Seth

May 24, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Are You Facebook Friends With Your Child’s Friend?

It happened two days ago and I am still pondering what to do about it.  I didn’t have a plan for this, but mostly because I thought I had more time.  That is the age old parental mantra.  I didn’t it expect for this to happen so soon!  But there it was, on the screen of my smartphone.  You have a new friend request.

I opened the friend request and it was not a high school classmate, a summer co-worker from college or even a blogging cohort.  It was one of my 5th grade son’s friends.  And I don’t know what to do.  I am left scrambling to come up with a policy for something I thought was a couple of years off.

I am not stingy in the Facebook friend department.  I rarely deny a friend request.  My criteria being mostly if we’ve known each other in real life.  I blog, and I have a Facebook page primarily for those I know casually online.  I keep my personal page for, well, the personal. My life is lived on a rather big scale.  I have childhood friends that I have known for decades.  I have people I have worked with over the years at different summer camps.  I even have many Facebook friends of the teenage variety, having run a Christian camp for years and now a youth group as well.

But none of these facets of my personality represented in my Facebook mosaic address this particular relationship.  What does one do when a friend of your child, with whom you have no prior relationship other than the occassional “Hi Mrs. Desrochers”?

There are advantages and disadvantages.  I am kind of intrigued by the prospect of knowing his friends a little better.  Seeing the exchanges on the Wall.  I am also leery of them going through all of my pictures and all of my statuses.  Not that there are embarrassing tells of either myself or Seth, but because I then have no control of where they go.

Even more so this is an indicator that it is time to pull back a bit with what I share on my own personal Facebook page.  A few months ago I started to do the same with tidbits about Seth here on the blog.  It started the day after Seth’s classmates discovered my site through a Google image search of his name during computer lab.  He has grown.  He is more and more his own person.  A separate entity outside of our family unit.  And I have to respect that.

My instinct is to go with a “No”.  But what would you do or have done?  What guidelines do you have in regards to Facebook and your child’s friends?

6 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I would ignore it and if it was brought up to my attention I would explain the reasons.

    The other thing you can do is accept the request but change your settings so that he/she cannot see your postings or your albums. The only way that they have access is by you removing the privacy settings. Might not be a bad way to track your child in the long run.

    But why do 5th grade kids have FB accounts. Bad parenting. Think when they are in H.S. it is okay but in elementary school? They should be busy studying or involved in other activities. Just saying!

  2. I agree with you that a 5th grader does not belong on FB. Here they are finishing their first year of Middle School, so I think they have that tween mindset already. But Seth will not have an account for some time still.

  3. My policy is if I feel like I'd have to police myself on Facebook because of the “friend,” I deny the request. I was yelled at awhile back by a “friend” because I used the “F” word in a status when I was in a realllllllly bad mood. I wasn't friends with any kids, but this woman apparently let her granddaughter use her Facebook page, and she was angry with me. I told her flat out that there's a reason I was friends with adults and not kids . . . that was HER responsibility to check up on what the kid was doing, not mine. But it's because of that that I really curtail who I will let friend me. I don't want another parent yelling at me for something I say. . .

  4. My instinct is a no on that as well. I didn't even let my kids have an FB account until they were in high school, so that would be pretty hypocritical of me to friend someone who was younger than that age. lol

  5. Once upon a time I was a teacher. I have been FB requested by past students. I had them as 2nd and 3rd graders! Since they are still minors, I decided not to accept their friend request. My eldest is only in the first grade. He does not have a FB page. I am not sure what I would do in your situation!

  6. I would say No. I have a 15 yr old daughter and there is no way I would be friends with her classmates or friends period. Seems weird for that to even happen in the first place.

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