(Photo courtesy of clker.com clip art/Bing)
My daughter is 10 years old and just completed 4th grade at a progressive, private school in Los Angeles. Lately, I’ve been astounded to see how many of her classmates have their own Facebook pages.
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 9 years old. I’m Facebook “friends” with his dad, so I accepted the request, not remembering that Facebook has a rule that a person has to be at least 13 years old use the social media network. A few months later, a friend of mine posted something very personal and upsetting about issues her son was dealing with. Uncomfortable with a 9 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.
Needless to say, my daughter doesn’t have a Facebook page. But, a bunch of her classmates do and their parents think it’s really cool. They allow their kids to “friend” adults, who, without wanting to hurt their feelings, accept the “friend” request.
A mom friend called me recently to say that one of her son’s 5th grade classmates was her Facebook “friend” and was telling everyone at school about her posts—pictures of her son. Her son was being ridiculed at school and stopped allowing his mom to take any photos of him, fearing she’d post them on Facebook. I suggested she “de-friend” this kid after calling his mom.
I have no interest in being Facebook “friends” with kids! Why do some parents think it’s acceptable to allow their elementary schoolers to “friend” grown-ups? Do they think this makes their kids trend-setting hipsters? Are they trying to accelerate their kid’s march into tweendom? Do their kids Tweet too?
I like the digital age, smart technology and the zillions of gadgets out there and so do my kids. My daughter has email—she can email a list of approved friends-- and they both have iPads.
But, my kids will need to wait to have a Facebook page and when they do, they won’t be “friending” grown-ups. I’m not worried about the “cool” factor. They’ll be on Facebook when I think they’re ready for the responsibility, whether they think I’m being a “cool mom” or not.
Facebook is a fun place for me to connect with friends, post photos and share moments without worrying about the rumor mill at my kids school the next day!