What parents need to know before letting kids go on Facebook

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by Catherine Holland

GMAZ interview by Javier Soto

Posted on June 5, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 5 at 12:43 PM

PHOENIX -- Right now, kids younger than 13 technically are not allowed to have Facebook accounts.

While many do through somewhat less-than-honest means, the social-media company is now exploring ways to safely and legally allow young kids to be part of its ever-growing network.

Jeff Moriarty of Improv Media offered some basic tips to help parents keep their kids save on Facebook.

It all starts with the privacy settings that control what is visible and to whom.

"It lets you go through and customize exactly what you see on the front page of Facebook," Moriarty explained. "For your child, you want to lock this down as tightly as possible."

As part of the privacy settings, you'll want to turn off location settings so Facebook does not broadcast your child's location.

"If your kid posts from their phone, or posts from their computer, it doesn't tell anyone where they are," Moriarty said.

While your kids probably won't like it, Moriarty says you should know their passwords so you can log into their accounts and see exactly what they're doing and to whom they are talking.

Communication, Moriarty said, is essential.

"Let them know what the ramifications are of posting something and making it public, where they can get into trouble, what your expectations are as a parent," he said.

He also said to let them know that you will be keeping an eye on their online activities to make sure they are being safe and not spending too much time online to the detriment of other things.

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