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How to monitor your child's Facebook account

A full-time writer and multi-published author, when not penning paranormal tales of suspense or romantica under the pseudonym Adrienne Kama, Heather writes articles for print and online publications on travel, human interest pieces and h...

Keep your child safe online

In 2004 Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow college roommates and computer science students, began Facebook as a social network for college students. Quickly, Facebook expanded out to the general population and become the top social network of students, professionals, stay-at-home moms, and nearly anyone with a computer. Today, according to Facebook’s own statistics, there are more than 500 million users, and each of those users has an average of 130 friends. Now, add to those statistics the fact that your child probably has a Facebook account, making him or her accessible to those 500 million people.

Facebook is a great tool but also a place that could be dangerous without parental supervision.

The prospect of this may seem daunting, but there are ways to monitor your child's Facebook activity.

Create a Facebook Account for Yourself

This is the single best way to monitor your child's activity on Facebook. In a few easy steps, you can have an account and see nearly everything that's happening on your child's Facebook page. Here's what you need to do.

  1. Sign up for a Facebook account by going to www.Facebook.com and filling in your information.
  2. Once your account is live, which should happen immediately, use the search box at the top of your Facebook page to search for your child's name.
  3. Once you find your child, click the "Add as Friend" button at the top of the page. This will send a message to your child telling them that you want to be Facebook friends.
  4. Once your child accepts your friend request you will be able to see everything that is posted on his or her Facebook Profile page. The best thing about this method is that you won't have to sneak to see what your child is doing. They know you are there. However, you cannot see their private messages using this method. That leads us to the next way you can monitor your child's Facebook activity.

Add your child on Facebook for less intrusive monitoring. Get Your Child's Facebook Password

At first blush it may seem like you're telling your child you don't trust them, however, it's more a manner of giving them the responsibility of using Facebook in degrees. Your child had to walk before he could run; he ate baby food before he ever tasted a juicy cheeseburger. The same goes for Facebook. Having full access to your child's Facebook account will allow you to monitor his or her activity whenever you feel it is necessary. Over time, as long as your child shows you they can be responsible, you won't feel the need to check the account so often.

Keep Your Computer in a Public Area of the House

Unless your child is working on a top secret NASA project, there isn't any reason for them to have a computer in their bedroom. Having a family computer and locating it in the kitchen, living room or den will lessen your child's opportunity to visit Internet sites they shouldn't, as well as act irresponsibly on Facebook.

Monitoring your child's Facebook activity doesn't have to be hard; it also doesn't have to be done in a way that's intrusive or dishonest. If you talk with your child about your concerns and let them know you'll be periodically watching their Facebook activity, the trust between you and your child will remain intact, and you can feel confident that you're doing your duty as a good parent.

More on online safety

Is Facebook Safe? Safety Tips for Teens
Top 10 Safety Tips for Kids
Kids Privacy Online: What's Appropriate

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