Facebook’s Social Privacy Protector: Working towards Better Online Safety

Facebook continues to face heat over privacy concerns for its users. From letting out personal information without users’ knowledge, to recently changing all e-mail addresses to Facebook.com IDs, FB has been facing a lot of flak. Add to this, the rumors about relaxing the age limit to13 years for its users, the flak story continues. Despite controversies, Facebook continues to remain a popular choice for social networking across users of all age groups, all around the world. This includes school-going teenagers. However, there is some good news for worried parents of young Facebook users. Students from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) recently developed an app called Social Privacy Protector (SPP) which can be downloaded free of cost.

While many people are against the practice of permitting children access to social networking sites such as Facebook, there are many children who have active accounts and frequently post photos and information about themselves on their profiles. As more and more school children join Facebook- some even without the knowledge of their parents- they face the risk of cyber-bullying and trolling. Many instances of children harassing their friends have come to light recently. Friends often post unwanted content that sometimes even forces the victim to resort to suicide. Not only this, children could also receive friend requests from potential pedophiles or people who create fake profiles and stalk them online.

Unfortunately, denying them access to Facebook only makes them more rebellious and likely to be a part of it. Counseling children about the potential dangers of adding unknown people on Facebook is essential, though not enough. While Facebook has provided numerous privacy options, children need to be taught how to best use them to keep their online identity secure. Parents can also encourage children to use Facebook under their supervision for ensuring their safety.

Amidst rising reports of kids being subjected to cyber-bullying and victimization, this app has been greeted with a sigh of relief among parents and teachers. The SPP app provides protection at multiple levels and even allows parents to monitor their children’s friend’s list to identify and keep away unknown persons or potential fake profiles. SPP also informs users about suspicious apps that get installed on their Facebook profiles. With SPP, parents can control their kids’ privacy online with just a click and can continuously monitor their kids to use Facebook responsibly.

The app provides an analysis of each friend in the children’s list and provides a score based on the level of connection with each person. Friends who score low have few or no mutual friends or links with the user. They can have restricted access to your child’s personal information, or can even be blocked or unfriend-ed. This app proves useful when you want to keep a closer watch on your children’s social media activities.

Eradicating instances of cyber-bullying and other adverse effects of online activity will require far more concentrated efforts from children and their teachers and parents. However, SPP is possibly a step in the right direction towards keeping children safe online.

 

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