How Parents Can Help Their Kids Stay Facebook Safe

Getty Images

Facebook is the social media platform that everyone knows and most of us use. We share photos, articles, memes, funny images and so much more. It allows us to reconnect with people from our past, chat with people in our lives now and make new connections in groups and communities that we join. All of that access to others can be fun, exciting and informative, but it can also be risky. Whether it's sharing the wrong information with the wrong people on Facebook or getting hacked by people we don't know on the Internet, there is always the chance that someone could abuse the comfort that many young adults and teens have with social media to take advantage of them - and of their parents, too.

These safety precautions and recommendations by Facebook can prevent any unintentional sharing of information by teens, young adults and parents, alike. By recommending these simple and easy steps to make Facebook more secure, parents can rest easy that their kids will be safe on the biggest social media platform in the world.

of 06

Do a Facebook Security Checkup

The first step in making sure a Facebook account is as secure as possible is to do a security checkup. Facebook will ask you a series of questions to make sure that the apps you use, your notification email address and your password are all up-to-date and as secure as possible. One very important recommendation is that you use a password for Facebook that is used only for Facebook and no other websites. 

Other important tips include:

Control where you're logged in: Easily log out of devices you haven’t used in a while or have forgotten about. Stay logged in to  Facebook only on the devices and browsers you have approved of.

Turn on Login Alerts: Receive a notification or email alert if Facebook suspects someone else is trying to login to your account.

of 06

Add an Extra Layer of Security

We can all use extra security, whether it's for our computers or a website on the Internet. This is especially true for teens and college students, who may be less or cautious about having information on Facebook accessed by hackers and criminals. They also may not be as aware as their parents about the possibly violations of privacy that can occur if hackers find their way into a Facebook profile.

Facebook’s security settings page —which can be found by heading to settings > security and login — automatically recommends extra security measures for you based on what you already have in place. Tell your kids to use Facebook's knowledge and expertise to make their profiles more safe and private, and then do the same for yourself.

of 06

Let Facebook Be Your Password

Use Facebook Login to sign into third-party apps using your Facebook account. It's convenient, and will limit the number of passwords your teen or young adult needs to create and remember. Users can also control what information is shared with these apps by clicking “Edit the Info You Provide.” Keeping Facebook passwords unique and using Facebook for secure login on websites can greatly decrease the instances of forgetting passwords, getting locked out of sites for too many incorrect tries and inadvertently logging in on an unsecured wifi, allowing hackers to collect password information. 

of 06

Add a Second Layer of Authorization

If your teen or young adult regularly uses public computers - for example, at a library - two factor authorization is a must-have. Whenever someone logs on to Facebook on a new device, a security code is needed to authorize the user. 

To enable two-factor authorization:

  1. Go to your Security and Login Settings by clicking  in the top-right corner of Facebook and clicking Settings > Security and Login.
  2. Scroll down to Use two-factor authentication and click Edit
  3. Choose the authentication method you want to add and follow the on-screen instructions
  4. Click Enable once you've selected and turned on an authentication method

While teens and young adults are often in a rush and multi-tasking and may grumble a bit about the extra step, emphasize to them that staying secure on a public computer is not only for their safety and security, but for yours as well. It's not only Facebook that can pose a security threat on a public wifi - thieves and criminals can access all kinds of personal and financial information on shared information highways.


of 06

Stay Alert to Scams on Facebook

Bill Slattery, an eCrime manager, recommends reporting any type of scams to Facebook immediately. 


  • Click in the top right of the post
  • Click Report post or Report photo
  • Select the option that best describes the issue and follow the on-screen instructions


  • Go to the profile you want to report
  • In the bottom right of the cover photo, click and select Report
  • Follow the on-screen instructions

There are all types of scammers on Facebook, from those seeking romantic connections in the hopes of getting money, plane tickets and more out of their targets to people who contact users claiming to have money for them in the form of lottery winnings or very low interest loans. For college students, especially those on a budget, these offers of quick and easy money can be tempting, so staying alert to these scams is especially important for them. Also of big concern is people requesting to connect offline who are not personal friends or acquaintances. Remind your teens and young adults to use extreme caution when connecting with strangers on Facebook.

of 06

Photo Sharing and Privacy

Your teens and young adults can control who sees the photos that they share on Facebook. When they are sharing a photo, they should click on the globe at the bottom of the share box and choose who can see it - from everyone to just me. 

A word of caution about sharing photos - or anything - anywhere on Facebook, whether publicly or in a secret group. It's easy to take a screenshot of a post and share it, whether it's marked public or private. Reinforce with your kids that being thoughtful and careful about what they share can prevent a lot of trouble and stress later on.