What are Friends?
On a social network like Facebook, a friend is a person you add as part of your network. Once a person is added as your friend, he or she has access to your personal file and all information you put there. Friends can generally write on your wall, look through your photo albums, see any videos you've posted, and see who your other friends are.
On most networks, a person has to request to be your friend. They won't have access to your information until you grant it by accepting the friend request. If you don't want the person to be your friend, you can reject the request or simply ignore it by never answering. If you add someone as a friend and then wish to remove them later, you have the option to do so. Unfriending is a right you have if another user is making you feel uncomfortable and threatened. However, many people become very offended if you unfriend them, so you may want to think before deleting someone for a reason that isn't very serious.
Facebook uses the term "friend" to describe people within your network, but other sites may use different terminology for a similar idea. For instance, on Twitter, you don't have friends but followers. One major difference between these two systems, though, is that a friend relationship is generally reciprocal. If you approve someone as a friend, that person can see your private information and you can see that person's private video. But in a following relationship, you can choose to see a person's tweets and updates but the other person doesn't have to see your updates.
Concerns For Parents
- If your child adds unsafe people as friends, those people will be able to access all sorts of private information your child posts to a profile.
How Can I Keep My Child Safe?
- Be sure that your child only friends people he or she knows and trusts in real life. Make sure that your child knows it's OK not to add everyone who sends a friend request, and that it's OK to unfriend people who are rude or inappropriate.
- Facebook has added the ability for users to allow groups of friends access to only certain aspects of their profile before and after friending. These can be accessed through the security tab.