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My Facebook Dilemma

Facebook.  Love it or hate it, social networking through the world wide web is here to stay.  You can get Linkedin or Stumble Upon a bunch of stuff.  You can add de.lic.ious to your profile or simply Digg it.  I get a headache just thinking about all the ways people can reach out and connect with one another.  Oh- I forgot My Space….among the myriad of other networking sites available today.

Today’s post, however, is dedicated to Facebook.  I admit it- I love Facebook.  I use it all the time to keep in touch w/friends and family.  I also use it to communicate with people regarding my blog, speaking engagements and my book.  It’s a fun way for me to reach out, and while others want to keep as much of their lives private as possible, I have really enjoyed reacquainting myself with former friends and colleagues.

So herein lies my dilemma.  I now have current/former students and nieces/nephews sending me friend requests.  This is where it gets sticky.  I have a general policy that I do not allow people under the age of 18 to be my friends.  I do this because I believe it is vital that educators keep a healthy distance from their students.  While living in Florida, a week didn’t go by without some splashy headline about a female teacher who had been caught in a sexual relationship w/one of her students or a male teacher who was caught trading grades for sex.  Ewww!

With regards to my nieces and nephews, I also want to maintain a buffer zone.  I do not want them knowing too much about my personal life…outside of what they see at family gatherings and on vacation.  I feel this way because I am in a position to influence their lives and perhaps, some of their future decisions.  I believe that children need to understand that there is a difference between adults and kids- that we’re not on the same level and that no, they CANNOT call me by my first name.  In fact, while I’m on the subject, I don’t think that children should ever call adults by their first name.  There, I said it.  However, I digress.

What I’d really like is to hear from you, both parents and educators.  Do I really have a dilemma, or should I just loosen up?  Am I being overly dramatic?  Old fashioned?  What is your policy for social media?  Do you have one at all?

Happy typing!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

jenn November 2, 2010 at 11:12 pm

I’m with ya. I don’t even accept friend invites from college students.

Children should not use adults first names. Bad.

Maybe a separate page like a fan page (or are there groups now?) where your students and other young’ns can bond with you on FB but from a distance. A place where you can set the privacy to to just that group? I’m not sure how it works but I agree, to have them in the general pool of friends is a little to familiar.


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