My mother and a lot of her friends, including many seniors, are on Facebook. Recently I checked her account and discovered that she did not have the privacy settings adjusted appropriately. Too much information was available to too many people whom she did not know. So we went through the settings at Account-Privacy Settings (top right on the Facebook page), and set everything to friends only — ensuring that whatever she writes, as well as her personal information, will not be widely available outside of the circle of acquaintances that she knows well.
Social networking decreases users’ privacy. The New York Times published a May 8, 2010, article titled Tell-All Generation Learns to Keep Things Offline. It points out that young people are “… more diligent than older adults, however, in trying to protect themselves. In a new study to be released this month, the Pew Internet Project has found that people in their 20s exert more control over their digital reputations than older adults, more vigorously deleting unwanted posts and limiting information about themselves.”
We, adult children and our senior parents, need to get acquainted with privacy settings on Facebook and on every web activity that we use to ensure our privacy now and in the future (not to mention how much unwanted advertising we will avoid because these settings are in action).
Below are articles and links that every adult child should read and share with senior parents who are using Facebook:
- Tech Talk (a posting and podcast on privacy), New York Times
- Debate Continues Over Facebook Privacy Changes, NPR, All Things Considered
- How to Restore Your Privacy Settings on Facebook, (Live Hacker blog)
- How to Delete Facebook Applications and Why You Should, Read Write Web blog
- The Three Facebook Settings Every User Should Check, New York Times