My daughter wants her own Facebook page. Desperately. All her friends are on there, and they're tweeting, too, so I am told.

She might well be right. In a February 2010 study, Pew Research found 73 percent of wired American teens now use social networking sites, up from 55 percent in 2006.

But I'm not convinced. Despite the requisite security software I keep on her computer and the white lie that "I know everything you do on the Internet," throughout the social networking world there are many risks, from clicking on attractive-looking but misdirecting hyperlinks to divulging personal information that could put her in danger. I'm not sure how to balance those risks against the personal reward she would gain from using social networking.

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