Real “Friends" Are Better

May 28, 2014

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Almost everyone with a Facebook account has received a friend request from a stranger. Before letting it go to your head, consider that they may be a scammer, stalker, phisher, or predator. Some clues that may give them away are:  few-to-none uploaded photos, few friends, and a lack of basic information provided on their profile.

However, there are those that actually appear real.  Consider the case of Mckenzie, a 20-year old Utah college student. Mckenzie was an identity created by Heather. Instead of blocking Facebook altogether, Heather decided to illustrate the dangers of Facebook to her children. Within days of creating the fake account, Heather’s creation, Mckenzie, had nearly 500 “friends.” Within weeks, there were nearly 800. Mckenzie obviously knew none of them.

Throughout the experiment, Heather reviewed Mckenzie’s messages and her newly acquired friends’ profiles. After some time, Heather admitted that the content on Mckenzie’s “friends’” profiles was too indecent to review. 

In addition to her own profile, Heather asked a local police officer to join her experiment. Officer Hansen created a profile posing as a 15-year old girl. It wasn’t long before he started getting dozens of friend requests and messages from older men.

From their experiment, they solidified their concerns that “being friends” isn’t a stranger’s only motive.  If you or your children are accepting social network “friend” requests from random users, you are virtually allowing anyone to monitor your activities and personal information.

Having a lot of friends is a tempting social standing for any adolescent, but Officer Hansen strongly suggests that children (and adults) should only “friend" those whom they know for heightened Internet safety.

Parents can do their part by reviewing and controlling privacy settings on their teen’s account, talking openly with their child, and staying involved with their teen’s social media accounts.

Net Nanny Social provides an easy way for parents to access and remain involved with a teen’s social media activity by monitoring friend requests, posts, comments, etc.

For more information on Facebook safety, visit: