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Parents need to know that teens must be diligent about setting privacy controls on Facebook. Every time Facebook updates its features, users must check settings to confirm what information they're sharing and what they're keeping private. "Frictionless sharing" apps -- which allow users to share without having to take action -- bring additional privacy concerns. The Facebook timeline shows every activity going back to a user's first post. It's like a permanent record, but the good news is that you can use it to delete posts you really don't want there anymore or change a post's privacy setting for it to be viewable only by yourself.

Privacy shortcuts in the upper-right-hand corner of the page allow you to remove personal information like your gender or birthday, and you can block search engines from showing a direct link to your timeline. To completely remove previous posts from searches, you'll need to review your Activity Log to see a list of all your Facebook activity and review or edit the privacy setting for each item. After you've made privacy updates, you can double-check your changes by clicking View As, which will show you what your timeline looks like to a specific friend or to the public.

Facebook's most recent changes allow kids 13 to 17 to share timeline posts publicly rather than only with friends (or friends-of-friends). The first time kids choose to post publicly, a pop-up window will appear, reminding them that even strangers may see their posts and that they might end up getting messages from people they don't know. From that point forward, when kids post, they'll see a shorter pop-up reminder, simply letting them know that they're posting publicly (but they won't get any privacy or safety reminders). However, kids' default privacy settings are now set to Friends Only -- until they decide they want to share more widely.

Other recent changes include the Graph Search, a super-charged search tool that mines Facebook's wealth of user data. From the search bar on the top left of the page, you can explore general info like "nearby restaurants" and "pages about news" or dig for more personal tidbits such as "music my friends like" and "people who like dogs and live in San Francisco." With such easy access to user data, it's important to recheck your privacy settings. For each section of your timeline (for example, About, Likes, Music, and Groups), click the pencil icon in the top right of the section box to review privacy settings and modify who can see (and search for) the info. The Graph Search bar also doubles as a Web search powered by Bing. Search results have "strict" filtering for users age 13 to 17 so long as they have their true ages listed on their Facebook accounts.

Overall, I think facebook could be a safe site for teenagers. Despite all of the things I've heard, you should probably wait until you are 16 to make an account. In counclusion, for the safety of you and the courtesy of others...