EGUSD Digital Citizenship

Resources for 21st Century Teaching and Learning

EGUSD Digital Citizenship

Archives for Parents

Technology and Students’ Mental Health in the Age of COVID-19

It has been over a year since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a lot has changed in our world. It has become mandatory for people of all ages to use digital platforms to communicate with others and complete basic tasks for school and work. Coupled with this increase in technology use, we have seen an increase in mental health challenges for young people.  A recent study completed by Common Sense Media in conjunction with Hopelab and the California Health Care Foundation suggests that technology has played a key role in providing support and resources for young people who are experiencing these mental health challenges.  

Student with tablet

The report, Coping with COVID-19: How Young People Use Digital Media to Manage Their Mental Health states that “depression rates have increased significantly since 2018, especially among teens and young adults who have had coronavirus infections in their homes.”  The study cites the increase in the percentage of young people who report moderate to severe depressive symptoms (up from 25% in 2018 to 38% in 2020) and explores the role that technology can play in supporting these young people. It explains that young people have increased their use of digital health resources by connecting with their health practitioners online and seeking information about topics that include COVID-19, fitness, anxiety, stress, and depression. The report states that,  “Forty percent of young people have looked online for “health peers,” or people with similar health concerns to their own.” 

The study also examines the role social media plays in the lives of young people, including those with moderate to severe depressive symptoms.  The researchers found that young people who are experiencing moderate to severe depressive symptoms use social media more frequently than their peers.  These young people stated that they use social media to get inspiration from others, feel less alone, and get support or advice when needed. One study participant said, “I just wanted to see how other people dealt with their stress, especially with school and how they balance it all. It helped me to see that I wasn’t alone in my anxiety, and that there are better ways to deal with anxiety rather than just pushing it to the back burner.”

Not all participants had a positive experience with technology and social media.  For the 5% of the participants in the study who reported having severe depressive symptoms, social media caused increased stress and anxiety.  Still, for a majority of participants, technology gave them access to the information and support they were seeking. 

For more information, check out the following resources:

For families who are seeking ways to support the mental well being of their children, check out the following Elk Grove Unified School District resources:

Digital Citizenship in a Time of #RemoteLearning

With more people than ever spending time and communicating online due to the COVID-19 virus “stay at home/shelter in place” orders throughout the country, it is important to remember basic media literacy skills and digital citizenship/internet safety guidelines when reading news articles, doing research, exploring new websites, apps and using online tools. Distance Learning Graphic

As we move into a time of #RemoteLearning, please keep in mind – and put into practice – the tips listed below:

  • Flex your media literacy muscles – Do not believe everything you read; fact check your sources before sharing articles or news stories online. Allsides, News Literacy Project, Politifact and Snopes are great starting points. Explore our curated Media Literacy Resources to learn more.
  • Protect your passwords – Do not share them with friends (not even with your best friend). 
  • Protect your personal information – Put on your “skepticals” before signing up for “freemium” offers for online apps – especially if they’re asking for credit card information.
  • Respect other people’s privacy, point of view, and intellectual property.
  • Contribute in positive ways to online discussions – Here are some sentence starters from ReadWriteThink: Writers… Written Conversation Sentence Starters.
  • Create a balance with your screen time and other activities. 

The need for kids to take control of and be mindful of their screen time is a huge concern shared by families, teachers, and administrators. Of course, kids will go through periods of both heavy and light media use, but it’s all about balance. #RemoteLearning should not be limited to digital resources, but rather a combination of digital and analog. Working together, we can help our kids maintain a healthy media balance.

#RemoteLearning should also be a balance between consuming content and creating content. As kids have more time to explore hobbies and interests, this is a perfect time to share their ideas, thoughts, and passions with family members, classmates, and friends through a variety of media (handwritten, texted, recorded, etc.). 

#RemoteLearning is also an opportunity for students to start building an awareness beyond their current world view. Many organizations offer students a safe venue for connecting to and sharing their learning with national and worldwide online communities. From our regional SECC’s Call to Action: Share Your Story to the Center for Media Literacy’s Mind Over Media Challenge, kids can use the Internet to share their voice with an authentic audience – transitioning in the process from a digital citizen to a global citizen.

We would love to showcase examples of how you have implemented any or all of our tips. We invite you to leave a comment with your examples – or perhaps additional tips you have found to be useful.

#DigCit in the 2019-2020 School Year

As students and staff settle into the school year, we thought we’d share some of the new resources we’ve gathered over the summer, from attending the ISTE 2019 (International Society for Technology Education) Conference, to Common Sense releasing their new curriculum. Once again digital citizenship is brought to the forefront.

