Tag Archives: social media

Instagram Adds Tagging to Photos – Change Your Child’s Settings to Avoid Unwanted Public Tags

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Instagram released an update to their app today featuring new “tagging” functionality. Dubbed “Photos of You”, the new feature is much like the photo tagging function on Facebook, allowing Instagram users to tag photos of themselves and other users. All of the photos you’re tagged in will show up in a new tab on your Instagram profile.

This is important for parents to understand because it means your kids may be tagged by others and those photos will (by default) automatically show up on your kid’s “Photos of You” tab. Now, if you’re already on top of it, your kid’s Instagram account should be set up as private (if not, here’s how). And if your account is set as private, only people who you accept as followers will get to see all the great “selfies” your child rushes to tag. BUT, if your child’s account is set to public, then any photo they tag of themselves AND any photo ANYONE ELSE tags of them will show up and be visible to the public.

Fortunately, Instagram allows you to control whether your tagged photos are added automatically or manually to your “Photos of You” tab. Unfortunately, they set the default to “Add Automatically”. So here’s a quick run-down on how to see the new feature, and how to change the settings to “Add Manually.”

Once you update your app, this is where you’ll find the new “Photos of You” tab:

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And, once you’re on the “Photos of You” tab, this is the button you push to edit your settings:

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In the settings area, simply select the “Add Manually” option and Instagram will now ask your permission before posting any photos tagged as you:

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For more information about “Photos of You” functionality, visit Instagram’s support page on the topic.

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6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Using Ask.fm

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Is anonymous posting encouraged?  Anyone – a classmate, colleague, ex-boyfriend, pedophile, next door neighbor, that creepy guy at the mall – anyone can post a question on your page, anonymously.

Are your questions/answers public?  There are no privacy settings on this site. ALL your “answers” are available for anyone with internet access (2.4 BILLION people!) to view at their leisure.

Are your answers permanent?  Those fun, goofy questions you’re answering may well come back to haunt you later in life (think of your future children, employers, spouse, the media if you ever become famous). You might also be surprised to learn that most web pages are “cached” or archived daily and old versions can be searched at any time (http://archive.org/web/web.php). So even if you “delete” an answer, it’s likely cached somewhere for life.

Is the site run by two Russian guys in the Republic of Latvia?  Do you really want to share your personal “answers”, connect your Facebook account, or trust your data with a company run in a former Russian province you probably can’t even point out on a map?

Were upwards of 6 suicides allegedly tied to bullying on the site?  This news article outlines the awful stories of several teens who were allegedly hurt so bad via the site that they ultimately took their own lives: http://bit.ly/10sLHAz.

Is it a magnet for sick, twisted, vulgar individuals?  Because it’s anonymous, people who have nothing but awful, hurtful, obscene things to say are drawn to it like flies to manure. Who wants to converse with gutless scum like that?

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Ask.fm – The ugly, anonymous, vulgar, bullying social site that kids are joining at an alarming rate.

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So my wife follows a slew of middle school girls on Instagram and Facebook. Recently she noticed a new site called Ask.fm popping up on several “about me” sections. We started doing a little research and what we learned is VERY alarming. To the point where I immediately blocked the entire ask.fm domain using our Open DNS and Windows Family Safety filters (read this post for more info re: installing good Internet filters on your home network).

What’s so alarming you ask? If you haven’t already, take a quick peak at the small sampling of “questions” and answers on a random 15 year old girl’s Ask.fm page in the image above. These are the PG-13 examples. I literally had to cut and paste to avoid sharing the extremely vulgar posts interspersed throughout the 800+ questions this one girl answered.

At first glance the site seems innocent enough. It’s a simple place to ask a fun or interesting question and get back immediate answers. However, the problem centers around the site’s decision to allow anonymous posts –  letting any malicious, horny, vindictive, or twisted individual post WHATEVER they want on your page. This could be a friend from school, an ex-boyfriend, a jealous peer, or an incarcerated pedophile. There is no way to tell who is posting what.

