Friend Requests

We teach our children to watch out for bullying at school.  We teach our children to choose their friends carefully.  We teach our children to be wary of strangers.  We teach our children about the dangers of the Internet.  We teach our children about the dangers associated with social networking sites.

We teach our children a lot of important things to keep them safe.

I’ve noticed a trend on social networking sites among a sub-set of adult users when it comes to asking to be added to someone’s “Friend” list.  It’s a trend that flies in the face of everything we teach our children about safety first and it’s disturbing in that those who do not conform are then made to feel that there will be recriminations or repercussions for not conforming.

What I’m talking about are those social networking site users who ask to be added to your list and when asked by the individual why they want to be added, the response from the person making the request is, at best, inappropriate.

It doesn’t matter how many “friends” you and the other person may have in common.  That doesn’t automatically mean that you must accept their request to be added to your list.

It doesn’t matter if you have “similar” interests.  Those interests may be centered around similar subjects but just because there is a mutual interest in similar subjects does not automatically qualify the other person as someone you must add to your list.

If the other person initiates contact, the recipient of that contact is fully within his or her rights to respond and ask questions of that person that pertain to the person’s request to be added.  And therein begins the disconcerting trend that’s taking root on social networking sites these days.

I believe in the adage, “You’re known by the company you keep.”  I believe in asking qualifying questions before making decisions.

Unfortunately, the latest “friend request” trend taking hold on social networking sites comes with a nasty backlash.  If you dare ask qualifying questions, you had best be ready for a nasty response from the party initiating the request.

We model behaviours for our children.  If we allow others to “guilt” us into accepting people onto our lists, what are we teaching our children?

We are teaching our children that bullying isn’t something to worry about, especially when the danger of bullying is right there. 

We are teaching our children that it’s not that important to choose friends carefully. 

We are teaching our children they don’t need to be wary of strangers. 

We are teaching our children that the dangers of the Internet only apply to others and not to them. 

We are teaching our children that the dangers associated with social networking sites only apply to others and not to them.

We are teaching our children to throw caution to the wind, to endanger themselves and to be sheeple rather than self-reliant individuals.

So for those of you who are reading this blog and who would like to have me add you to my list on one of the social networking sites to which I belong, please remember that asking questions is not a negative reflection on you.  Asking questions, when no offence is taken, is a positive reflection on both of us.

What do you want your children to learn from your behaviours on social networking sites?

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2 Responses to “Friend Requests”

  1. renaissanzelady Says:

    Elise:
    you brought forward some valid warnings; and not just for those who may be modeling behaviors for children but for those of us without young children.
    Maybe those who cave in to pressure to become some one’s friend on the internet lack the courage to stand up to others in the ‘real world’ also??
    And hopefully your post will challenge us all to think and examine before we give in to a request to allow someone into our lives.

    rl

  2. William Says:

    Good post. Not all parents are easy on allowing friends either in real life or online but many are. I’m sure there are also a lot of parents out there who buy into the line of “there’s good in everyone” and to give people a chance. A neighbor some years back tried that here and the kids his kids “befriended” paid back the kindness by breaking in and robbing them blind while they were on vacation. That may be an extreme example, but bad choices could also lead to a criminal record, drug use, etc.


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