We are honored and excited to have played a role in the development of media literacy resources via our connection with Common Sense Education. An example would be Hoaxes and Fakes – a 9th grade lesson that pulls from our 2016 Saturday Seminar – Digital Kids, Digital Classrooms session on fake news.

While this lesson can be taught as a stand-alone, it can also be integrated into a science, English or history/social studies class to bring an awareness to media literacy as an essential skill for today’s research projects.

Fact vs. Fiction

Fact VS. Fiction: Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in the Age of Fake News includes examples from a variety of educators (elementary through higher ed) who demonstrate how to tackle fake news with students and colleagues. We’ve added an (autographed) copy of Jennifer Lagarde and Darren Hudgins’ book to our digital citizenship library.

We would also like the share a recent video on #deepfakes from U.C. Berkeley Professor Hany Farid:

Farid created this eight minute crash course on detecting “fakery” in photos and videos as a resource for grades 5 through adult.

You might enjoy putting the skills and tips Farid has shared into action by playing the below games:

  • Factitious – A fast-moving game, players swipe left when they think the article in front of them is fake, and right when they believe it’s real (Developed by American University Game Lab)
  • – Game challenges you to see if you can tell a real face from an A.I. fake. (Developed by Jevin West and Carl Bergstrom of the University of Washington)
  • Mind Over Media: Analyzing Contemporary Propaganda – A “user-generated content website” for teaching and learning about propaganda. Students and teachers are invited to upload and share samples of propaganda from their own communities. (Developed by Media literacy advocate and author Renee Hobbs)

When is your brain ready for social media? – Common Sense, KQED and PBS have collaborated on a video to bring awareness to what rights students are giving up when they “Accept” the terms of use for 13+ apps, games, etc. The video could be a great conversation starter on privacy issues.

Common Sense continues to create wonderful resources to bring parents into digital citizenship conversations. We love the new Tech Balance app for parents of 3-8 year-olds. Parents can receive free text message tips about how their family can practice healthy media habits at home. Common Sense’s Research section is continually updated with “reliable, independent data on children’s use of media and technology and the impact it has on their physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development.”

Tech Balance

If you’ve found any new resources over the summer for us to take a look at, please reach out via comments below.

Wishing everyone a great start to the new school year.

Social Media, Cyberbullying and the Role of the Bystander – Change Is Coming

Throughout history, the role of the bystander has been attributed to inciting countless bad things. Today, bystanders are involved in most cyberbullying incidents – with no consequences for their actions or lack of action. Change is coming. We recently attended a Parent Night presentation at Joseph Kerr Middle School (JKMS) from the Organization for Social Media Safety (SMS). We were happy to meet some of the parents, PTA members, JKMS staff and leadership students in attendance.

Joseph Kerr Middle School Social Media Safety Parent Night

Ed Peisner, a father, who founded SMS in 2017, opened his presentation with a short video to explain the organization’s mission.

In response to the 2017 vicious, debilitating attack on his son Jordan, which was filmed by the attacker’s friend and then uploaded to social media (Snapchat), Ed took action. In addition to forming the SMS, he dedicated himself to working with public policy. Within the year, and in collaboration with California Assemblymember Matt Dababneh, Ed spearheaded the passing of AB 1542, AKA Jordan’s Law. The law makes it a criminal offense to deliberately record an attack for the purpose of posting it on social media, and, in some cases, the person filming and posting the video (bystanders) could also be charged.

Ed Peisner from The Organization for Social Media Safety

Peisner views AB 1542 as a step forward for change. But he’s not stopping there. He is currently working on “groundbreaking social media safety legislation at the state level and with local school boards on enhancing social media safety policies.”

In Jordan’s case, only the perpetrator, who did not even know Jordan, was charged with a crime.  The bystanders, including the young woman partnering with the perpetrator to film the attack, were not charged. Typically the perpetrators commit the act of bullying/cyberbullying and recording/posting to social media for the purpose of gaining “likes”, more important to them than the consequences of their actions.  Without the bystanders, the attack on Jordan would likely not have happened. It is because of bystanders that history all too often repeats itself.

We recommend visiting the SMS website and signing up for their newsletter. We’re also following the organization on Facebook and Twitter to help keep on top of the ever-changing social media issues that impact the lives and safety of our students and their families.

