My first encounter with kids on Facebook happened a year ago when one of the boys in my daughter’s class sent me a “friend” request on Facebook. He was nine years old. I’m Facebook “friends” with one of his dads, so I accepted the request. A few months later, a friend of mine posted something very personal and upsetting about issues her son was dealing with. Uncomfortable with a nine-year-old seeing this, I called his dad and explained that I would be “de-friending” him.
I later found out this classmate of my daughter’s was bragging to her and other kids at school that he was on my Facebook page. I had unknowingly embarrassed my daughter.
I like the digital age, smart technology, and the zillions of gadgets out there, and so do my kids. My daughter has email, and she can email a list of approved friends.
However, I have no interest in being Facebook friends with kids, and it has me wondering: are you guys Facebook friends with kids? — Christina Simon
Are you “friends” with any of your children’s classmates or your friend’s kids?
Comments on How do you feel about being Facebook friends with kids?
I’m pretty sure I’d never friend a 9-year-old! You’re supposed to be 12 or 13 to use Facebook, younger kids have to lie while setting up their accounts. There’s a reason for not allowing 9-year-olds on social networks – it’s not safe. There are networks just for kids, though in reality they should probably just network outside on the playground! What does a 9-year-old need Facebook for?
The age requirement isn’t about safety; it’s about being legally able to agree to the user terms. I certainly agree that kids shouldn’t be on social networks and should be interacting with friends in real life, but thought it was worth mentioning that FB policies aren’t based on a benevolent goal to ensure safety.
Yes, I am! I’m friends with a couple of my daughter’s friends on Facebook. They’re her best friends, and they’re almost like second daughters to me. They’re all 16 though, so it’s not too strange. I think it might be kind of weird if they were younger, like under 13. At one point, my daughter’s boyfriend added me, but he deleted me after they broke up, lol!
Yes I am in the same situation. I don’t see it as wrong. My daughters best friends call me mom. It has actually brought my daughter and I closer bc it brings up many situations that come up on FB.
There are two groups of people I won’t add on facebook: bosses and friends’ kids. I don’t know that I even thought it through; I just had an instinctive negative reaction to the idea of socially networking with children.
I am friends with some of my friends’ kids, which is a slightly different question. I always check with their parents before accepting their friend requests. They’re all in high school. I think it provides a bit of a moderating influence when they know unrelated adults are reading their page. I don’t typically comment on their posts — I feel like I’m an adult observer in a teen space, not a participant — but I do have them in my newsfeed.
I don’t really do super-personal stuff or charged political stuff in my own newsfeed; more family updates and is anyone going to the concert this weekend? so I’m not worried about what they’ll see from me.
I would not friend a 9-year-old. And I’d think hard about friending a minor without the parents’ permission generally. Your kid’s longtime best friend is one thing; random classmates seems like a not-so-good idea.
I’m friends with my nephew on facebook, but since he’s 2, it probably doesn’t count. I do know some people who’ve allowed thier kids to have profiles, but I don’t think I’m cool enough for kids to want me on thier friends list.
My only really young Facebook friend is my 11 year old nephew. Since his parents allow him to watch R-rated movies, I figure he’s not going to get anything via my Facebook feed that is worse than that. However, my concern for kids comes more from what I might say–many of my posts are PG-13, to continue with the rating metaphor–and I don’t need kids saying, “Oh, I learned about that from…”
Being fb friends with kids makes me a little anxious– mostly because I feel like my FB account is MY space and, being 24, there are things i can do and say that I wouldn’t want the children to be exposed to. I may friend children (with their parents’ permission) if I can ever figure out how to put people on “limited profile.”
My brother and sister are teenagers, and their friends requested to be friends on FB. At first I refused, but they kept sending requests. Ultimately, I made a list for them, and we are “friends,” but their access to my page is very restricted. I hide them from my newsfeed since I don’t really want to know what teenagers are doing every minute of the day.
Even after they graduate high school, they’ll probably stay on this restricted list unless we become friends in real life. I have a similar list for high school classmates who I haven’t kept in touch with.
