Facebook has just announced two key privacy setting changes for users 13 to 17 years old:
(1) They can go “public” (previously, they could only “share” their “content” with “friends”)
(2) New profiles automatic privacy settings are for “friends” only (previously, it was for “friends of friends”)
What does that mean? “That means strangers, and companies collecting data for advertisers and marketing companies, will be able to see select posts.” Thanks, CNN.
There are a lot of reasonable concerns, but the bottom line is that Facebook’s interest in your public information is to optimizing their advertising, monetizing your internet identity and making money. Like any corporation. You know that it’s a corporation, right?
“They’re hitting kids from a neurological weak spot. Kids don’t have the same kind of impulse control that adults do,” journalist Emily Bazelon told the New York Times. “It’s risky to have teenagers posting publicly. The kids who might be the most likely to do that might not have the best judgment about what they post.”
It’s true that very young kids out there in the big bad wwworld can get hurt, confused and exploited. But before we raise our pitchforks…
Personally, I’m not crazy about this, but being condescending and calling functional human beings “kids” or, as is bound to happen, not allowing them to use Facebook until they are of some sort of age, is a terrible idea. Why? You might shield them from one route of access for bullies and creeps — or from one way they themselves can nurture their bullyism and creepiness — but when they do get online, you’re going to have a feral child on your hands, someone unable to navigate the “system,” without the new social skills required to manage your digital identity and your social network relationships and without the coping mechanisms required when something with your online presence goes amiss. I’m not giving you parenting advice, dear breeders. I’m just saying. Don’t make internet “naughty.”