Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

Facebook has massive appeal. It allows us to stay in touch with friends, re-connect with people with whom we’ve lost contact, communicate with relatives, be aware of the needs of others and so much more that is good and healthy.

But Facebook has a dark side. It has become a place for child predators to group. Child predators look for places where children can be found and this technology has given them a breeding ground. With millions of children on Facebook, an investigative report on WND.com found Facebook groups with titles like Kidsex Young, Preteen Lesbians, Love Little Kids and more.

And even though efforts are made with photo software designed to filter illegal child abuse images, it doesn’t stop the predators from using Facebook as a platform. WND.com determined that the sites are being used to trade and post child pornography.

Parents, what can you do to protect your kids from pedophiles who may pose as their “friend?”

1) Follow the guidelines. Children under 13 are not supposed to have their own Facebook pages.

2) Friend your child so you can supervise his or her account. Because of the dangers involved, this is not a place you want to give your child complete privacy. You pay the bill for the Internet. Predators often pose as friends.

3) Reconsider allowing posting of photos. Pedophiles can take them and use them on pornography sites. Once the photo is public, you have no control.

4) Don’t give a young child a mobile smart phone.  Facebook has mobile apps that pose a risk.

5) Customize the settings. Do what you can to protect if you give them an account. Use the family’s email address.

6) Keep the computer in a public space in your home and monitor usage.

7) Teach your child to NEVER share private information.

8) Teach your child to ignore anyone who is not a personal friend that the family knows. “Friend” has a different meaning than a real friend.

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