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Should kids be on Facebook?

At a time when parents are creating Facebook pages for their fetuses, the question seems almost quaint.

I have effectively kept my 12-year-old daughter off Facebook so far by employing my strongest parenting skills. Mainly delay and avoidance. "We'll see" and "Let's talk about it later" seem to be working for now.

But this school year, the issue is coming to a head because my daughter's 7th grade language arts teacher has created a Facebook page to discuss assignments and books. And in five months, my kid turns 13, the legal age for access to social networking sites.

Not that the law is stopping anybody. Technically, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act prohibits websites that gather data about users from allowing access to anyone younger than 13. In reality, though, Consumer Reports recently announced that more than 7.5 million minors under 13 actively use Facebook. And that's just the number of kids whose parents are aware of it.

I may be a horrible parent, but my resistance to signing my daughter up for Facebook really has nothing to do with concerns about sexual perverts stalking her online or the chance that she'll post something entirely inappropriate for all to see on her permanent record or that her Facebook use will make her more likely to drink, use illegal drugs and buy tobacco (as a recent report from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University claims).

I guess I should be concerned about all that, but mainly I don't want her on Facebook because it means that my adult swim time will be over.

Facebook is my playground. I don't want to have to think twice about something I post because my kid might see it. There are very few places in this world, virtual or real, where moms can go and be our adult selves. I am constantly policing what I say and do because I know my kids are watching and it's important for me to set a good example. With kids swarming on Facebook, I'm no longer a 46-year-old woman with my own thoughts, likes, posts and links. I'm just a mom again.

That leaves me only two choices: Head to Google+ or start hanging out in R-rated movies.

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