We look forward to next year’s student rally at JKMS with Ed Peisner and enthusiastically support the work and goals of SMS:

SMS is the nation’s first non-profit that serves as a consumer protection organization focused solely on social media safety. SMS protects families from all social media-related dangers including cyberbullying, violence, hate speech, human trafficking, and propaganda through innovative educational programming, legislative and regulatory advocacy, and technology development.” 

Cyberbullying Prevention – 5 Things Parents Can Do
  • Help your child be an upstander — not a bystander. Children are hesitant to get involved, in case the bully turns their sights on them. But there are ways to allow your child to work behind the scenes to reach out to the victim, get an adult involved, and prevent more cruel behavior.
  • Teach your child empathy. Nothing drives home a point faster than walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. If children truly understand what someone else is going through, they’re less likely to bully someone — or passively witness others being bullied.
  • Help children understand the line between funny and cruel. Children’s online communication is often purposely ambiguous or accidentally cruel — both of which can lead to misunderstandings. If drama starts brewing, ask your child to call or speak face to face with his/her friend to clear it up.
  • Make sure they talk to someone (even if it’s not you). As children enter the middle school years, their circle of friends and trusted adults widens. Children need a responsible adult to confide in — their school counselor, their music teacher, even the parent of a friend. Talk to your children about who they can go to if trouble is brewing.
  • Show your child how to stop cyberbullying. Tell children not to respond or retaliate. Not feeding the bully can stop the cycle. And — if anything does happen — save the evidence.

Source: Common Sense

Top Social Media Safety Tips
  • Keep your social media pages on private. Double check they are on private.
  • Turn off geo-tagging on your social media posts.
  • Do not let your teen “friend” people they do not directly know. Teens should NEVER make plans to meet someone they met on social media.
  • Report inappropriate content (bullying, hate speech, obscenity) to the social media platform AND block the poster, while still saving the evidence.

Source: Organization for Social Media Safety (SMS)

For more cyberbullying and social media information and resources, please visit the cyberbullying  and social media 101 pages of our website.

KAMS #DigCit Parent Outreach

In the #DigCit spotlight …

KAMS Instagram

Source: Instagram @albianims

Parent outreach is an essential component of an effective digital citizenship program. Each year, we ask all EGUSD Digital Citizenship Site Coordinators/schools to include a parent component in their annual Digital Citizenship Implementation Plans. Yesterday we had the pleasure of seeing first-hand how Katherine L. Albiani Middle School (KAMS) staff are involving parents in discussions on positive and safe uses of social media.

Katherine Albiani Middle School Students at ICanHelp Assembly

Kim Karr leads #ICanHelp Assembly – Source:


Katherine Albiani Middle School Students at ICanHelp Assembly

#ICanHelp Assembly – Source:

As a follow-up to KAM’s Wednesday #ICANHELP student assembly, Principal Brie Bajar and Activities Director Donna McNeel hosted yesterday morning’s Parent Talk Coffee Hour. During this highly-interactive discussion, parents were provided with a recap of the assembly and an opportunity to ask questions and share concerns about their own children’s use of social media. All who were present clearly enjoyed the combination of relevant, timely information and the warm humor included in the #DigCit Parent Talk.

Katherine Albiani Middle School Students at ICanHelp Assembly

#ICanHelp Assembly – Source:

The KAMS event complements Common Sense Media’s recently released Social Media, Social Life: Teens Reveal Their Experiences, which “sheds a light on teens’ changing social media habits and why some kids are more deeply affected by — and connected to — their digital worlds. The report is a nationally representative survey of more than 1,000 kids age 13 to 17.” The report tracks changes from 2012 to today, depicting how teens’ social media use continues to change over time. Click here to read the full report.

We would like to recognize the KAMS community for “leading by example” by awarding them with our first EGUSD Digital Citizenship badge. Congratulations!


If you have examples of digital citizenship leadership and best practices from your school, please let us know by leaving a comment or contacting us through email ( and We look forward to awarding more Digital Citizenship badges throughout the school year.


Keeping your kids safe online this summer

Summer break is already here for some and fast approaching for others. With school being out and students spending more free time online and on their mobile devices, it’s important to be aware of ongoing risks in the cyber world. In addition to cyberbullying and exposure to inappropriate content, children need an awareness that threats exist – predators looking to make connections online and offline and, even more common, cyber criminals hoping to steal personal information.

