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Facebook Creates Youth Portal to Give Teens Tips About Using Its Service

Jonathan Vanian

has created an online resource center for teenagers to learn tips and tricks for using the social networking service.

On Monday, the technology giant debuted the Youth Portal, intended for teens to better understand how to control their Facebook settings, like determining who is allowed to see certain posts, as well as learning how other teenagers use Facebook to raise awareness about humanitarian issues.

Facebook said that it consulted with an unspecified number of teenagers in the U.S., Italy, the United Kingdom, and Brazil in designing the new site.

Some of the information that the Youth Portal provides includes safety tips for teenagers to adhere to when posting on Facebook. In one tip, Facebook recommends that teens ask themselves whether they would feel comfortable reading out loud to their parents or grandparents the contents of a Facebook post before posting it.

Another recommendation is that teenagers not give out personal information to people they just met online and to only accept Facebook friend requests from people they know.

Facebook also created a section in the Youth Portal about data privacy that shows teenagers how to change their user settings so that their posts or status updates only show to specific groups of people like their close friends or acquaintances. In that section, there's also a description of Facebook's data policy and another short account about how Facebook uses data to help companies better target their online ads. But both of those descriptions link to the company's longer and more complicated explanations intended for the general public.

Facebook said it is still figuring out how to notify teenagers about its new tips. Earlier this month, as a test, it started showing some of the tips to an unspecified number of teens in their News Feeds.

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The social networking company's release of a youth information center comes amid a general backlash against tech companies for failing to account for how their services will be used by children.

A few of Apple's big shareholders, for example, urged the company to address the rise of smartphone addiction and other negative consequences that the overuse of smartphones present to children. Apple then debuted its "Families" site in March as a way for parents to learn how to better monitor how their children use smartphones and apps.

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