Facebook Privacy Settings to Keep Teens Safe

Protect your kids from dangers lurking on the internet

Although Facebook may feel like a safe online destination for your teen, it's still important to discuss and adjust Facebook's privacy settings to protect your child from dangers lurking on the internet. It is possible to connect with friends and post status updates and photos safely, but you (or your teen) may need to make a few changes to the settings.

Accessing and Changing Privacy Settings

You can't make changes to your teen's Facebook page from your account. To access Facebook's privacy settings on the desktop, have your teen open their Facebook page and then watch as you go through the privacy settings, explaining the importance of each one.

  1. Go to the top of the Facebook page and select the down arrow.

    Facebook page with the downward arrow highlighted
  2. Select Settings & Privacy in the drop-down menu.

    Facebook drop-down menu with Settings & Privacy selected
  3. Choose Settings.

    Settings selected in the Facebook Settings & Privacy screen
  4. Select Privacy.

    Privacy selected in the Facebook sidebar
  5. In the Privacy Shortcuts section of the Privacy Settings and Tools screen, select Check a few important settings.

    Privacy Shortcuts section of Facebook settings
  6. Go through each section of the Privacy Checkup with your teen. Topics include:

    • Who can see what you share.
    • How to keep your account secure.
    • How people find you on Facebook.
    • Your data settings on Facebook.
    • Your ad preferences on Facebook.
    Privacy Checkup main screen in Facebook
  7. Back in the Your Activity section of the Privacy Settings and Tools screen, block strangers from finding your teen by selecting Edit next to Who can see your future posts. Choose from the options. Friends is the most common option. Public is not recommended.

    Your Activity section of Facebook Privacy settings

    This section also offers the ability to limit who can see past posts, so if posts previously were public, they can be changed so that only friends can see them now. Select Limit Past Posts and select the Limit Past Posts option.

  8. Scroll down from the Your Activity section to reach the How People Find and Contact You section, which includes who can see your teen's Friends list, email address, phone number, and other options.

    How People Find and Contact You Settings on Facebook

    Make sure you or your teen edits each of these settings to Friends or Only me and not Public or Everyone.

Adjust Privacy Settings for Your Teen's Photos

Some photos, such as the current profile photo and cover photo, are always public. Privacy settings for other photos are set manually as they are posted, so get your teen in the habit of adjusting their photo settings when they post them by making sure photos are set to be seen by Friends and not Public.

You can only edit the privacy settings for photos in specific albums, including Cover Photos and Profile Pictures. If the photo was shared as part of an album, you need to change the setting for the entire album.

Change Privacy Settings on Individual Photos

To adjust privacy settings on individual photos with Facebook on the desktop:

  1. Have your teen open their profile page.

  2. Select Photos to access the images.

    Facebook profile screen with Photos highlighted
  3. Select Your Photos. (You may need to scroll down to see the photos.)

    Your Photos selected on Facebook
  4. Open a photo and click the audience selector icon.

    A Facebook photo with the audience selector icon highlighted
  5. Select the audience you want to share the photo with—Friends, for example. Warn your teen never to choose Public.

    The Select Audience pop-up menu in Facebook

Change Privacy Settings on Photo Albums

In most cases, if a photo was shared as part of an album, your teen will need to change the privacy settings for the entire album.

To edit the privacy settings for a photo album using Facebook on the desktop:

  1. Have your teen navigate to their profile page.

  2. Select Photos.

    A Facebook profile with Photos highlighted
  3. Select Albums.

    A Facebook profile with Albums highlighted
  4. Choose an album to open it and then select the three-dot menu icon in the upper-right corner.

    A Facebook album open with the three-dot menu icon highlighted
  5. Select Edit album in the drop-down menu.

    A Facebook album open and with Edit Album selected
  6. Choose the audience selector icon in the left sidebar.

    Audience selector in a Facebook album editing screen
  7. Choose the audience for the album from the screen that opens. Warn your teen never to select Public.

    Facebook Edit Album screen with Select Audience pop-up menu

Privacy Checkup in the Mobile App

If your teen prefers to use the Facebook mobile app, they can access the Privacy Checkup section by tapping the three lines at the bottom of the opening screen, selecting Settings & Privacy, and tapping Privacy Shortcuts. Most of the security settings in the app are accessible through the Privacy Checkup.

Path to Privacy Shortcuts on Facebook App
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