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Parents of Teens & Tweens: Did you Know Your Child Might be Having Secret Conversations Online?

Did you know your child might be having secret conversations online?

Here's how they're doing it and what you can do to spot and stop it.

Facebook is restricted for children under the age of 13 to comply with the U.S.Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). For children under 13, see Messenger for Kids (below)

Key learning:

  1. Facebook is restricted for children under 13
  2. Facebook Messenger for Kids is available for kids 6-12
  3. Facebook Messenger offers Secret Conversations which encrypts both ends of the conversation
  4. Discuss the risks with your child, particularly talking to people they have met online
  5. Remind your child that even though messages disappear, someone can take a screenshot and circulate the content
  6. Remind your child that in the event they are bullied online, Secret Conversations make it more difficult to prove
  7. Keep the conversation open with your child
Facebook offers many great features for connecting and communicating. Here you’ll learn about a feature called Secret Conversations. It is important for you to understand what’s available so you can talk to your child(ren) about the possible risks.

It’s virtually impossible to plug every hole and to prevent all access, and that’s not what we advocate. We support and encourage meaningful conversations where children and families can discuss the possible pitfalls of secret conversations. By keeping the conversation open and offering your child the support and encouragement to navigate these freedoms, hopefully, they will use them responsibly.

Even though secret conversations are set to disappear, it won’t prevent screenshots and other lasting evidence of the conversation. In addition, if your child is bullied during a secret conversation and they didn’t take a screenshot, it becomes more difficult to prove.

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Did you know that Facebook allows you to have secret one-on-one conversations that no one else can see?

You might have your child’s username and password, but unless you are on the device used to launch the conversation, you won’t be able to see it. The participants in the secret conversation will be made aware that you are attempting to access messages from a new device (parent in this case). You can also make a message disappear after a specified period of time.

* Secret conversations works on iPad, iPhone, and Android devices, not on within your browser.

Read this article from Facebook’s Help Center

Secret messages can also be set to disappear. Read this Facebook Help Center Article to learn more

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