Access Denied: Two Dumb Ways Teens Are Keeping Their Facebook Lives Private

Sam is a 16-year-old from Montgomery, NJ. She enjoys playing tennis, writing and Community Service. Her favorite subject in school is History.

In this fast-paced Facebook era, teens are always putting up pictures or sending out statuses they shouldn’t. However, with Dad and Grandma and everyone and their dog getting a Facebook, teens are sent into a panic. To them, untagging photos, deleting posts, and changing security settings are too time-consuming. Here, teens are using two strange new tactics to get out of trouble. Unfortunately, these tactics aren’t exactly successful…

The Name Change

Sounds simple? That’s because it is. By clicking on “Account Settings” and editing the “Name” category, teens become much more elusive (or so they think). There are many different variations too…

The Middle Name: Jane Smith becomes Jane Elizabeth

The Backwards Name: Jane Smith becomes Enaj Smith, Jane Htims or Enaj Htims

The Nickname:  John Smith becomes Johnny Smith or J-Man Smith

The Pun/Cultural Reference: Nicole Brown becomes Nickel Brown or Nicole Back (Nickelback)

… as well as many others. While it may seem foolproof, the Name Change can backfire, in big ways. Teens don’t want that wall post from Mom that says “Why did you change your name to (enter new name here)?”

The Censor

This privacy trick only works for teens who are photo and video whizzes. Here are the typical steps one can take to accomplish this:

  1. Find a photos or videos that may have some unpleasantries
  2. Go to a photo or video editing program
  3. Blur photos or videos
  4. Re-upload to Facebook and tag friends

While most teens think that colleges and other students will not notice the blurred parts and not assume that they are drinking, smoking, or doing anything illicit, quite the contrary occurs. Most teens are not so naive, and will know what the substance or act in question really is. Teens with special privileges and honors (NHS and sports commitments) are the most affected, as if the photos are found, the teen could face serious consequences.

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