New Facebook Search Opens Kids To Public - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

New Facebook Search Opens Kids To Public

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

Parents beware: your kids could be more vulnerable than ever when they log-on to Facebook. The social media site's new search feature makes it easier for people to find your kids online.

For example, searching "Quincy Senior High" and "students"gives a list of Facebook users who list the school on their profile.

Stephanie Flaiz Miller is friends with her son on Facebook, but that hasn't always been the case.

 "I blocked my mom before and she got really mad so I had to add her back," said her son Chris Clay, a 9th grader at Quincy Junior High School.

She said she just wants to know what's going on."It's a way for me to keep tabs on what he posts or what anybody posts to him that he comments on," she said. 

And Quincy Junior High School Assistant Principal Rick Owsley agrees that knowing what your kids are doing online is the best way for parents to protect their kids. 

"My advice to parents is that they monitor their usage so that we know their passwords and we can access their accounts and that their students will know that their parents will frequently do that," said Owsley

 Owsley said sometimes Facebook issues at home follow kids to school, so they brought in an Illinois State Trooper earlier this school year to give kids information about social media safety.

The officer gave tips like "Not disclosing private information, not engaging in conversations with people that you don't know and trying to have some reassurances that when you're electronically communicating with someone that you know who that is," said Owsley.

Samantha DuPont's mom has her Facebook password, and checks it occasionally but she says she would make the same choices even if she wasn't monitored.

 "I wouldn't feel comfortable with having someone on Facebook that they can see what I'm doing and my activity," DuPont said.

But many kids don't make those same decisions and Owsley says parents need to be involved in online activity.

The new search also comes with automatic protections for minors. Under Facebook's rules, any user 13 to 18 can only interact with friends of friends. And they can't get random direct messages.

But, that only works if minors are truthful about their ages, another reason why parents need to pay attention to their child's account.

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