At the end of 2019, Facebook recorded 2.50 billion active monthly users worldwide. Facebook accounts for 45% of all social media visits on the Internet. Seven in ten U.S. adults use Facebook with the average user spending 38 minutes a day on the platform. Facebook also owns Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. All total, 2.26 billion people of all ages use one of these Facebook family sites daily.
Child Predators On Facebook
Facebook’s minimum account age is 13. Online sexual predators lure young victims by first developing trust with them through frequent interaction. Once trust is established, it is easy for a predator to go from trust to tricking, manipulating, and threatening children, youth, and young adults, in a sexually explicit way. One convicted child molester reported, “Any attempt to gain favor, connection, is a part of that grooming process…You’re gaining their trust on a sexual nature, and that opens the door to a sexual offense.”
Lifewire.com offers these important Facebook Security Measures to protect children, youth, and young adults from online child predators:
Don’t Open a Facebook Account if younger than 13. The teenage brain is not mature enough to process and detect inappropriate manipulation and threats. Facebook will terminate accounts, confiscating all pictures and content, if it is determined the user is under 13.
Don’t use real first or middle names when setting up an account. Facebook allows a nickname to be used in place of legal first and middle names.
Set Strong Privacy Settings. Especially tighten security settings with sharing pictures and profile information. Visual images give child predators a way to connect with young users by complimenting or referring to posted photographs.
Do not post contact information or location in profile or in posts. This includes sharing with friends. True friends will already have access to this information. Do not accept friend invitations from people you do not know.
Create a strong password and change it often. Do not use Facebook password anywhere else online. Never share login information with anyone else. Log out of Facebook when done using the site, especially when accessing on a shared computer.
Set up Facebook Security Checkup. Facebook Security Checkup reviews and adds additional security to a Facebook account. It also sends alerts for suspicious activities.
Planning for and creating a secure social media presence on Facebook for children and youth, helps to insure stronger protection against child predators using the site.