Group of kids at school out for summer

As summer vacation kicks off, the Department of Homeland Security encourages you to share these online safety tips with your children:

  1. Don’t share too much information.
    Create a list of things your kids should never post or share online – like their birthday and year, full name, address, and phone number – and make sure they understand why it is important to keep this information private.
  2. Be careful about what you post.
    The internet isn’t private. Once your kids share a post, picture, or video, they can’t control how others will use it, and it can never be permanently deleted. Teach them be thoughtful and cautious in what they post and share online.
  3. Keep your location private.
    Many apps, networks, and devices have geo-tagging features which broadcast your location. This information could lead a stalker directly to your kids, so check that these features are turned off.
  4. Protect your password.
    Show your kids how to create strong passwords and make sure they know to never share them with anyone (except their parents or a trusted adult).

Beach and Mobile Phone

Speaking of vacation – below are a few more tips on being mindful of what you share when it comes to your trips and travels.

Vacation time should be for relaxing and spending time with friends and loved ones. Consider modeling some device free behavior. Do you really need to be checking your phone or tablet constantly? By implementing device free time, you are sending a message to your children that your time with them is more valuable than whatever text messages or status updates might be happening in the background.

Avoid posting details of your family vacation. Don’t post dates and locations for the entire world to see, and make sure your children don’t do so either.

Discourage “checking-in” and geo-tagging. Although “fun,” checking in at certain locations on Facebook or other social networks could expose your home and family to risk. Remind your children to turn off any geo-tracking tools, and avoid “checking in”.

Cyberbullying doesn’t end with the school year. Cyberbullies can troll your children at anytime. Changes in behavior may indicate that your child is a victim. Notice any behavior that seems unusual? Is your child no longer wanting to be online or is constantly online day and night? These could be potential warning signs that all is not well in your child’s cyber world. Talk to them.

Children are more likely to meet online friends in person during the summer.
This may not always be such a bad idea, if handled correctly. Together with your children, make sure the following rules are adhered to:

  • Your permission and involvement are vital. Be present.
  • Any initial meet-up should be held in a public place that you have selected together.
  • If you have a chance to speak with parents, do so before the meeting.
  • Trust your instincts. If anything doesn’t feel right – cancel the meet-up.

Open discussions about what your kids encounter in their real/online lives are very important to have. Let them know that if they have made mistakes – big or small – they can come to you no matter what. We can’t change the cyber world that our kids now live in, but we can help them navigate it. Social media is a gateway to their friends. Back in the day (pre-internet times), children spent hours playing outside, as well as chatting with friends on the house phone into the wee hours – times have changed.  Children now connect with each other via popular apps – Instagram, Snapchat and It’s a fun way for them to “hangout” within the comforts of home and also provides you with a break from shuttling them all over town.

Summer can also provide opportunities to learn more about the apps your children are using and to meet and connect with industry leaders on Internet Safety topics. We’ve already marked our calendars for the June 14 STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ Twitter Chat;

Stop Think Connect Twitter Chat Invitation

STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ is a global online safety awareness campaign that helps all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online by encouraging people to be more vigilant about practicing safe, online habits. In celebration of Internet Safety Month, STOP. THINK. CONNECT. ™ invites you to join their upcoming Twitter Chat to learn some tips for a fun, cyber safe summer.

#ChatSTC Twitter Chat: Top Tips for a Fun, Cyber Safe Summer
Thursday, June 14,  Noon PDT
June doesn’t just mark the beginning of summer – it’s also Internet Safety Month! School’s out, connected devices are in! While the internet offers opportunities to learn, socialize and explore, it also comes with potential dangers. In this #ChatSTC we’ll share easy, actionable tips and advice you can use right now to keep yourself and the young people in your life safe online all summer long.

Enjoy your summer and please be sure to share with us any additional resources, as well as takeaways from the above information. We welcome your comments and recommendations. We would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the important role parents/guardians play in guiding their children (our students) in becoming positive, contributing and connected digital citizens.

Digital Citizenship Week: Oct. 16-20

Digital Citizenship Week - October 16-20

All of our EGUSD Digital Citizenship Site Coordinators have been busy submitting their site implementation plans for the new school year and it’s refreshing to see changes that incorporate some of the new Common Sense Media and Google Be Internet Awesome materials we blogged about last month. We are looking forward to showcasing what our schools do to celebrate National Bullying Prevention Month and Digital Citizenship Week. Below we’ve listed some resources to ignite conversations and actions. We invite you to explore something new during Digital Citizenship Week.

California Department of Education

The California Department of Education, in collaboration with Common Sense Media and the California State legislature, will celebrate Digital Citizenship Week October 16-20, 2017. This celebration will continue ongoing efforts to teach students how to make safe, smart, and ethical decisions in the digital world. 

