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Tips For Parents: Facebook Privacy For Teens

Facebook Privacy TeensWhat is the most scary thing for parents of teens? Lately, it seems to be their kids using social media and other online platforms to network. Online social platforms, including Facebook, are now one of the key ways teens socialize with their friends. Beyond protecting privacy, there is also the issue of teens over-sharing information online that they later regret.


My first tip for parents regarding their kids’ online social networking habits is to first educate themselves and THEN educate their kids. Regular dialogues with your kids about online safety is an important step in keeping them safe. The next step is set up family rules and communication guidelines. In our family, we have rules about privacy settings in each of the social networking applications. Our rules also include positive reinforcement: to earn their freedom to use a new platform, they need to show their responsibility by coming to us first to discuss privacy and safety.


In conversations with my three boys about their use of social networks, I want them to feel safe coming to me with questions and issues. If they feel threatened or lectured to, the conversation quickly ends. So I explain to my sons that there is no “real” privacy online and anything they share should be appropriate for a future employer to see it and STILL give them a job! At the same time, I tell them that mistakes happen and it is best to talk about them and develop a strategy so the mistake is not repeated. I even share real life horror stories to show them what HAS already happened to some teens and stress the importance of understanding the privacy settings of all online networks. We also spend time going over the settings in each of the networks they use to set up appropriate privacy controls.


Facebook is one of the main platforms I use to network with friends and family online so I supported my kids to use it as well to network with their friends after they turned 13. When I received a recent press email with some details about Facebook privacy settings I was thrilled because it was something I was looking into to help educate my kids. Here are some privacy setting and graph search tips from Facebook to help start the conversation with your kids!


Tips for Helping Set Up Your Teen’s Facebook Account from FACEBOOK:

1. It may sound obvious, but help your teen be selective with profile information. This includes photos—cute is okay, provocative is a no-no. You can also navigate to “update info” in the blue menu bar with your name and edit basic info, contact information, work and education, and interests, making sure the privacy setting is always “Friends” and not “Public.” It may sound obvious, but no contact info (email addresses, phone numbers, etc.).
2. In this same vein…you can help adjust his or her privacy settings. Click on the little wheel next to the “Home” button; from the dropdown menu, hit “Privacy Settings.” Here you can change the default privacy settings for when your teen posts photos and updates, and control whether his/her account pops up when people do public searches. Note: DON’T forget Timeline and Tagging privacy settings—always make sure tags are restricted to “Friends” so that photos other people post of your teen are only seen by his/her friends.
Facebook Privacy settings
**Note – The image above is a screen shot from my Facebook account as visual example..
3. Have your teen set up login approvals and notifications (via the Security Settings page), both extra security features:

o   With login notifications, Facebook sends you an alert each time someone logs into your account from a new place.

o   Login approvals are like login notifications, but with an extra step; if you turn on login approvals, you’ll be asked to enter a special login code each time you try to access your Facebook account from a new computer or mobile phone. After you log in, you’ll have the option to give that device a name and save it to your account.

 o   You won’t have to enter a code when you log into any of these recognized devices. The benefit here is so that Facebook can be sure it’s you logging in from an unrecognized device, and not an impostor you; you’ll also receive an email confirming you logged in from an unrecognized device so in the instance you can always be sure you’ll know when and from where you’ve logged in.



And, when all is said and done, the most important way to keep your teen safe online is by starting a conversation. After all, technical controls don’t always solve every problem. You don’t need to be a social media expert to ask questions and begin an ongoing dialog. Have these conversations about safety and technology early and often, in the same way you talk to your teens about being safe at school, in the car, etc.



One way to begin this conversation is to ask your teen why social media is important to him or her. You might also ask him or her to show you how to set up your own Facebook Timeline, so you can see what it’s all about. Discuss what’s appropriate information to share online—and what isn’t. Ask them about privacy settings, and suggest that you go over them together regularly.



