General Question

Aethelwine's avatar

Is it common for grade school girls to send Facebook friend requests to the parents of their friends?

Asked by Aethelwine (42953points) June 29th, 2014

I’ve received two friend requests this past week from friends/classmates of my daughter. These girls are 10 years old and I have not met their parents yet. I did accept a friend request from another friend of hers, but she’s a closer friend and I know her mother.

I find it odd that a parent would let their child send a request to an adult they haven’t met. I would not want my daughter doing this if she had her own account. I’m wondering if I should accept the requests? Does this happen often with grade school children and pre-teens?

There is one thing to consider. It’s possible the friend requests were accidental. I was tagged in a group photo of the girls and it’s possible one of the girls was browsing my timeline and accidentally hit “Add Friend”. I’ve done that once or twice myself, possibly more that I’m not aware of.

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17 Answers

whitenoise's avatar

It’s not.

In fact, children under thirteen are not allowed to have a facebook page, according to facebook. They believe it is in a child’s best interest not to allow them an account at too early an age.

I don’t think you can do much about it, but I wouldn’t accept the requests.

From facebook :

Facebook requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account (in some jurisdictions, this age limit may be higher). Creating an account with false info is a violation of our terms. This includes accounts registered on the behalf of someone under 13.

If your underage child created an account on Facebook, you can show them how to delete their account.

If you’d like to report an account belonging to someone under 13, please fill out [a] form. Note that we’ll promptly delete the account of any child under the age of 13 that’s reported to us through this form.

reporting one of your children’s friends would not make you, or your child very popular, though. I guess.

longgone's avatar

I think it is pretty common. There are lots of kids under 13 on FB. I have received quite a few requests from young children – classmates of my sister, and neighbourhood kids. Some were as young as nine. I accepted them if I knew the kids personally.

I think you stated, a while back, that your daughter was not to spend time on Facebook on her own. I think that’s vital, at her age, but many parents don’t. There is a good chance the girls’ parents have no idea what their children are doing.

I would message the girls, kindly explaining that you only accept friend requests of people you know very well. Have you even met the two?. I would also PM the parents, just so they know.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to risk hurting their feelings – friend them. I still would PM their parents.

Vincentt's avatar

It happens more often. My mother was a primary school teacher, and she’d not only get friend requests from her students, but also from those students’ siblings who she’d never or hardly ever met. Mostly she’d just let them sit, I believe. It’s mostly harmless I think.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t have children, but my guess is very young children want to friend everyone they know. They don’t think like teens who might not want the parents knowing everything they post, and they would not see it as odd to want to say “hi” to Sally’s mommy. In their innocent minds I would figure making friends online is as natural as seeing you at your house at a birthday party for your daughter.

I do think parents should probably teach their children not to friend other adults except relatives, and parents should closely supervise the Facebook account.

I would ignore the friend request. If you feel motivated you might want to let the parents know,

trailsillustrated's avatar

it’s common and it’s a good thing. My kids are way older than 13 and perhaps do some very goofy things that they wouldn’t want parents to see, but I’m friends with enough of their friends to keep an eye. I’m never intrusive. You don’t need to interact with people on fb, but you can sort of see what’s going on, provided how they have their parameters set. I think the more adults friended on a kid’s fb is a good thing. You can always hide things you don’t want to see.

CWMcCall's avatar

I occasionally got them and just ignored them. IMO it is also not your job to police what other kids do. Facebook is a highly unique vehicle that you have before you as a window into what and who your child is doing and who they are hanging out with.

marinelife's avatar

It is not. My friend who was a parent of a high school girl had friend requests from his daughter’s whole circle.

Coloma's avatar

I wouldn’t know as I quit FB about 3 years ago. It seems par for the course, people fishing for as many “friends” as possible. I have never understood the whole FB scene quite frankly. I had a whopping 17 friends, all people I knew and associated with in real life. I think it’s silly, and I wouldn’t want my kids young friends friending me. It’s just stupid to have a list of 440 “friends.”

Aethelwine's avatar

@Coloma I have a niece who had over 1,000 fb “friends” before she graduated high school. She’s from a small farming community with a population under 500. I don’t see how this could be beneficial for a young girl or woman.

