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One In Ten Parents Are Secretly Logging Into Their Kids' Facebook Accounts

Forget cybercriminals or data-collecting advertisers. If you’re a teen, the most likely privacy threat to your Facebook account is probably your mother. 

Privacy-focused firm Truste, which certifies websites’ security, posted the results of a survey Monday of more than a thousand parents whose kids are active on Facebook. One potentially surprising statistic: 10% of those parents admitted to “secretly” logging in to their kids Facebook accounts. The study didn’t say how those parents got hold of their kids’ passwords, though simple shoulder-surfing or auto-complete functions on the family PC’s browser might do the trick.

Another 40% of parents say they regularly log in to their teen’s account with his or her permission. Overall, more than a third of parents say they look at their kids’ profile in some form at least ever day, while 85% Facebook-stalk their kids at least once a week.

A large majority of parents told Truste that they wanted an even greater privilege than accessing or spying on their teens” profiles: An override button that would allow them to erase content posted by their children. More than four out of five parents say they want to be able to contact Facebook directly to have material pulled off their kids’ profiles.

In an age of ever-declining self-censorship, parents can be forgiven–and applauded–for closely monitoring their kids’ public online activities and even wanting to wield a “delete” button for some of that content. But actually breaking into your child’s Facebook account, where both public and private data is visible, doesn’t protect their privacy. In fact, with the numbers this survey has turned up, it might just be the most significant social media privacy threat kids face.

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Posted in: News on July 20, 2011 @ 6:27 PM

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