I’m friends with my 15 year old son, 14 year old nephew and nieces aged 16 and 17.
They get annoyed with me for telling them off for swearing in their status updates.
haha yeah my teenage cousins give me grief when I call them out for inappropriate junk they put on Facebook. I usually say something like, “What if a college admissions officer or a future boss saw this!” and then they call me whatever the modern equivalent of a square is.
Not a parent, but an aunt:
I am “friends” with my two oldest nephews, on Facebook. I am “friends” with my oldest nephew’s best friend, as I have spent time with the two of them together, and they are both 13. I also did some volunteer work in their classroom, and two of their other classmates added me. They’re good kids. But, that said, I did edit my privacy settings so that any of these “Wee Ones”, as I like to call them, can only see my information and MY status updates. Anything else, they are not able to see. That includes pics I have been tagged in by other people (only the ones I have posted myself), any posts from friends that may not be for Wee Ears, etc.
I’ve yet to have a problem with it.
ETA: I’m the “cool 19 year old aunt who wears a leather jacket and goes to punk concerts”, so that tends to help my nephew’s school cred more than provide for teasing material. *;) Maybe they’re afraid I’ll show up and put them in a trash can if they tease him. Hah!
It came in handy to be “friends” with my one of my friends daughter. She’s 13 going on 20 years:) She generally posts updates that are very angsty and self-destructive. I informed her mother and they are putting her back in counseling for cutting herself. I don’t think I “saved her” by any means but I’d like to think that I helped the family reach a consensus in this situation.
With that said, I’ve already told my son that he can’t have a facebook page til 16 years old. I think he needs to learn safe real life ways of socializing first. He’s 10 yo now. I can’t imagine him navigating social sites knowlagibly w/in the cyber world where “rules” are almost non-existant.
My sis reported to a friend when her 13yo reported he had “phatty buds for sale!” on fb! The parents immediately took his page down and implamented cause and affect on this young one. No phatty buds were found, by-the-by.
It’s a double edge sword!
No, absolutely not. Not gonna happen. I also refuse to friend relatives who are children. Or many relatives who are adults, for that matter..
Noooooooooooooooooooooo. I dont think kids should be on facebook! So no, I wont friend them because I wont curb my language or content for their benefit.
I work as a sports coach, and many of my students are my Facebook friends. That said, I require them to be 13 before I will add them, because that is Facebook’s minimum age requirement.
Turning the question on its head a bit, would I be okay with my kid being Facebook friends with my friends? It’s a long way off, as the Tadpole is still in utero, but as it stands I am in the process of figuring out which friends I want my kid around at all. I imagine that I wouldn’t have a problem with my kid being FB friends with the friends of mine who will continue to be a part of my life.
I have a few facebook friends that are teens(my cousin’s stepdaughter, my future stepkids, some kids I went on a trip with from my parent’s church) however I use facebooks custom settings liberally for them just like I do for friends and relatives of my fiance that I haven’t met in real life.
i am friends with 2 of my daughters friends on FB. they are all 14 years old. its nice most the time because it puts me as an observer of what they are doing and such, which is nice. and their parents equally are friends with my daughter. i kind of like the extra eyes on my not so sneaky teenager 🙂
Just wanted to add: my theatre teacher from high school had a rule about adding students. Your friend requests would be swiftly & immediately rejected if you had not already graduated, and if you weren’t 18. Once you passed both of those milestones, he was happy to add you and correspond with you.
This! (clicking the thumb doesn’t appear to work)
I thought that Facebook now had “group” privacy settings — so you could control who sees what. Can anybody elaborate on that? Would that apply here? Are they easy to use or do they quickly become a chore?
The UIs in these articles may be outdated, but as far as I know, the features are still available. Read and review!
At http://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=privacy, use the Custom settings to block certain lists or individuals from seeing or doing X, Y, or Z on your profile. Also use View Settings>Preview My Profile to check, if you’re not sure, whether Mom can see your latest photo album.
It’s really easy to create a filter to divide groups of people on your friendslist. Just make a smaller list (or more than one) and assign friends to it.