Facebook Graph Search: A safe, secure way to discover new things online

Teach your teens how to use Facebook Graph Search (the basics):

1.       Click on the search bar at the top of any Facebook page

2.       Begin typing your search (ex: Friends who live in Walnut Creek and like soccer)

3.       As you type, a list of search suggestions will appear below the search bar

4.       Choose one of the suggested options or finish typing and hit Enter

5.       Click “Refine This Search” to narrow your results by things like location or date



Types of things your teens can search for using Graph Search:

You can search across people, Pages, friends, photos and other content shared with you on Facebook, such as their education, hometown, current city, interests, as well as places, restaurants, books, movies, games and music they like



You can explore Graph Search in a variety of ways, like putting together keywords for things that are of interest. Some examples of things you can search include:

o   My friends who live in my city

o   Ski resorts visited by my friends

o   Restaurants nearby that are liked by my friends

o   Photos of my family members



You can also combine phrases together, or add things like locations, timeframes, likes and interests to get more specific; for example:

o   Movies liked by people who like my favorite movies

o   Photos of my friends in June 2011



Graph Search privacy

Keep in mind Facebook has a feature called secure browsing, which is turned on by default (https). This feature makes it harder for anyone else to access your Facebook information without your permission.



To double-check you have secure browsing turned on, go to your Security Settings; click the Secure Browsing section; make sure the box provided is checked:

o   When you have secure browsing turned on, the address bar in your browser should begin with “https://”



Who can look for posts in Graph Search?

o   The people you’ve shared your posts with can see them in their Graph Search results

o   For example, posts shared as Public can be seen by anyone (including people not on Facebook) and can show up in anyone’s Graph Search results.

·         You can adjust what others can see on your Timeline and who can see the things you share, and you can choose who can search for you using your email address or phone number. You can also limit the audience of past posts and make it so that only your friends can see these photos or status updates you’ve previously posted.

·         A great resource is the privacy shortcuts, which are accessible from the lock icon and offer common privacy tools – like Activity Log which lets you review who can see or find things you’ve posted or have been tagged in.



How does it work for minors?

o   Like adults, minors can appear in search results, but Facebook protects sensitive information about them (contact info, school, Birthday) from appearing in search to a public audience.




How does your family handle setting up privacy settings on online networks? Do you have regular family conversations about privacy with your kids?




Disclosure: This is a press post.




Heading To NYC for Book Expo & To Showcase Updated “My Parent Plan”

I’m excited to share that this week I’ll be attending BookExpo America (BEA), the largest author and book event in the nation. The show is being held from May 30th to June 1st at the Javits Center in New York City. You can find me and my book, My Parent Plan: How to Create a Family Project Plan to Organize Your Life and Kids , at Booth #377, where I’ll be joined by Alicia Dunams, and other Best Selling Authors with their new and popular  books. (*SEE bottom of this post for launch events  BOOK SIGNING times).



An updated version of my book, “My Parent Plan – How To Create A Family Project Plan To Organize Your Life and Your Kids” is now up on Amazon and I will be bringing copies to sign at the Book Expo. The book combines my experience as a Mom of three, quickly-growing boys plus my 20 years in professional project management to help parents understand the process of creating and working through a parenting plan based on their individual family’s needs and personalities. My Parent Plan empowers parents to step back to think about their daily, weekly, seasonal and yearly activities and set up a plan in advance. This gives families the time to find the right information, identify budget-friendly options, consider the needs of each family member and make informed choices to create the optimal family plan.
Without a plan I would have never had time to write this book. When I share with friends and colleagues that I wrote a book, and they know all the other things I have going on they frequently respond, “what – you wrote a book?”  The most wonderful thing is that many of these individuals either have book ideas, are writing a book or have something special they want to share. We discuss the importance of turning dreams into goals, then goals into plans and plans into action. One of my favorite parts of writing this book has been using the tools I talk about to empower other people to reach their goals while facing the challenge of work life balance. Luckily I had a plan that helped me juggle my priorities while keeping family on the top of the list and keeping other lower priority items on hold. For example, I have not washed my minivan in MONTHS. I even took a picture of my minivan so that if anyone asked how I do it, I could show them my secret. Success in one area requires trade offs in lower priority areas.
On topic of success, one of my dearest friends , Barb Gottesman, is not only an amazing life coach but also had life-changing adventures with her family sailing the Pacific Ocean for 2 years.  It was a story that needed to be told so I suggested to Barb, who already had a plan to write a book, to join in the Best Seller program. I am so proud of her – she followed through and (shriek of excitement) she is joining me and the other authors at the Book Expo in New York to announce her new book. Two moms heading to the Book Expo America in New York…proud to show their professional voice reflected in their new books!



