Adults Having Children & Teens as Facebook Friends

I’m relatively new to facebook - I’ve had a profile for about 3 weeks now. I’ve met up with old friends from college, as well as added as friends several adults who I know from church.

Therein lies the problem: a lot of those adults have kids (children and teens) that I know from my involvement with the children’s and youth ministries at my church. Many of those kids have asked me to be their friends via facebook.

I’m conflicted. On the one hand, I really don’t think adults and children/teens should be having contact with one another via the internet; at least, not without said child/teen’s parents involved. On the other hand, confirming someone as a friend via facebook is, in a lot of ways, completely meaningless unless you plan to have a lot of contact (via e-mail, wall-to-wall posts, etc) with that person, and I certainly don’t plan to have contact with kids & teens.

My fear is that one of those kids’ parents will check the kid’s facebook friends, see my name there, and… awkward questions. Mrs. Homie says I’m blowing this out of porportion, and I should just accept the friend requests and then do nothing.

What say you?

Accept the friend requests. This is not a big deal. Don’t send any untoward messages or wallposts and you’ll be fine.

Yeah, I worked at a summer theatre camp with teens last year and they all friended me on Facebook. It seemed weird at first, but honestly, it hasn’t been a big deal. Every now and then I get a “Hey how r u OMG!!1” wall post, and I just tell them what’s new and that’s that.

I posted something along the same lines a few months back, and the consensus was similar; don’t worry about it. So far it hasn’t been a problem.

If it unsettles you, why not ask their parents what they feel about it next time you see them at church? Send a message to the kid, “Hey, I’d love to add you as soon as I check with your folks that it’s okay!” in the meantime.

It’s also a status thing to have as many “friends” as possible.

Face it, you’re a notch. :smiley:

I think this is not at all the case. I love Facebook because it provides a nice level of minimal contact. Almost all my friends are former students and by skimming my newsfeed I have some vague idea of their lives: they stay in my memory and I notice when they graduate or get married or have babies or move and I get to see the occasional picture but I don’t have to put a lot of work into it. That’s exactly what I want!

I have one teenager on my flist - someone I taught at an English conversation camp in summer 2007. Honestly, I had her on my list for a couple weeks before I realized who she was.

It’s REALLY not a big deal to me because she posts in Serbian, which I don’t speak. (No, there is absolutely no point in being Facebook friends with her.)

Still, it wouldn’t occur to me that anyone would think it’s untoward in some way.

I just don’t see the big deal here at all.

It’s like you are upset about the people that will draw wrong conclusions, but in response to that you are sort of pre-emptively drawing wrong conclusions (or something). My thought here isn’t well-formed, I know, I just think that the attitude of the OP is also part of the problem.

Heh, I post adult topics and stuff, and a lot of my friends do too. THat would be the main concern.

Maybe it’s just me, but that strikes me as creepier than just accepting the request (or ignoring it, for that matter). Why go out of your way to suggest that association with you could potentially be a bad thing?

Because the best way to make sure children grow up into healthy, well adjusted adults is to make sure they have absolutely NO communication - not even in text form - with adults until they turn 18.

Adults are BAD, mmmmkay?

There is a limited-profile function, which would allow you to limit what the kids see. I use that a lot; I’m a college student but my summer job involves working with high school kids in a rather conservative area, so I’d rather the kids don’t see Facebook pictures of me drinking (legally, but still) at parties or something like that.

And the minimum-fuss approach here is probably to accept their friend requests but never seek a kid out for a friend request; to post on their wall or comment on their pictures only when they’ve done the same to you, and reply politely to any messages they send you but don’t initiate those messages. Actually, that’s a good way to sum it up- don’t initiate anything on Facebook, and you’ll be fine.

Seconded. That sounds much creepier than either of the options given in the OP.

Awkward questions such as…? I’m drawing a blank here. “Why are you Facebook friends with my kid?” That one? That’s not awkward. The answer is “because he/she added me as a friend and I confirmed.” Next?

Just accept the request. It’s not a big deal at all, and definitely not worth the thought exercise you’re putting yourself through.

How does that suggest it’s a bad thing? It suggests that parents should be kept in the loop, that’s all.

On a related note, it’s recently come to my attention that a young woman (14?) of my acquaintance has her entire phone number, address and name - first and last - on her Facebook. Should I tell her parents about it? It strikes me as really throwing caution to the wind, and I’m not really all that paranoid about privacy on the internet. OTOH, she does have to approve anyone before they can see all that, so I’m not sure if it really is dangerous or not.

As a parent, I hold the adults in my kids’ lives to a certain standard of behavior, and I’d expect if they were on my kid’s Facebook, they’d at least consider giving me a heads up if they saw something dangerous, stupid or illegal there. So there’s that angle to consider - by making them your Friends, you may open yourself up to accusations of indifference or neglect, not outright inappropriateness.

atomicbadgerrace, I’m thinking questions more along the lines of, “Why didn’t you tell us she was drinking/lost her virginity/was being tormented at school if it was on her Facebook and you were her Friend?” not “Are you a perv or something?”

Sorry for my ignorance, but doesn’t Facebook keep a cache somewhere of messages sent and received? As a parent, I think that it’s important for my kids to have other adult role models in their lives. Even if I was worried about the aduls in their lives, I would think that my fears would be eased if I could review the old messages.

In that case, I think the answer is just as simple. “Because it’s not my job to police the activities of your kid.” YMMV, of course, but I think it boils down to: if you’re putting this much thought into it, perhaps you can’t handle the situation. Just ignore the request – better to have the awkward “why’d you refuse my friendship?” conversation than the “why didn’t you tell me my kid was sleeping with every boy in school” convo, right?

Facebook, like most other messaging applications I’ve run into online, keeps copies of your sent and received messages, until you delete them. IMHO, if your trust in your kid is such that he/she needs to have his/her messages followed up on and reviewed by you, then he/she probably shouldn’t be allowed on Facebook in the first place.

If I “ignore” a friend request, that person doesn’t know that he’s been “ignored,” right (she asked hopefully?)

Well, they aren’t alerted that you’ve declined, no. However, if they go back and search you again, they can figure it out.

When you run a search and see someone you’d like to add, you get a “Add as friend” link. When you’ve requested to be their friend, that link turns into “Friend requested.” Ergo, if she’s requested to add you, then searches you again, sees that the “Add as friend” link is back, yet you aren’t her friend, then she’ll know you’ve ignored her request.

Make sense?

My question is why would a grown adult have a facebook page at all? Isn’t that basically for teenage girls?

If you are going to keep one of these pages, I think the best policy is to keep your distance from other people’s kids.