This years’ topics include:

  1. Evaluating Sources/Fake News
  2. Social media
  3. Smart Device use
  4. Positive online presence

The CDE’s weekly plan of events for Digital Citizenship Week provides links to Common Sense Media Lessons for educators and family resource/activity links in both English and Spanish. You can download the Digital Citizenship Weekly Plan from their website. 

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Educational Resources, Activities for 2017 CDE Digital Citizenship Week

“More than ever, it is crucial that our students and their families have the knowledge and tools to safely navigate the digital world we live in today,” Torlakson said. “The CDE and our partners have put together a curriculum of instruction addressing online security, privacy, cyberbullying, sourcing, verifying news sources, and other ways to make smart, safe, and ethical digital choices.”

Common Sense Media – Get Dig Cit-Ready

Common Sense Media rolled out their Get Dig Cit-Ready Campaign for Digital Citizenship Week a few days ago.

“Internet safety? Creative copyright? Fake news? With so many topics on your “to teach” list that go above and beyond the core curriculum, it’s essential to have a game plan.”

Common Sense Media Get Dig Cit-Ready Graphic

Share Your #DigCitMoment

There’s a chance for a #digcitmoment in your classroom every single day – Common Sense Media invites you to submit your story!


Educators – Are you following #DigCit on Twitter?

Following Twitter hashtags such as #DigCit will bring up collective resources and conversations. If you would like to delve into digital citizenship issues via a Professional Learning Network (PLN), Twitter is a great starting point.

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)


#ISTEChat is back Oct 19th! Join Dr. Marialice BFX Curran to discuss the new #digcit with @mbfxc and @digcitkids!


Share the ISTE Infographic: Citizenship in the Digital Age on your classroom blog or website. See how the characteristics of a good citizen parallel — and differ from — those of a good digital citizen.

Download the ISTE – free digital citizenship guide
9 ways to enhance students’ safety, creativity and empathy.
Note: You will need to fill out a form to get your free guide.

CUE SF: Digital Citizenship Educator Night at Clever!

Network with other educators passionate about preparing our students with Digital Citizenship skills from around the Bay Area.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
4:30 PM – 6:30 PM PDT
1263 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

“Join CUE SF for their Digital Citizenship Educator Night at Clever and learn about an exciting lineup of tools and resources to prepare educators for Digital Citizenship Week!  In partnership with Clever and San Francisco Unified School District’s Department of Technology, CUE SF will be hosting resources and demos from Common Sense Education, Nearpod, iCanHelp, Everfi and even some fun videos and resources from Flocabulary!”

Register through Eventbrite

Stand Up Speak Out! Against Bullying

Interested in attending something more local to the Elk Grove/Sacramento area?

Stand Up Speak Out Event Poster

October is National Bullying Month and Cyberbullying is a key component. You are invited to join multiple districts, including EGUSD, at the 5th Annual Youth Rally. The previous year’s youth rallies took place on the steps of the California State Capitol; this year the event has moved to the California Museum – Unity Center.

Stand Up Speak Out! 5th Annual Youth Rally
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
CA Museum – Unity Center
1020 O Street, Downtown Sacramento

Download the Flyer

Know Your Apps

Video chat and anonymous apps are being used by most teens with access to a mobile device. Have you heard of Housechat, Sarahah or TBH?
Visit the EGUSD Digital Citizenship Social Media 101 page to familiarize yourself with the apps our students/children are using. Let us know if you have an app to add – because it’s difficult to keep up as new ones arrive in the app stores weekly.

EGUSD Digital Kids, Digital Classrooms Saturday Seminar

We are currently working on developing a workshop for our EGUSD Digital Kids, Digital Classrooms – Saturday Seminar on January 27, 2018, that focuses on Teaching Media Literacy – Evaluating Sources/Fake News. We look forward to this opportunity to share resources, best practices and frequently asked questions on a very current topic in digital citizenship. We agree with the stance that CA State Legislature has recently crafted regarding the importance of media literacy.

“Media literacy means the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and use media and encompasses the foundational skills that lead to digital citizenship.”

Be on the lookout for our workshop once registration opens.

We realize this is a lengthy post, but with so many great resources, we wanted to post them in one place. As always, if you have additional resources to share, please leave a comment below.

Parents, Teens and Digital Monitoring

The Pew Research Center came out with a new article yesterday, “Parents, Teens and Digital Monitoring,” explaining the different ways that parents monitor their teens’ digital behavior – with research showing that the use of parental control software seems to be less common than it used to be. The findings were based on a national survey of parents of teens ages 13 to 17, conducted Sept. 25-Oct. 9, 2014, and Feb. 10-March 16, 2015.