Barbara Gottesman is the author of “How to Slay a Pirate: Lessons on Success from Sailing the Pacific”. The reference to ‘pirates’ in the title refers to the negative self talk that robs people of their dreams.  Barb describes her book as the ultimate guide for setting goals, slaying pirates, and achieving what you’ve only dreamed of until now. It delivers five surprisingly simple lessons and strategies for turning your vision into reality and reaching your true potential.  Accompanied by travel blog excerpts from her own nearly two-and-a-half year family sailing adventure across the Pacific (through Mexico, the South Pacific, and into Australia), How to Slay a Pirate delivers a candid account of challenge, risk and reward to make a compelling case for why finding and following your passion is essential.




Beth BlechermanMy Parent Plan“: May 30 from 1-2pm, May 31 from 11-12pm and June 1 from 1-2pm. I will have an additional special signing on May 30 from 2:00 -2:30pm



Barbara Gottesman How to Slay a Pirate: Lessons on Success from Sailing the Pacific” will also be signing her books during the following times: May 30 from 1-2pm, May 31 from 11-12pm.  She will have a special signing on May 30 from  3:30 – 4:00 pm.


Joining Barb Gottesman and I  will be five other authors from our Best Seller group including:


  • Diane Beck, author of Project Management Secrets: Fortune 500 Project Manager Reveals How to Succeed in the Trenches.
  • Melissa Steach, author of The Housing Project: Decorating a Home That Tells Your Personal Story and Reflects the Real You.
  • Suzanne Letourneau, author of Soar with Vulnerability: 11 Insights to the Full Enjoyment of Your Life.
  • Bill Paravanno, author of Knees for Life: The Natural Approach to Eliminate Chronic Knee Pain and Have Strong Healthy Joints That Last a Lifetime…Without Surgery
  • Dr. Sherri Vie, author of Dr. Vie’s Vedic Weight Loss Secrets: Lose Weight, Prevent Disease, and Love Yourself.



BookExpo America will also feature exhibits, conference sessions, networking and autographs. I can’t wait to share the updated version of my book  and experience the excitement of being part of the world’s largest author and book gathering. If you’re in the Big Apple, stop by, pick up an autographed copy of my book, and join in the excitement!
MAY 30 MEETUP (NYC): Bush Street Press and Alicia Dunams, Founder and CEO of Bestseller in a Weekend™ organized a  Meet-up on May 30. Please join us! Click on the following link for more information:



JUNE 4 VIRTUAL BOOK LAUNCH: You’re invited! Don’t miss out on my virtual book launch party on June 4 from 1 PM to 3 PM (PST).  Win a free autographed copy and some cool prizes. Also learn about the book-writing process, the good and the bad, from me and 7 other non-fiction debut authors by attending our virtual book launch party on June 4 from 1-3 PST. It’s sure to be informative, enlightening, and fun! Sign up for free here:


“My Parent Plan” is available on Amazon (CLICK HERE to buy).





Katie Couric, BlogHer, Sheryl Sandberg: Women Social Media Leaders That Rock

The recent episode of the “Katie Show” helped Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and her company celebrate a major milestone, 1 Billion global users. Many of those users are my family members. As Mark Zuckerberg expressed in a blog post this month, We believe that the need to open up and connect is what makes us human. It’s what brings us together. It’s what brings meaning to our lives“.  Facebook has offered me exactly that, a place where my family and friends connect. All online social networks face privacy issues (I will be talking about that more in another post). With Facebook, I am happy there is a place where all of my family and friends have profiles and I can keep up with their latest antics no matter how busy their or my life may become.


