10 Facebook Safety and Security Tips for Teens

Facebook can be a scary place if you're not careful

Teenage girl using laptop

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Unfortunately, there are bad guys out there who seek to exploit Facebook members. Follow these safety and security tips to help make your Facebook experience a safer one.

Don't Register for an Account Until You're 13

While you may want an account when you're 11 or 12, Facebook expressly forbids anyone younger than 13 from registering. If they find out you are lying about your age, they might terminate your account and all of your content, including your pictures.

Don't Use Your Real First or Middle Name

Facebook's policy forbids fake names but does allow for nicknames as your first or middle name. Don't use your full legal name because doing so could help predators and identity thieves obtain more information about you. Check out Facebook's Help Center for more guidance on what names are permitted

Set Strong Privacy Settings.

While you might want to be a social butterfly, set your Facebook privacy settings so that not just anyone can see your profile and content. Only make details of your profile available to people you have already accepted as your friends.

Don't Post Any Contact Information on Your Profile

Don't make your email or your phone number viewable on your profile. A rogue Facebook application or a hacker could use this information to spam or torment you. We recommend not even allowing your Facebook friends to have this info. Your real friends will have your cell phone number and email anyway. The less exposure you have, the better.

Don't Ever Post Your Location

Criminals and predators could use your location information to track you down. You might think that only your friends would have access to this information, but if your friend's account is left logged in on a public computer or their account gets hacked, then strangers will now have your location information. Also, never post that you are home alone.

Report Abuse

If you ever feel threatened by anyone on Facebook or someone is harassing you by sending unwanted Facebook messages or posting something abusive on your wall, report it by clicking the Report Abuse link on the post. If someone posts a picture of you that you don't like, untag yourself.

Create a Strong Password

If your password is too simple, someone could easily guess it and break into your account. You should never provide anyone with your password. Always make sure that you log out of Facebook entirely if you're using a public computer in a library or school computer lab.

Be Smart About What You Post

There are some things you should never post on Facebook. When you post something, always remember that it can affect other people and could be used against you in the future.

Just because you delete something on Facebook after you say it, doesn't mean someone didn't take a screenshot of it before you had the chance to remove it. If you post something embarrassing about yourself or others, it could come back to haunt you in the future when you apply for a job or try to get into a college that checks Facebook profiles. If you don't feel comfortable enough saying something in front of someone, then it's probably best not to post it online either.

Keep an Eye out for Facebook Scams and Rogue Applications

Not all Facebook apps are made by good people. Usually, a Facebook app will require access to parts of your profile as a condition of using it. If you give any app access and it's a malicious application, then you might have just opened yourself up for spam or worse. If in doubt, check it out by Googling the app's name followed by "scam" to see if there are any reported shenanigans.

If Your Account Gets Hacked, Report It IMMEDIATELY!!

Don't be too embarrassed to report your account getting hacked by someone. You must report the hack immediately. Hackers may try and impersonate you using your hacked account to get your friends to fall for their scams.