Saturday, 18 September 2010

In reply to – E Safety 5I spotted an article at today entitles E Safety and it got me thinking.

A few years ago, my son who had his own (shared with his younger brother) email address had signed up to a few of the children's internet gaming networks, such as Club Penguin et al.

His Mother and I would occasionally check his email inbox for any nastiest such as ad’s for Viagra and explicit XXX websites, however one day his Mother came across a conversation thread B had been involved in which was obviously not suitable for him.

It was quite scary, since he was being ‘groomed’ by somebody who obviously intended to harm him, either physically or mentally – it really frightened us as parents, and since then he no longer has access to an email address and only accesses websites that have been vetted by us beforehand.  B is 10 now, he was just 8 years old then. 1Recently I have been considering creating on his behalf a Facebook account, since his family is spread far and wide, with some living in Essex, others as far as Scotland.  Since he is almost 11 years old I considered that he is at a point of maturity that would allow him the common sense to act responsibly within the confines of a community such as Facebook, since pretty much every step he could make on FB is open for all his ‘friends’ to see, especially the people he adds as a friend.

However, OllieColeshill’s article got me thinking when he writes

On Facebook and Twitter you can protect your information or statuses/tweets so that people your not friends with or who you have giving permission to follow you can see your information or what you have been writing.

This is true; as his parent I can lock down aspects of Facebook so that only those I consider acceptable can see his activities on Facebook, however have you noticed what king of a minefield Mark Zuckerberg has created with the Facebook Privacy Options?  They are a nightmare.

There are many places that try to simplify the Privacy Options, and explain there different aspects: 4The simple fact that there are so many articles online about all the different (and ever changing) security settings, and attempts to make them easier to understand just goes to show how much of a tangled web these settings are.

With that in mind I have come to the conclusion that B is not old, wise or mature enough to hold a Facebook account… not until he can comprehend the dangers – and the controls available to protect him from the dangers – of using a website that is supposed to bring friends and family closer together.

To that end, I don’t think anybody is old, wise or mature enough for Facebook because frankly, nobody understands how to play with the privacy controls effectively!

As a footnote I would like to say one last thing, B is 10 years old and just a little over one month from his eleventh birthday.  I know he is technically not old enough to hold a Facebook account until he is 13 due to the other minefield that is the Facebook Terms & Conditions of Use, but then again, who understand that 3759 word-load if legalese?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...