In addition to Facebook enabling me to stay connected to family and friends, I also enjoy seeing COO Sheryl Sandberg showcased as a great role model for younger women pursuing tech careers. On the “Katie Show”, Cheryl was a clear symbol of female success in the high technology industry.


Here is my summary of some my favorite highlights from the “Katie Show” with Sheryl Sandberg:

  • Katie Couric asked if Facebook was worried about not being the “new thing”? Cheryl Sanderg said the initial fear was that Facebook started with only college students. Would they stay active users when mothers, grandmothers, and teachers joined? Everyone stayed because Facebook made it easy for them all to connect.
  • Katie asked how people use Facebook to discuss political campaigns? Cheryl  explained how conversations that used to happen around the “watercooler” now happen on Facebook (and the “watercooler”). There are 170 million Facebook users in the US which is greater than the number of people who will vote. Eighty percent of Facebook users are outside the U.S. and Canada, and people around the world use  Facebook in some common ways.
  • Katie then asked about the dark side of being connected, including spam and scams: do those things keep you up at night? Sandberg explained that every technology ever invented has positive and negative uses. The more powerful the technology, the more powerful the use.
  • Katie discussed an inspirational story about a daughter who posted a Facebook update sharing that her mother needed a new kidney.  A friend of a friend of the daughters saw this, knew she was right blood type and contacted the daughter to donate her kidney. The whole story was heartwarming, the mother got a new kidney and the daughter feels like she has a new “sister”, the generous women who donated her kidney. The full story is discussed in a post on the Katie Show site “A reason to connect and donate“.
  • Facebook business success stories were discussed with one women in the audience (Mandie from Got What it Cakes) sharing that after she joined Facebook and her friends started sharing, her business doubled and doubled again. Mandie explained that she is a proud mom conducting business in her kitchen and her Got What It Cakes Facebook page has 6200 fans (now over 7,000).


Talking about role models… Katie Couric has been my media role model for years. She not only wrote a New York Times best-selling book titled, “The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons From Extraordinary Lives“, but also is a dedicated cancer advocate. And she is one of the most successful anchors along with being a fellow working mom.  Her bio listed:

In September 2006, Katie Couric became the first female solo anchor of an evening news broadcast. Couric served as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric until May 2011… On May 31, 2006, Couric completed a 15-year run as co-anchor of NBC News’ TODAY show. In October 2011, the Wall Street Journal called Couric of the “most successful anchors ever” at the TODAY show. Couric joined the Disney/ABC Television Group in Summer 2011 and serves as special correspondent for ABC News….. Beginning in September 2012, she will host a new syndicated daytime talk show, Katie.”



What some may not know is that Katie Couric was one of the early news anchors to understand the value of social media and parent bloggers.  Around the time of BlogHer Business 2008, I was contacted by Katie Couric’s production team at “The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric”. It was part of their social media outreach to promote the show. I was already such a big fan, not only because of  Katie’s trailblazing career in news, but also due to Katie’s intelligent, engaging, professional and inspirational presence on any show where she appeared. I had started a list titled, “TV women to learn from”, because I had a goal to film television Tech Segments. Later that year, as I started making TV appearances, I could not help but wonder how much of my own personal style in front of camera was developed by watching Katie.


The most exciting thing about the initial social media outreach from the Katie Couric team was that it led to a studio tour offered to me and a selection of mom bloggers in New York City for the BlogHer Business conference (2008). The BlogHer community, founded by inspiring female leaders Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort Page and Jory Des Jardins in 2005, is another social media powerhouse that has the largest community of women who blog.



I have to admit… part of why I chose Katie Couric as my role model back then was also due to her great fashion choices (including fantastic shoes!). To prepare for the studio tour, I got myself a  Katie Couric haircut (forget the Jennifer Aniston!) and a matching jacket.  Needless to say, when I finally met Katie Couric together with my mom blogger colleagues, she was as engaging in person as she was on television.  She was also very savvy about social media, asking insightful questions and sharing her perspective. And I just may need to submit that picture as a Katie Clone!