The site claims more than 40 million users and is run by Russian entrepreneurs based in Latvia. It’s also been named in various lawsuits associated with upwards of 6 teen suicides allegedly due to aggressive bullying on the site.

Because the site is so new, most parents are clueless. Please take a moment to share this post with other parents so we can address the dangers with our children before they are needlessly hurt by it (or worse). And, please take a moment to sit down with your kids to be sure they understand the dangers themselves. More than anything else teens need to know how to identify dangerous sites like these themselves – to be able to see through the hype and to recognize a concerning site on their own. Use this new knowledge as an opportunity to educate on the ways to do just that.

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Facebook Family Contract

In our home we have an informal agreement with our daughters when it comes to Facebook. It goes something like this:

  1. Minimum 13 years old
  2. We always have the password
  3. No geo-tagging or checking-in to locations
  4. No public posts
  5. We reserve the right to veto friends
  6. We promise not to embarrass you too bad (because you MUST friend us)

I recently ran across one family’s formal written Facebook contract.  If your family does not yet have a Facebook agreement of some sort in place, you should check it out.  It’s pretty detailed and provides a great starting point for any family figuring out how to handle teens and Facebook.  It includes:

  • General ground rules for parents and kids
  • Non-negotiable rules for kids
  • Commitment by parents
  • Access and curfew

Click here to download a PDF copy for your own family to consider.

 

What rules does your family have in place for Facebook?

 

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Who Sees What on Facebook?


Figuring out who sees what on Facebook is an ever-changing art form. Facebook’s platform seems to always be changing, and keeping up can be a very tough task for most kids, let alone their parents. But understanding the innuendoes of Facebook’s privacy settings can help you ensure your teen’s photos, comments, etc are not accidentally being broadcast beyond their defined network of friends.

To help illustrate, let me share a quick story of a colleague. This co-worker, with whom I am friends on Facebook, was enjoying a fun vacation in the Bahamas with his two tween daughters. They were taking photos of the trip, including shots of his girls in their swimwear. His girls posted the photos on Facebook and tagged their dad in several of them.  Since his girls’ Facebook photo privacy settings were marked as “Friends of Friends”, every time they tagged their dad, all of his friends were seeing the photos of him and his daughters in their news feeds. When I asked him about his trip, he was surprised that I (and all his co-workers) were seeing these photos. It was definitely not his intention, nor his daughters, that everyone at Dad’s work would see his vacation pool photos in their Facebook news feeds.

 

The key to understanding Facebook’s privacy settings is paying attention to the tiny icons displayed next to the date/time stamp on every post. There are 4 specific icons to look for.  Here are what each of them mean:

[Globe] Public (or Everyone)
Anybody, regardless if they are your friend or not, can see these posts.

[Silhouette of 3 Heads] Friends of Friends
All your Facebook friends and ALL OF THEIR FRIENDS can see these posts. Keep in mind, that many of your friends may have hundreds or even thousands of Facebook friends. Friends from work, school, fraternities, etc. Grandma may prefer this setting as this will let all her friends see the cute photos of her grandkids, but beware that selecting this option is not that much different from selecting “Public”.

[Silhouette of 2 Heads] Friends
Only your Facebook friends can see these posts. If someone shares a post you’ve set as “Friends”, only their friends who are also your Facebook friends will see the contents of this post.

[Gear Circle] Custom
This icon indicates that the post privacy settings have been customized. That it could be any combination of the options above. Perhaps the post was set as “Friends”, but with a certain list of friends excluded. Or, it could be set to “Public” with another parameter added. Therefore, when you see a “gear” icon next to any post you’re thinking about sharing or commenting on, you should always treat that post as a public one.

 

I highly recommend taking the time to read the following much more detailed posts on Facebook security and privacy settings. They include step-by-step illustrated instructions to help you ensure the posts of you and your kids are only being seen by those you specifically want to see them.

Facebook Security – Are Your Comments/Likes Public or Private?

How to Manage Facebook Privacy Options

 

 

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