Facebook is a social networking site that gives us the opportunity to connect with family members and friends, but parents may view a teenager's use of it as a distraction. In some cases, parents may be concerned about a teenager's safety. While you may not be able to delete your child's account, you can take steps to make your child's Internet presence a safer one.
Removing a Teenager's Facebook Account
Children under the age of 13 should not have Facebook accounts, according to the Facebook Terms of Service. In some countries, such as Spain or South Korea, children must be 14 or older to use Facebook. Parents can fill out a form to report underage children on Facebook. After receiving a report, Facebook staff will investigate and delete the profile if the account appears to belong to someone younger than 13. While parents will not be notified if the account is deleted, you should not be able to find the profile when you browse on Facebook again. If your child is 13 or older, you will not be able to remove the account by reporting it.
Protecting Your Child's Privacy Rights
Parents may be concerned if others post images, videos or other information about their children. If your child is under 13, you can report any media that you feel violates the privacy of your child by filling out Facebook's "Report a Privacy Rights Violation" form. If your child is 13 or older, talk with her about making the request herself. Facebook may also use your child's photos in advertisements. If your child is under 18, fill out the form on Facebook's "Request Help with Your Child's Ads Settings" to prevent Facebook from using your child's media in ads.
Encouraging Your Teen to Delete His Account
If you want a teenager 13 or older to delete his account, ask him why he has one in the first place. Address the possible concerns of having an account. Suggest he use alternatives to connect with his friends such as an instant messenger service. Keep the focus on your concerns for his safety because of other people, and not on your concerns about his maturity or ability to use Facebook. Let your teenager make his own decision about deleting his account.
Safety on Facebook
Parents should encourage teenagers of all ages to use Facebook wisely. Advise them to avoid sharing passwords and only accept friend requests from those they know in person. Your teen should change passwords often and avoid posting anything personal, like where he attends school. He can also click on "Privacy Settings" to adjust what others can see on his profile. Encourage him to "friend" you on Facebook, and go over the site's rules, as well as your own rules, regularly with your teenager. Parents should explain the reasons behind their rules, which may make teenagers more likely to follow them, notes HealthyChildren.org.