Social networks, apps and games
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Facebook

Facebook is a social network which lets you connect with others and share things like comments, photos and videos through your own profile page. You can add friends, write on people’s pages and posts, join groups and play games. You can also live broadcast a video to your Facebook contacts.

13+

Official age rating

15+

Parent age rating

What do parents say?
13+

Child age rating

What do children say?

At a glance

Kids use this to...

Play

Create

Learn

Connect

Expert view of the risks...

Sexual

High Risk

Violence & hatred

High Risk

Bullying

High Risk

Suicide & self-harm

High Risk

Drink, drugs & crime

Medium Risk

O2 Guru top tip

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On Facebook privacy

Explore Facebook's privacy settings with your child. Use the ‘Friends only’ option, so only people they know can see what they're posting.

What you should know 

 

Facebook’s Youth Portal is a great place to help young people to learn the basics

 

Facebook has created the Youth Portal, an area designed to help young people get to know the social network. It shows young people a range of things, like how to set up their account and the features they can use to make their account safer.

 

Let your child know about the Youth Portal but also take the time to explore it together. You might want to start with the Facebook basics section, which covers security, safety and privacy. This could be a useful way to have a conversation about how to stay safe on Facebook.

 

Facebook’s Safety Centre is a useful hub for learning about safety on the social network

 

The Safety Centre is a good place to get familiar with Facebook’s different safety features. It’s got helpful information and advice on their policies and tools, such as how to report and block, as well a wide range of resources on everything from online bullying to keeping Muslims safe online.

 

Facebook updates the Safety Centre frequently, so make sure you check back regularly to see what’s changed and how this might affect your online safety rules and routines.

 

Even if your child’s account is set to private, other people can still send them friend requests

 

In Facebook’s settings, you can edit who can send you friends requests, choosing either ‘Everyone’ or ‘Friends of Friends’. We recommend the ‘Friends of Friends’ option. But this still means that people your child doesn’t know might be able to send them a friend request.

 

Have a conversation with your child about not accepting friend requests from people they have never met and show them how to delete friend requests.

Top tips for staying safe

Sitting down with your child and exploring their favourite app or game is a great way for you to learn more about what they like to do online.

You can ask them why they like to use an app or play certain games, as well as who they’re talking to and what sorts of things they’re sharing.

You can also read our Net Aware reviews for tips on how to keep kids safe on popular apps, sites and games.

Help your child think about what they share online and who sees it. Compare it to what they would be happy to share offline.

Use examples that are easy for them to understand: “You shouldn't give your number to somebody you don't know on the street. Is somebody online you don't know any different?”

Listen to their answers. And be positive and encouraging.

Remind them that they shouldn’t share private things, such as:

  • personal information, like names, emails, phone numbers, location and school names
  • other people's personal information
  • links to join private group chats
  • photos of themselves
  • photos of their body, such as sexual photos or videos.

It’s important to check the privacy settings on your child’s Facebook account to make sure what they’re posting and sharing is kept private or only with friends.

We recommend they only sharing things with friends and always keeping their location private.

You can visit Facebook for specific information on privacy settings and tools, including a Privacy Check Up which walks you through all the different ways you can make an account more private.

 

Your child might see or receive upsetting or negative things from other users on Facebook and Messenger. If this happens, they might want to report or block them.

Facebook has specific guidance on reporting, as well as how to unfriend or block someone.

On Messenger you can find information on how to report conversations and how to block someone.

And remember to let your child know that they can always talk to you about worrying things they see online.

Facebook has a dedicated portal for parents with tips and advice on using the social network.

Take the time to explore this area and think about which safety features are right for your child. And make sure you revisit this information regularly to see if anything has changed.

Explain that you understand the internet is a great place to play, create, learn and connect. But remind them they can talk to you if anything upsets or worries them.

Reassure them that you won’t overreact – you’re just looking out for them.

It’s important to remind your child that they can talk you, another adult they trust, like a teacher, or Childline about anything they see online.

What children and parents are saying Facebook & Messenger.

We've spoken to over 2,000 parents and kids to find out what they think about.

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Kids

What do children and young people dislike about Facebook and Messenger?

• Receiving friend requests or messages from people they don’t know
• Seeing inappropriate or upsetting posts or pages that are shared
• The amount of adverts and spam posts that you can’t really control

You can come across upsetting videos and pictures that should not be seen by young people. Many young people use a fake date of birth yet they are still able to use the app.

Girl, 16

What do children and young people like about Facebook and Messenger?

• You can use it to communicate with friends and family around the world
• It helps you to keep up to date with what’s going on with friends and in the news
• It’s entertaining as there are lots of funny videos and memes that are shared

It’s quite diverse with the range of content it provides such as videos and images. It is also personal. I also receive constant notifications from Facebook asking me if I would like to review my privacy settings and friends.

Boy, 17

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Parents

We asked parents about the following areas of Facebook and Messenger:

Signing up

It is very easy to do, maybe too easy for children that are quite young.

Mother of a 12 year old girl

Easy to set up an alias so danger that people who are on there aren't who they say they are or someone could set up an account in your name.

Mother of 11 and 13 year olds

Reporting

Most parents thought it was easy to find ways to report unsuitable content or behaviour, and block people from contacting you.

I have found it easy to report inappropriate content using the drop down box option, but I've never had any feedback on things that I have reported. I am sometimes shocked to see traumatic images with no warning.

Mother of 10 and 15 year olds

Privacy settings

Overall, parents found it easy to change the settings so that your profile, account and location are private.

When accessing after registration the privacy and location settings are quite hard to find.

Mum of 6 and 8 year olds

 Safety and support

The advice is there but it’s not very young child friendly.

Dad of 11 and 14 year olds

There is nothing obvious on Facebook that leads you to use safety and privacy settings. You have to know about them and then go hunt for the settings.

Mum of 17 year old

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