Setting parental controls on Facebook
Despite the automatic private account setting for under 18s, you can set up different Facebook parental controls in the app. This will keep you from having to watch over their shoulders every time they use Facebook or Facebook Messenger.
To make sure your child is protected, go to the settings icon on their Facebook profile page – the round icon with three dots in the middle – and choosing Facebook Privacy from the next menu. From here you can conduct what the platform calls a ‘Privacy Check-up’.
Ask your kids why they joined specific groups and try to understand why they post the images or content they do. Listen to their responses and be positive and reassuring. If you are encouraging and sensitive to their world, they will find it easier to confide in you should any inappropriate activity occur on Facebook.
Like most websites, your child will need a password to log in to their Facebook profile. They should choose a password that’s easy to remember, but not so easy that anyone could guess it. They should include special characters and numbers to add another layer of complexity to their password.
We suggest knowing the password to your child’s Facebook account to help manage their safety online, but you should discuss that with them before setting up a profile.
As we’ve already mentioned, the profiles of anyone under the age of 18 are automatically set to private and their location settings for Facebook and Facebook Messenger are off. This means their contacts won’t know where they are at any particular moment in time. However, when they come of age it’s worth talking to them about how they use the app, particularly the check-in function.
While it’s nice for them to update friends and family on a theme park they have just arrived at, there are dangers in letting other people know in real time. Emphasise the importance of location anonymity at all times to avoid making your child a target.
Under the heading ‘Your next post’, you can review the audience who see your child's information and posts. Make sure it’s set to ‘Friends’ and not ‘Friends of Friends’ or ‘Public’ so no strangers can view their photos, videos or information.
Under the heading ‘Your profile privacy’, check the information that your child is sharing on their profile page and with whom. Risky information to divulge includes: phone number, email address, birthdate and which school they attend.
In fact, we recommend they share as little information on their profile as possible and, if they do want to share their information and recent photos, to ensure the ‘Friends’ option is selected so only approved friends can see it.
All the apps your child is linked to will use data from their Facebook profile. Review them carefully and delete ones that seem suspicious or you don’t recognise.
Facebook’s default setting means anyone can make a Friend request to your child. However, under the heading “Who can see my stuff?” you can change this to make sure only ‘friends of friends’ can make a request.
If your child reports any bad or suspicious behaviour on the app, simply block the user in question. Just tap ‘How do I stop someone from bothering me?”, type in their name and block them. They won’t be informed and your child will no longer receive unwanted messages or photos from them.
Facebook Parental controls for iPhone
You can put all of the above steps in place on your child’s Facebook account using an iPhone or iOS device. When you want to change or amend the privacy settings, tap the menu button (the three lines), under ‘Privacy shortcuts’ you can manage their privacy settings, account security and more.
Interested in other parental controls for your child’s device? Read our parental controls for iPhone guide.
Facebook Parental controls for Android
The steps above are similar for Android users too, though the icons might be slightly different. If you’re thinking about what other parental controls you can put in place on your child’s Android device, read our parental controls for Android article.
How to turn off parental controls on Facebook?
We encourage you to keep parental controls on your child’s Facebook account to protect them when they’re online. However, if you want to turn these controls off on your child’s iPhone, iOS device, Android phone or tablet, simply amend the privacy settings on the posts, photos or information via ‘Settings’ and ‘Privacy shortcuts’.
For more information on setting controls across a range of devices, apps and platforms visit Internet Matters