WASHINGTON – As the “800-pound gorilla in the social networking space,” Facebook is teaming with the nation’s attorneys general to educate teens and their parents about online privacy and safety.
“There are so many adults who don’t really understand what their teenagers are doing on the Internet,” says Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, who is the current president of the National Association of Attorneys General.
Gansler and Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg on Monday annnounced a public education campaign at the NAAG Presidential Initiative Summit at National Harbor.
“We’ll have an ‘Ask The Safety Team’ video series on Facebook’s Safety Page and on all the attorneys generals’ pages,” says Gansler.
The videos will be produced by Facebook, and offer state-specific messages from each attorney general.
Gansler says consumers often have a difficult time keeping up with privacy changes whenever Facebook changes its appearance and functionality.
“Like every other technology, Facebook evolves — as do the privacy settings and privacy concerns of consumers,” said Gansler.
Gansler acknowledges teenagers often balk at fully disclosing to their parents what they do online.
“When kids go on Facebook, they want two things, to be able to reach out and be very public with their friends, but they also want to maintain their privacy from their parents and perhaps other adults,” says Gansler.
Gansler says the new safety campaign aims to provide parents with resources and tips to help understand their children’s online environment.
And, despite the reluctance of teens to discuss their online experiences with their parents, Gansler says adults should continue to inform children about possible consequences.
“What is put on Facebook can certainly affect scholarship money, financial aid, getting into colleges, getting jobs,” says Gansler.