In August 2012, Katie Couric was the lunchtime Keynote at BlogHer12 in New York City and it was so great to see her on stage again (I was in the audience cheering her on)! Bringing the story full circle, a highlight of my 2012 BlogHer Conference was a brief meet and greet with Katie before she gave her Keynote lunch.  Although I did not qualify as a Katie clone this time, I did have a chance to tell her I was looking forward to watching her show when it debuted the following month.


I am happy that there are multiple other social media platforms I can use to interact with the Katie Show (back from my home in San Francisco area) including Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. There are great behind the scenes videos on YouTube and Google+.  During shows they have bloggers participating in many ways. Fellow tech mom Heidi Leder was not only in the audience for the Facebook show (which I was following via the #Katie Twitter Hashtag), but she also wrote a feature post on the website about how Facebook Keeps Her connected. I also feel lucky to have so many women social media leaders that have blazed the trails to offer ways for us all to connect offline and online.


What are your favorite ways to connect online?




Beta Launch of Kazaana – Family Friendly Social Platform (was PixyKids)

As my 9 year olds become more interested in sharing media with family and friends, I have started to look into family friendly social platforms that are appropriate for 9 year olds. Just recently I received a brief demo of the family centric social platform called Kazaana (was called PixyKids). I appreciated the beautiful graphics and the ability for everyone to create their own space – and then share with family and friends. But most of all, I appreciated that the parental controls would allow me to approve every friend (or family) that my 9 year olds would invite into their space. Now that the Beta is live I can’t wait to take a test drive with my 9 year olds to learn more about Kazaana.


Below is the press release I received with more info:

Continue reading


Ricki Lake Show Production Meeting Goes Interactive

I already shared my prediction that social TV is the new TV when I discussed the Friends of Ricki (Ricki Lake Show) community.  Part of their social TV activities are interactive production meetings where their community can ask questions that is shared directly with the production team. Today at 4pm pst the Ricki Lake will be holding one of their interactive production meetings – join in and share your input!

Twitter: @RickiLakeShow @FriendsofRicki  Facebook:


Live broadcasting by Ustream


Social Shield: S.O.S. for Parents Trying To Understand Social Networking Terms

SocialShield Releases the Top Social Networking Terms Kids Don’t Want Their Parents to Know

Sheds light on the latest lingo kids are using to hold illicit, risky or secretive conversations

As a parent of a tween, I am well aware of the language and terms tween/tweens use to communicate with each other. But add on to that technology – and the dangers of their terms increases exponentially.  From watching what goes on – I can see that it does not matter if your child has their own phone or not – these terms are used across devices – including computers. They can be used for social but they can also be used to bully or harass other kids.  Parents need to stay ahead of these dangers by educating themselves and then having honest conversations with their kids. Education and communication is key; if your kids are not talking to you about social networking, they are surely talking to their friends.


Through MommyTech Summit at CES I was introduced to the folks at Social Shield, social network monitoring service for parents, who sent me this press release with information about social networking terms kids use. The press release is below. But the image above summarizes some of the top (and scary) social networking terms used.


PRESS RELEASE: Continue reading


Using Pearltrees To Prep For BlogHer 2010

Summer is finally here and it is getting close to my favorite conference of the year (other then the Consumer Electronics Show): BlogHer . This year is "BlogHer10" and it will be held Friday/Saturday August 6/7. BlogHer conferences give me the opportunity to connect "live" with a wide range of interesting and amazing bloggers that I read about online.

I used Pearltrees to starting gathering information for the presentation:

1. A Pearltree on BlogHer Conference Info:

BlogHer2010 Conference INFO

2. The fabulous Kimberly Blaine and Susan Getgood  – and I (Beth Blecherman) are excited to be presenting the following BlogHer10 panel:  "Integrating Your Online Presence Across All Platforms: It Can (And
Must) Be Done!
" that is part of the Room of Your Own Professional track.

