Letter to My Kids About Facebook "Friends"

Jun 16, 2014

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Andrew and Allie,

Facebook friends are not always as they seem.

Last year, our software manager, Michael, decided to create an account on Facebook to help us test our software integration with Facebook. 

Michael opened a new account for a fictitious girl. He named her Savannah and he posted a profile pic that he found using a web search. The photo showed a very pretty girl on a beach in a bikini.  (I don’t know why Michael chose it.)  And, Savannah’s Facebook profile indicated that she is 14 years old.  

Michael decided to accept all “friend” requests—from anyone. In a few months, there were more than 500 requests. Savannah (really Michael) never posted comments on her wall and never replied to messages.  In essence, Savannah’s Facebook page was really empty.

Also within a few months, Savannah’s wall had many inappropriate and vulgar comments from the “friends” that Michael accepted.  There were also sexually explicit comments from others (non-friends).  Savannah received hundreds of private messages that included vulgarity and sexually explicit propositions.

Many of Savannah’s new Facebook “friends” turned out to be adult men, ranging in age from 20 to 60. And this happened in spite of the fact that her profile shows her age as 14 years old.

I’m telling you this because you need to know that there are good people (real friends) on Facebook, but there are also thousands of people who don’t really care about you or your feelings.   Please be careful who you choose to ‘friend’.  Make sure you really know the person.  

I love you!