Will Kids Report on Other Kids on Facebook?

Apr 20

Facebook has updated their safety features in an effort to combat cyber bullying. Parents can check out the updated Family Safety Center for basic information on how to keep their kids’ Facebook experience healthy and safe.  This is a useful guide to moms and dads who are new to the networking site.

Perhaps the biggest change to affect kids’ Facebook experience is the updated social reporting tool.  Here’s how it works:

  1. A user – more likely a teen or tween – sees a photo posted on his wall that he finds offensive.  This is particularly an issue among kids whose photos are frequently posted without permission to embarrass or harass them.
  2. The offended user can click on the photo and look to the bottom left. There, they can click on the word Report.
  3. Select from various options that explain whether the photo includes the user in it or it is simply an offensive image, and select the reason that best explains why.
  4. Choose to block, unfriend, or send a message to the person who posted it.
  5. Lastly, the user has another option to alert a trusted authority figure or friend about the offensive photo to ask for help.

This is a step in the right direction, but will teens and tweens be comfortable sending an alert to a peer (who probably isn’t much of a friend) asking them to take down a nasty photo? My inkling is, not likely. Furthermore, will they send a message to a parent or teacher complaining of an embarrassing photo? Again, I’m not certain many kids would.  These are questions that parents need to ask themselves, or better yet, ask their children.

Certainly the new social reporting tool has the potential to help kids on Facebook, but only if parents and teachers explain how it works and encourage them to do so – even at the risk of feeling ashamed or embarrassed.  And, to a teen or tween, there aren’t many things worse than that.

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