We want everyone to feel safe from bullying, harassment, scams, inappropriate content and other cyber dangers when using Facebook and its family of apps. We work with external experts, including a Safety Advisory Board, and gather feedback from our community to develop policies, tools and resources to keep users safe, says Emilar Gandhi- Head of Public Policy, SADC region at Facebook .

We have designed many of our features to remind young people to be aware of who they’re sharing information with, to only accept friend requests from people they know, and to know how to protect themselves online. In South Africa we work with partners like Digify Africa who they launched Ilizwe Lam with in 2018. This is a programme aimed at training teens on the importance of Internet safety. We know that the use of social media by youth is different to adults, and that is why we believe programmes like Ilizwe Lam are so important.

Parents also have a critical role to play in educating teenagers about online safety.
Here are a few tips on engaging with youth and discussions their online safety.

By Emilar Gandhi- Head of Public Policy, SADC region at Facebook

1. Under 13s are not allowed on Facebook or Instagram

Facebook and Instagram require everyone to be 13 years old before they can create an account (in some countries, this age limit may be higher dependent on local laws), and encourage parents to have these conversations with their teens

2. Let your teenager know that the same rules apply online as offline.

Your teenager can avoid most potential dangers and concerns online by simply stopping to think before they submit a post or accepting a friend request. Teach them to think before they engage with strangers online.

3. Engage early

Research shows that many children as young as six have access to smartphones or tablets. Talk to them about technology, before they are on social media.

4. Help them to check and manage their privacy settings

Once your teen has set up a social media account, they can use Facebook privacy settings to control who can friend them, who can see their posts, and if they share details such as their location by default. This can help them to control their exposure to bullying, harassment and other potential concerns.

5. Show them the tools they can use to filter content and people from their feeds.

Instagram offers many flexible tools to keep teens safe online – keep them informed about the options. We’ve rolled out keyword filtering, bullying filtering and sensitivity screens, for example. People can also restrict unwanted interactions on their profiles and easily report accounts, comments and posts for bullying.

For more information, parents can visit the Facebook Safety Centre, Facebook Parents Portal, Instagram Together and Parent’s Guide to Instagram.