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Facebook updates privacy policy for teens

By Rebecca Vogt, KCFW Reporter, rvogt@kcfw.com
Published On: Oct 19 2013 05:18:16 PM MDT
Facebook updates privacy policy for teens
KALISPELL, Mont. -

Facebook says they're the "savviest people using social media," and now teens ages 13-17 can share their thoughts with the world. The policy change came Wednesday - posts made by teens on Facebook are defaulted to "Friends Only," but can now be switched to "Public."

"I think its a better idea then it being private because a lot of people aren't really worried about their privacy as much," said seventeen year old Ethan Wiese.

Law enforcement officials, like Kalispell School Resource Officer Jason Parce said this can open teen accounts to potential predators.

"They're broadcasting their day to day behaviors, they're broadcasting to their friends," said Parce. "And its public, there's a lot of people out there that have a lot of time on their hands that may be targeting kids."

But Parce said this is nothing new - he said teens have been bypassing the old policy for years.

"Any person can go to Facebook and create an account under a fictitious name, fictitious age," explained Parce. "That's the problem, that's the scary part that we're fighting every day."

Students Justus Goldston and Rhian Rice felt kids their age are taking a risk if they make their posts open to anyone.

"The fact that it is oriented with jobs and jobs do check Facebook, that's a big concern," said Goldston.

"I have a job right now and if I posted something inappropriate I could lose my job," Rice told NBC Montana.

Social media is a constant battle for Kalispell Police, who regularly educate students and parents on privacy and how to avoid jeopardizing safety or their futures by posting something inappropriate.

"We have those open lines of communication with parents and educate the parents and public on how to keep the kids safe," said Parce.

And while Wiese said he's keen on the new option, he'll think twice before posting.

"Be aware of what you're doing before you do it," Wise warned. "Think before you act."