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Ask an expert: How can I monitor what my child is doing on Facebook in order to make sure they are using it safely? Is it a good idea to be my child's friend on Facebook?

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Zoe E Breen Zoe E Breen | 13:44 UK time, Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Answered by our panel of experts:

This is a really common question and the answer will vary depending on the relationship that you have with your child. Different parents have different strategies that they use. Some are friends with their children on Facebook. Some ask an older sibling or a cousin or someone their children are friends with on Facebook to keep an eye on them.

In an ideal world being a friend of your children online is great, but care is needed not to overreact to some of the content that you might see them or their friends posting. There’s no quicker way to be removed from a friend list than by interfering too often and criticising every bit of bad language that you encounter.

However, children have been known to set up two accounts, the one that they actually use and the one that they set up to show their parents what they are doing online!

The most important thing is that parents need to be open, honest and transparent with their children. Spying on them will always be met with negative reactions and this is understandable, everyone has a right to privacy. Dialogue is crucial and not overreacting is important.

If you are a parent and are worried about your teen or child over-sharing online visit the Share Take Care: Ask an expert page to read the advice our panel of experts gave other parents.

Visit the Share Take Care website for more information on help and support for parents.

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