Facebook Unveils Family Safety Center To Fight Bullying, Privacy Concerns

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Some much-needed tech support has come to Facebook for concerned parents.

If you have questions or concerns about keeping your teens safe from cyber bullies, there are new online tools to help – and you don’t have to be a computer whiz to use them, reports CBS 2’s Mary Calvi.

It’s been a big question for Facebook – how do you keep the youngest safe?

“Yes, I’m on Facebook all the time,” Caroline Strom said. “I’m actually online now.”

For Strom and 600 million users, the site is offering some help with a family safety center. Parents can visit for tools and tips on safety and privacy, even if they don’t have a profile of their own.

“They need to be controlled, I think,” parent Lisa Chwae said.

For parents, there’s the dilemma over whether children should even be on Facebook.

“Instead of meeting them on Facebook, they should meet them face-to-face,” Chwae said.

If they’re on, though, there is now more policing. By pressing the “report” button, users can now choose to report bullying or abusive content, and other safety issue. The report will be sent simultaneously to Facebook, the person who posted it, and to a trusted adult who might be able to help address the issue offline.

“Parents are the first line of defense when it comes to protecting their children and their teenagers,” Internet security expert Hemanshu Nigam said.

Parents “friending” their own children and their kids’ friends has skyrocketed in the past year.

“For my friends, it’s kind of my thing, it’s my circle – I don’t think my parents should be around that,” Strom said.

That sentiment changes, for some, as children get out of their teens. Polo Tate is Facebook friends with her mother.

“I am. It makes me aware of what content I put on it, for sure,” she said.

Regardless of privacy and protection policies by Facebook and other social networking sites, experts added that it’s parental involvement – online and off – that can be most crucial.

The Facebook safety center also includes articles and videos for parents and teens about online safety and privacy. There is also a downloadable guide for teachers.

For more information on the new safety center, click here.

More from Mary Calvi
  • Niadin H

    I think it’s a little difficult to simply ban young children from using social networks. Facebook in particular, is so well spread and integrated into everyday life that it’s difficult to completely separate it and remove it. And banning simply makes it the forbidden fruit they want access to. The better option is to learn more about it and the privacy options and settings that can protect you and your children. There are courses that excel at this such as Social Media Education Group

  • Privachi

    Sure, these are nice tools to have, but are we doing the right thing exposing our kids to social networking sites that collect their photos, posts and use it in the future for rest of the kids lives? With improving technologies for analyzing user data, we need to be more cautious and weary about online services knowing more about us than people.

    Privachi (www.privachi.net) a privacy-centric social network, is an attempt in the direction of giving the users a choice to protect and own their social data. On Privachi, updates that the users post is “locked” in such a manner that Privachi can’t unlock it. Only the user’s friends can. Along with this, the updates/photo/video is stored in a location that the user chooses (outside of Privachi) so that when the user deletes the photos, it is truly gone. The goal is to prevent any one service from knowing everything about the user. Hope this helps users protect themselves from social profiling.

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