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Dos and don'ts of letting kids use FacebookShould you insist that your child friend you? Is it alright to ask for his or her password? What can and can't your kids post? CNET's Sumi Das shares tips on how to prepare your child for social networking.
-Two years ago, Keren Borre, then 12, saw her friends joining Facebook and asked her mom if she can do the same, even though she didn't meet the minimum age limit of 13. -It is, indeed, what most people do and just put like fake birthday on Facebook and I wanted to do that, but mom said no. -Mom Luna was firm. But child advocate say underage Facebook users are common. -About 7 million kids on Facebook under the age of 13 and 5 million are under the age of 10. -Luna allowed Keren to open an account once she was old enough, but the privilege came with advice. -I told her anything you post on Facebook is out there so it always comes to haunt you. -Experts say parental guidance is key when kids start using social media. -For younger kids, parents do friend their child. When you signed up for Facebook, sitting next to your child, walk your child through the privacy settings, create a friend's only environment at first. And then, as he or she acclimates to social media, you know, slowly open their privacy settings. -And how should you handle passwords with some coaxing, Luna got a hold of Keren. -I didn't really want her to have my password 'cause I thought that that was unfair, but then I just gave it to her anyways. -But there is a strong argument against that. -I think it's really important to be consistent with your children about setting strong passwords and then keeping them to yourselves. Oftentimes, kids will share their Facebook passwords and that can get kids into a lot of trouble 'cause other kids will post on your behalf and how they manage that reputation is super important, not just because of how their peers are going to view them, but also potentially how colleges will look at them, future employers. -That advice applies to popular photosharing apps like Instagram and Snapchat too. Although, Snapchat carries an additional caveat since images sent from that app can only be viewed for a few seconds before they delete automatically. -Snapchat doesn't teach kids the long-term lesson of a digital footprint. -Parents should also watch for warning signals that their child is spending too much time on social networks. For example, if they unfriend you. -Good advice will be to keep your computer in a central location like a family room or a kitchen so that you can see what's going on. -Above all, it's important for families to have an ongoing conversation as their kids' use of social media changes and evolves. In San Francisco, I'm Sumi Das CNET.com for CBS News.