101 Tips for Military Families – Tip 103

Tip 103 – Create a Facebook account

Create an absence/deployment or family Facebook account and have the absent member create their own (if they don’t already have one).  This would be one way of keeping in touch easily and with up to date information.  There may be many weeks or even months where your family member doesn’t have access to internet or a computer but there also may be an opportunity to get in touch this way too.

* Each member of the family knows the password

* Assign one person in your family (or more if you have them!) to upload photos regularly

* Each day update your news feed (it will take less than 1 min. and the person away can quickly get an idea of what you are up to)

* Check your privacy settings and do NOT assume that no one else can see it.  All information you load on there is available to the Facebook company and even their security isn’t immune to hackers.  Click on privacy settings regularly to make sure that they are set to what you want

* Decide as a family who you will be adding.  Facebook sites can quickly get a lot of traffic and my recommendation is to create one solely for immediate family so that it can be a safe place to communicate thoughts and feelings you may not feel comfortable having everyone read or even be aware of.

* Do not put any military operational information on the site – it isn’t secure enough

* Add family events to the site in less than a minute so if the absent member checks they will be able to see something that is coming up or happening at that time

* Family members can also set birthday’s and reminders of special events – this can be very helpful for those of us that are forgetful or your loved one who is away!

* If you happen to be on at the same time you can instant message with eachother – you could also use it to plan a time to instant message

* Facebook, like any social site, should be used with caution and children under 18yrs of age should be carefully supervised. **

**I often have students who tell me that they have over 600 friends – no, they don’t.  In the last few years I have had at least 20 different students (at different times) sit with me and go through their Facebook site.  In each case, they have had potential predators on their sites and privy to their worlds, contact information and many other personal details.  You wouldn’t let your 13yr old hang out at a night club with a few ‘friends’ – the same should apply for all social networking sites.

* Do not make committments to your family that your absent family member will be able to update it or even look at it regularly.  Let them know that this is a possibility and ask at your briefings and deployment meetings what the internet possibilities are and then make plans accordingly

* Keep it as upbeat and fun as possible so that when your absent family member is visiting the site it will also be a way to lift their spirits

* To learn how to create a page you can Google “How to Create A Facebook page” or go to:

http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Facebook-Profile

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