It does take some work to find the right balance for your family – allowing children to have the freedom to explore, while at the same time, providing enough parental guidance to make sure they don’t get themselves into unsafe situations and to have a plan in place if they do.


As students step up and out onto the Internet, the district wants to ensure that they understand the need to think before they post – to treat others with respect, to build and maintain a positive digital footprint, to protect their online privacy and the privacy of others, and to respect intellectual property boundaries – but it’s also important to set some boundaries and continue having conversations about these topics at home.

According to PEW survey results, when it comes to monitoring their children’s digital use and interactions, parents tend to take a hands-on approach to monitoring what their children do:

Most parents check what their teen does online and on social media and talk with them about acceptable online behavior

The survey results are encouraging, as a hands-on approach is likely to be more effective. Please take some time to read the article, especially if you are looking for ways as parents to talk to your teens about acceptable online behavior and creating a positive digital footprint.

Parents can play a key role in their child’s safe and responsible use of social media. In addition to findings by PEW, we also recommend a lesson we learned from local social media expert and founder of Above the Fray, Thomas Dodson, on the importance of keeping communication open between parent and child. Thomas recommends resisting the knee-jerk temptation to demand their child hand over their cell phone for an impromptu inspection. Instead, Thomas recommends telling a child he/she has 24 hours to remove any inappropriate messaging or materials before sharing with the parent. We liked that this approach promotes children and parents sharing the responsibility and having open discussions on what is and isn’t appropriate online.


Too often when parents take away a child’s access to social media, the child simply finds another way to access it. (Create a new account, use an app that hides apps, buy a “burner” phone or borrow one from others.)

Again, we can’t stress enough the importance of parents guiding their children across the digital highway. As always, if you have something to add to this conversation or another article to share, please let us know in comments below.

Tips for Keeping Children Safe on New Devices

Photo of teens on laptop

With the holiday season approaching, parents may be interested in checking out a few tips for keeping kids safe on new devices, such as the latest smart phones, game systems and tablets. Below are a few suggestions:

  • establish ground rules for phone, online game access and use
  • make sure your children have privacy settings enabled on all of their devices for gaming or social media sites/apps they use
  • turn off location services on smart phones so chidren can’t “check-in” or display their location in photos or on social media websites
  • educate yourself on the latest and greatest games and apps and discuss with your children which ones are appropriate*
  • if you feel monitoring your children’s actions through parental controls is necessary, a good place to start is with your cell phone and/or Internet service provider*

* To learn more about apps children are using, visit Social Media 101 under the Parent Resource section of EGUSD’s Digital Citizenship website. You will also find helpful information links and resources on the Parental Controls page.

Facebook now allows teens to go “public” with content

Teen Facebook users ages 13-17 now have the option to share photos, updates and comments with the general public on Facebook.

According to Facebook’s latest news update, teens are among the most active users of social media, ranging from civic engagement topics to their thoughts on a new movie. They want to be heard. In an attempt to appeal to the declining number of teens using Facebook, they’ve changed their privacy policy.  As of October 16, 2013, teens ages 13 through 17 now have the choice to post publicly on Facebook. All though the default when setting up a new account will now be “Friends only, ” teens now have the option to change that to “Public” under the new privacy settings.

When teens choose “Public” in the audience selector, they’ll see a reminder that the post can be seen by anyone, not just people they know, with an option to change the post’s privacy setting.

Facebook Privacy Screenshot
Source: Facebook

And if teens choose to continue posting publicly, they will get an additional reminder.

Facebook Privacy Screenshot
Source: Facebook

What this means for parents:

  • Strangers and companies collecting data for advertisers and marketing companies will be able to see select posts.
  • Strangers will also be able to “follow” teens they don’t know and see their public posts in the main news feed.
  • If teens change the audience of a post to share an update publicly, unless they use the audience selector to change their privacy setting back to “Friends,” all future posts will be public.
  • Facebook’s “Follow” feature now lets teens share posts, pictures and links with people they’re not friends with. Previously, minors were not able to turn on the “Follow” feature.

While minors can now opt to post updates, links and photos publicly — Facebook continues to protect some searchable information about minors, including their contact information, school and birthday.

Facebook is simply using the same privacy model that other competing social media sites (such as Twitter) already have in use. It’s important to continue to be vigilant when it comes to understanding the implications of privacy policy changes to any social media site.

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