You can filter *incoming* content to avoid seeing status updates from your list at large — put your 20 best buds on a list and then use that as your news feed. Put your family members on another list and switch over to that to see what’s up with distant cousins before you head to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving.
You can also filter *outgoing* content to protect sensitive eyes/ears. I have one list for my older or more distant family members and their friends, for example — my aunt and uncle don’t need to see party photos my friends tagged, or be able to comment on everything my coworkers post on my Wall. If you want, you can even post status updates that are visible only to some people or some list(s). (That’s a quick recipe for drama if you don’t say that right out, though! Let people know that the status is Bridesmaids Only or what-have-you.) You can use this feature to filter out younger friends, or more prudish ones, and censor yourself less in your updates.
While I don’t do anything on Facebook that I would be ashamed to own up to on the front page of the Times, I accept that stuff happens in a semi-public forum that I can’t control. I control my own actions, and when I can’t control other people’s, I filter them out so they don’t affect certain sensitive eyes.
Thanks for the info, PlanningAhead.
It sounds like Facebook gives you a lot of tools to gate your content.
Yes, Facebook does have the tools, but you really have to click around a bit and try different setting before you find them! When you google ‘privacy settings facebook’ you can find a lot of instructions (and videos) how to set them up.
I do a lot of photo sharing on Facebook, and I use this list function like crazy. Facebook works because so many family members are on there, all in one place. So, I have lists for different family groups, and differing levels of friendship. Even my closest friends don’t want to see photos of Grandma’s 80th birthday, even if I feel comfortable with it.
It does take a little to get used to Facebook’s settings, and they frequently change them, so you need to stay on top of them. Somewhere in the privacy settings, you can view your own profile as an individual friend sees it. That way, you can test your preferences and lists to see that they are working.
I don’t let anyone see photos that other people have tagged of me, because I have no control over that.
I filter my posts for the relatives that are too nosey and not very friendly. Its not a large list but sure makes things more pleasant. Its so helpful though, having my whole family right there to talk to.
If they’re someone I’ve ever had to watch my language/thoughts around then I don’t add them. This includes many relatives, co-workers (both mine and my husbands’) and children.
I don’t think that kids that young should have a Facebook! Or be spending that much time on the inernet. It is one thing to use the internet as a learning tool for certain things and with parental supervision, but not for social networking. I mean come on, who does a 9 year old socalize online with anyway? At that age it should be about family and friends they probably see at school EVERYDAY anyway.
My younger nephew, that I mentioned earlier, created his Facebook when he was 10, without our permission. He had asked us before to help him make one, and we told him no, & that he had to wait until his thirteenth birthday, just like his older brother. But, sure enough, a week after my older nephew’s 13th birthday, there pops up younger nephew.
The difference? Younger nephew lives with mom, who said it was okay. We weren’t happy with it, but the damage was done, and we watch his wall to ensure he behaves himself. Any inappropriate info/pics/behavior is reported to mom, and we will be swift in shutting down his page. But he is pretty good with it, actually (he is now almost twelve). He pretty much just uses it to pass notes with classmates (yes, almost his entire class is on Facebook – don’t get me started on that), keep in touch with me & his dad, and the big, main one: play games.
I try not to be friends with anyone on facebook that I’m not friends with in real life. If there was a nine year old I’d willingly hang out with in real life, I’d absolutely add them on facebook.
I am not, and I seriously doubt that I ever would be. A few of my friends with kids are pretty strict christians, and as a vocally pro-choice atheist – well, things can get a bit, um, uncomfortable.
My husband is a high school teacher, so though our kids are small (under the preschool set), we have a steadfast rule about no kids under 18 unless we’re related to them. If they’re my husband’s students, they have to have graduated. It’s just safer that way for everyone — no implications of improper relationships or students knowing too much of our personal lives, etc. A lot of them know where we live, and that’s problematic enough.
Interesting comments! Even though FB does have a minimum age requirements, I know kids as young as 7 who are on FB with their own pages. And, the parents think it’s cool. I won’t be accepting friend requests from any more kids. Maybe I’ll re-think this when my kids are a lot older…
Comments are closed.