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Facebook has come a long way since we were "poking" people back in the early 2000s (sigh, memories). The social networking site used to cater exclusively to college students, but eventually expanded to high schoolers, old folks (a.k.a. our parents), and... wait — our kids? Yep, everyone is on Facebook, and chances are your kiddos want in on the action.

The question: When are children old enough to socialize with their friends and peers online? Sure, Facebook privacy settings ensure that kids aren't being followed by nefarious internet lurkers — but there's always the chance that they'll be exposed to the potential downsides of social networking, like bullying.

Credit: Thinkstock

As of now, Facebook won't let anyone under age 13 have an account, but according to Consumer Reports, 7.5 million pre-teens have profiles on Facebook — and 5 million under 10 years old! Seems a little young, but that's where parental supervision comes in. According to new reports, Facebook is even thinking about lifting the age restriction to allow preteens to log on with oversight from their parents.

Middle school seems like an ideal time to introduce your kids to the addictive world of Facebook (make sure to "friend" them!), but when do you think children should be allowed to network online?

Source: Consumer Reports, The Wall Street Journal


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