I’ve noticed a new trend — younger and younger kids are on Facebook and they are trying to Friend me. At times these kids are as young as 8 and they are usually kids of my friends or relatives or friends of Ainsley’s.
I don’t Friend kids and I think all adults should strongly consider whether they should or not. (Personally, I don’t allow Ainsley to have a Facebook page for the reasons below, but that’s a parent’s call.)
- If you are my Facebook Friend then you probably know that I am likely to repost an off-color joke, not-for-kids essays that I might publish on The Girl Revolution, say something that might offend the kids parents or post an article on sexuality or some other issue that isn’t meant for a child audience. I don’t particularly want to change my FB habits.
- There are several hundred people on my FB page that I don’t personally know. They are people that I have networked with online. They are people who know me from this blog. They are people who have Friended me because I said something funny on one of their friend’s posts. These people often make inappropriate-for-children comments on my posts and the kids would read them.
- Any one of my Friends could be a child predator and could use my page to scout for kids. You never know. People are always shocked when they find out someone they know is a child molester. Someone could see a kid comment or like one of my posts or sift through my Friends list and ask a kid to Friend them.
- As much as we try to educate them, I don’t think kids are sophisticated enough to reject Friend requests, especially if the person seems innocuous and is flattering to them.
- Child predators often pose as kids and make friends with kids. Kids are not sophisticated enough to discern between a real kid and a fake kid. Sometimes parents aren’t either. These people are well-practiced in what they do.
- I’m not convinced that most parents are proactive enough in monitoring their kids online behavior.
- I don’t want to be responsible kids’ Internet safety, except my own.
- I don’t want to be a negative or questionable influence in a kid’s life. As I said, I don’t want to censor myself for kids. If an adult is offended by my comments then I trust them to UnFriend me or block my comments. I don’t trust kids to be smart enough to be offended by inappropriate content.
- As a parent, I would be concerned if my children were friending a bunch of adults, save Grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins.
- I don’t particularly want to engage with children online. I enjoy the conversation of adults.