you have done everything possible to guarantee your child’s safety on Facebook. But what if their overusing Facebook is becoming a problem itself?
Security risks and too much screen time (using devices with screens) also threaten children. Excessive screen time can cause physical and mental health issues. You, as a parent, must monitor your child’s screen time. The maximum screen time for entertainment suggested to minors up to 18 years old is 2 hours per day.
It is nearly impossible to watch over children with a stopwatch in hand and remind them to put away their phones when they reach the limit. So, what is the solution?
Use Safes Screen Time Monitoring
Screen time monitoring is one of the features of some parental control apps such as Safes. Using Safes, you decide which app your child can use for how long and when. You can make a schedule for each day of the week. You can give your child more Facebook screen time on weekends.
With Safes, you can make a screen time profile specifically for exam days. Also, with the geofence feature, you can turn your child’s school into a place without access to Facebook, where your child can focus on their studies.
What happens when your children reach their Facebook screen time limit? The Facebook app won’t open! No arguments are needed.
Does your child stay up late at night using Facebook? Use Safe’s bedtime mode to pause their device. Their phone will be unusable except for making phone calls and sending SMS.
If you’re interested in Safes, read about its features and plans on our website. Make sure you try our free trial; no credit card information is needed.
Concluding How to Turn on Facebook Parental Controls
Facebook allows children above 13 years of age to create accounts. Thankfully, with Facebook parental controls, you can help your child keep away from the safety risks. You can access these controls on your child’s Facebook account.
To maximise your child’s safety, we suggest explaining the risks of using Facebook to your child. Ask them to report to you anytime they receive suspicious messages or friend requests. Tell them to be careful about any link or file they receive, be it from a friend. To monitor your child’s activity, we suggest using Facebook yourself.
Don’t forget to monitor your child’s Facebook screen time. You can use some parental control apps, such as Safes, which have a screen time control feature.