I agree with you @trailsillustrated that it can be a good thing if you know the child well and you know their parents. I think it means that they trust you, and that’s good.

@longgone I have met the two girls. I volunteer at the school and I’ve seen them at Girl Scout events, birthday parties and dance class. They aren’t besties with my daughter, but they are friends. I’ve never met their parents. I couldn’t even point out one of the parents in a crowd because I’ve never seen her before. Her daughter is always chauffeured by other parents.

I think I will leave the requests in limbo for now. That’s what I did with the one girl that I eventually accepted. I accepted the request when she questioned my daughter about it. I did not want to hurt her feelings.

GA’s everyone. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

RocketGuy's avatar

FB can be addicting to young tweens, and distract them from homework and chores. It is also a place where cyber-bullying, etc. can occur. Better to make your kids wait until they are >13 years old. My 14 year old daughter is easily distracted, so no FB for her yet.

Aethelwine's avatar

I agree with you @RocketGuy. It’s addicting enough for adults. Both my husband and I agree that 10 is too young to have a facebook account. Only a few of her friends have an account. I’m happy to see that not all parents are letting their children have one at such a young age.

I have another niece who just turned 12. My SIL let her create her own account a year ago. Just a few weeks ago my niece put her relationship status as “open”. She didn’t realize what it meant to have an open relationship. My SIL made a comment on the post the next morning telling everyone that she was aware of the post and unfortunately Facebook makes you wait 24 hours before you can change your status again. An embarrassing moment for a young girl was put on display for all her friends and family.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Yes. They send requests to everyone they know. Grade school kids shouldn’t even be on Facebook.

Haleth's avatar

For young people, friending someone on facebook is like saying hi.

Aethelwine's avatar

Tell that to my sons, @Haleth =)

(they are 20 and 22 and won’t even consider being fb friends with their parents, but that’s okay)

Haleth's avatar

@jonsblond Hahaha, with parents it’s a little different. My relatives all added me as friends on facebook, and that’s kind of a no-win situation. If I don’t add them, they’ll think I have something to hide, and ask questions like, “are you addicted to the marijuana?” But after adding them, they pop into conversations between me and friends.

Once I hadn’t seen a friend in person in a while, but I kept seeing her online. So I wrote a really quick message that said, ”~stalks you,~” with a picture of this lady. My grandma wrote under it, “Why are you stalking her? I don’t understand. Can you please explain???” My sister and one of her guy friends talk on there a lot, and everyone thinks they are going to end up dating. Another relative went into his profile and got a picture of him and posted it on her wall. She wrote a caption like, “Hubba hubba, women love a man in uniform! Isn’t that right, [my sister’s name?]” Or if they see me online, they’ll tell me to go to bed because it’s late, or ask if I’ve done my taxes or gone to the dentist, stuff like that. Bless their hearts.

For some young folks, facebook is like back in the day when you’d walk down your street and chat with everyone you knew. (My neighborhood is still like that, and it’s so cute and quaint but aaargh.) Others are paranoid and private about it, especially if their relatives are chatty and curious.

Aethelwine's avatar

For some young folks, facebook is like back in the day when you’d walk down your street and chat with everyone you knew. (My neighborhood is still like that, and it’s so cute and quaint but aaargh.

You are spot on! My old neighborhood was cute and quaint like that, but on a daily basis it can become annoying. There’s no privacy. I’m so happy living far from neighbors now.

Haleth's avatar

@jonsblond Here’s the kind of place my neighborhood is: everyone has dogs here, right? If someone doesn’t pick up their dog poop, either 1) another neighbor sees them from their window, or 2) people will figure out whose dog it is from the size of the poop. I swear to god. And then they leave passive-aggressive notes about it like, “I found a tiny poop on the corner of my property. Here are some baggies for your chihuahua, since you don’t seem to have any. Have a GREAT day, and God bless! -your neighbor.”

A couple years ago, I inherited a car. It was parked there for a few days before I could make it to the DMV. They asked me about it every day, “concerned” that someone would have it towed. Yeahhh.

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