Here is the description: Whether your brand is your personal brand, your
small business or your employer's, the plethora of networking tools and
opportunities can be overwhelming. Share best practices on building a
consistent brand by integrating your efforts across all available
platforms, including social networks, traditional media and even offline

August 6, 2010 -
Conference Day: Day 1

To prepare, I am reading up on everything I can about Online Brand(s). I hope to get suggestions for more interesting online branding reads from my community. I created a Pearltree to collect the information I have found so far:


3. I am also starting to refresh my memory of last year's conference by taking a look at some of the Live blog posts from BlogHer09. I just added a few of the liveblogs from last year to start:

BlogHer09 Liveblogging

Disclosure: I am advising


HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One printer & HP ePrint Platform: No Printer Drivers Needed

Today HP announced a new category of web-enabled printing solutions
designed for the cloud with their HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One printer.

As someone who just had to reinstall print drivers in a new computer to get it to “talk” to my printer, the HP ePrint platform is a welcome announcement. Printing from the cloud means you can print from any email device (such as a smartphone) and NO PRINT DRIVERS NEEDED (that’s my favorite part).  The printing experience can be managed through the HP ePrintCenter. The HP ePrintCenter also has a directory of apps.

Link to Press Release:

The announcement was made at Internet Week 2010 – NYC. Here is the Microsite:

More details to follow.

The New York City Moms Blog is having a giveaway from June 7 – June 10 of the HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One printer


Moms – Create Your Own Social Start Page

One of the things that transformed the way I get my information was when I set up RSS feeds on my home pages. RSS feeds is a way to subscribe to different websites and blog so you get can that information sent to your email or displayed on a central page.

I have two emails that I use each day, Yahoo for my personal business and Google for my business emails. When I log onto MyYahoo and iGoogle home pages, I have my relevant RSS feeds (i.e. personal or business) displayed so I can keep up to date.

I just read in Mashable today a post that described this process in the perfect words: "Social Start Page". In a perfect world, you would log onto one screen that summarizes not only your RSS feeds, but also has links to all your online social networks. Here is a link to the post with recommendations to other sites that help streamline your day by streamlining your information.

Mashable: 7 Ways to Create Your Own Social Start Page


SXSW Liveblog: Moms Who Tech


***MOMS WHO TECH follow-up session was at Convention Center Level 3 – Room 4 (panelist area) with Shireen Mitchell.

We just finished the Moms Who Tech core conversation at SXSW, we have an amazing set of attendees who sparked a very interesting discussion. Sarah Granger was kind enough to take notes – which I will post soon. I will also be posting the names and websites of the “Moms Who Tech” in attendance.  For those wanting to follow or join in the conversation, we will be using the Twitter hash tag #Momswhotech. Unfortunately, my co-leader Shireen Mitchell’s plane was late so I will be twittering using my id (TechMama) when she arrives and timing on gathering for a follow-up discussion for those interested (sometime today – hopefully at 3pm). We were thrilled to have Tiffany Galligan, Experience Director Razorfish in attendance to discuss the Cafe Mom/Razorfish “Digital Mom” study.

Here were some overall questions framing the discussion:

  1. How do moms use tech for communication, information gathering and family management? How is tech a part of their lives as mothers? In careers, school, children’s education?
  2. Why are increasing numbers of moms engaging in social media and using technology?
  3. How are moms using technology to politicize & become activists?

When asked why I decided to put this together, I shared that moms:

  • Have digital responsibility for themselves and families
  • Are savvy communicators and community builders who are taking their communication online
  • Multitaskers that will use the available technology to make their and their families lives easier
  • Moms buy technology for their households and are savvy at gathering information (offline and online). Get their information from other moms (and are therefore primary purchasing influencers).
  • Kid’s school and social lives are now online (including HOMEWORK), so technology in family households is a MUST!

Here is the first run of “Moms Who Tech” at the session, will add more as I get the names. If I did not get your name, email me at techmamas(at)gmail(dot)com. If you were a business trying to reach out to moms please also email me your info and I will post about that separately (and thanks for coming!):


Beth Blecherman @techmama

Shireen Mitchell @digitalsista

Guest speaker was Tiffany Galligan from Razorfish who discussed the Digital Mom study.

Partial List of Attendees (will add more as I get them):

NEXT UP: I will load the liveblog notes of the session soon. Not to be missed…