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Facebook Launches Parent-Friendly Feature

Facebook might be getting a few more "Likes" for its newest feature, which launched today on the social media site.

The Parents Portal, which users can find via Facebook's Safety Center, offers resources for moms and dads who want to teach their children good social media habits and learn more about online safety.

When Facebook updated its Safety Center last month, "one of the things we heard was that there was a knowledge gap. Parents want to know more," Antigone Davis, Facebook's head of global safety, tells Mom.me.

MORE: Parenting With Social Media

That's why the social media platform has given home to the different resources and information that they've collected—in 55 languages, no less—since its inception in 2004. They've also partnered with more than 20 various experts, whose tips are also available through the portal.

Within the Parents Portal, moms and dads will find information broken down into three separate sections: Getting to Know Facebook, where parents can familiarize themselves with the platform and its safety features; Parenting Tips, which offers guidance on how to talk to kids about online time management and safety; and Expert Advice, where parents can connect with Facebook's partners on related topics.

A mom herself to a teen daughter, Davis says that one of the main concerns she hears from parents is that they're looking to engage early with their kids when it comes to social media.

"Starting early is really, really important, maybe even before they're on social media," Davis says. (The minimum age to join Facebook is 13.) "Talking to them about technology now makes for better conversations down the road."

Davis also suggests that parents be tech and social media role models for their kids, who look to them for guidance.

"Practice what you're suggesting," says Davis, a former corporate lawyer and adviser on safety and privacy issues. "When my daughter first got her phone, I noticed the glow from her room after bedtime. So I set a rule: After 9 p.m., set the phone down. That gives her time for herself and the sleep she needs. But I had to make the same hard choice myself and model that for her."

When it comes to Facebook for both teens and adults, Davis sees that people really watch out for each other on the platform.

"They come to connect with people who matter to them, and we're building products that enhance the activity we already see, and we're giving them tools to keep them safe," she says.

One of the big safety issues is online bullying, which Facebook addresses in the Bullying Prevention Hub within the Safety Center.

"With bullying, we know there's an offline and online component," Davis says. "We have tools for reporting [bullying] and policies where we can take [bullying posts] down. We have tips and resources for parents so they can have conversations with their kids."

In a post to parents, Davis offers even more tips that can be found on the Parents Portal, including letting kids know that the same rules apply both online and offline: "If it's not something you want others to do to you, don't do it to others," she writes.

Ultimately, though, it's up to parents to set limits and educate themselves and their kids about online safety. Facebook wants to help with that.

"All parents have concerns about their child's safety offline and online," Davis says. "Tech has changed the ways in which people connect. Start the conversation early."

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