Facebook aunt/niece argument

Ok, I want some opinions on this. I think I’m on the right position morally, but would appreciate any opinions on that. I am more looking for how to proceed.

My wife’s aunt recently decided to create a facebook account. She added me as a friend and I accepted (we get along well).

Her 11 year old daughter (niece) then created a page and requested to add me as a friend. I have not (and don’t intend to) accept the request. For the record, I also get along well with her.

So her aunt is talking to me last night and asks me if I got Ashley’s friend request. I told her that I did but I have not added her. She asks me why. I told her that I didn’t want Ashley knowing everything about my adult life. She asked me just what kind of “adult” material I was putting up. I said that I’m not (and with my wife being one of my friends, I’d really have a problem if I did). So I repeated that I just don’t want her knowing that much about my adult life. I get the response back “oh.” Then a few minutes later “it’s not like she’s gonna investigate you, just wants to chat now and then.”

I personally feel that 11 is too young to have a facebook account (especially considering that her mother has brought her “sexy” underwear and told her to hide them so her father didn’t see (I personally witnessed this)). And my wife told me that she’s referred to Ashley as her “sexy daughter.” So I feel that this is a further reason she should not be on facebook (again, in my opinion only).

However, it is not my place to tell her how to raise her daughter. I could tell by the conversation that she was upset/and or didn’t understand where I was coming from. How should I proceed when we talk again?

Suggest you both get Aim buddy accounts and then you can “chat” that way.

I agree. It’s not for someone that young to be “friends” and have a window into your adult world. There used to be boundaries between children and adults. Children had to earn the right to sit at the adult table and listen and talk. They did it by growing up.

This mom is in too much of a hurry for her daughter to grow up. That’s a whole 'nuther problem.

If it’s really about “chatting” and being closer to you, email and AIM should be sufficient.

I would suggest also if you all want family contact, to set up a Yuku style message board and have all the family members join. Then they can have a big conversation on all subjects and people can post pictures at will and communicate that way. Apart from your friends and co-workers. Just family.

Instead of saying you wouldn’t want the daughter knowing everything about you, how about turning it around. You don’t agree with a child having a facebook account and you don’t want to encourage the child by adding her to your list. :shrug:

Do the Facebook terms of service allow those under the age of 13 to legitimately have an account?

My thoughts are that your decision about adding your young relative ought to be consistent with the way you handle other friend requests. Have you had opportunity to refrain from adding other minors to your list of friends?

I’ve made a point of not sending friend requests to any of my nieces and nephews unless they are adults and blood relatives (as opposed to relatives by marriage.)

Facebook, what a mixed blessing…on one hand it can be a great tool to keep in touch with far away friends, but on the other it can cause a lot of headaches.

I always think about my facebook account in this manner. If you are not someone I would have taken the effort to type an e-mail to, or pick up the phone and call, you don’t need to be on my facebook account. I only really use it to keep track of a couple friends whose work takes them out of the country a lot. I certainly don’t have 100+ friends. Come to think of it who actually has 100+ close friends who want or care to be kept up to date on the minute by minute, day by day things in their life.

You should not feel guilty for not wanting to friend someone if you don’t want to. I have several family members who are upset with me because I won’t friend them on facebook (even though I have explained that my account is only for the purpose of keeping track of a select few overseas friends) and won’t start a “baby blog” with pictures of my expanding tummy on it. I keep telling them they will survive and this woman and her daughter will too. You are right that there are lots of adult topics that an 11 year doesn’t need to be involved in, and I am not talking about “adult” topics.

Besides this woman is calling her 11 year old daughter “the sexy one”, buying her inappropriate underwear, telling her to hide it, and is upset that an adult married man did not friend her online…sounds like there are way more issues there than facebook.

You’re right. She shouldn’t be having a FB account anyway and lied when she said she was 13 or older. Your DH doesn’t need to encourage that.

Dear AHapka,
I do agree with you! I would not accept her on your account! An 11 year old really does not need to be on Facebook, especially when it comes to adult reading. She is too young to understand. I’m talking about innocent talk that she may not understand.

If I had an 11 year old child (boy or girl) I would say, " you have a lot more fun things that you can be doing besides Facebook". It’s too easy for others to get on, which could make it easier for him/her to read things that are not appropriate for his/her eyes.

 So sorry to hear that her mom is calling her " sexy daughter". That leaves a bad taste in my mouth. 

 Wish you well ! My prayers are with you! :gopray2:
                                                           Angel Face

I wouldn’t bring it up in any conversation with either of them. If the aunt brings it up, I’d mention the facebook age policy: “Well, I think at her age niece would be bored with my page, but I also found out that facebook has an age limitation of 13 (or whatever it is).” If the niece brings it up, I’d say “Oh niece, you know I’m your friend, but my facebook page is really for my grown-up friends. I’ll be in touch with you by phone (or however you normally talk).” I’d stand firm here because by ‘friending’ her, you are also linking her into your other friends. Once the chain is long enough, she may run into some unsavory characters tht she could have avoided otherwise.

OT: but isn’t your wife’s aunt’s daughter really your wife’s cousin and not her niece? A niece would be her brother or sister’s child, right? I’m always so confused by this stuff!


Under section 4, it explicitly says that users under the age of 13 may not have an account.

This is actually really funny to me being that most of my college-aged peers are experiencing the exact opposite–aunts and uncles who want to friend their nephews and nieces. Sometimes people just don’t realize that they will be perceived as nosy… :onpatrol:

OT: yeah you’d be right generally speaking, but when it comes to families the rules arne’t so straight and narrow. :wink: Of course the OP might have misspoke too, you never know.

I have a huuuge extended family with many cousins and aunts and uncles and nieces and due to some of the kids being raised by grandparents (rare instances, but still) we have a few “neices” who are actually cousins too. I know, it can be confusing LOL.

Why would you put ANYTHING on your facebook page that you do not want the whole wide world to know?

Weridly enough my mother and grandmother both just joined and i encouraged it. Guilty party!! :smiley: It makes things easier when sharing pictures instead of 20 different emails about which picture we like best we can all make funny post or comments on them. Also it lets each other know what is going on such as job postings or asking for suggestions from friends on different things. I would email people but then there is that tack things of Reply all that some of my friends seem to do and alot of people change email addresses so i lost their contact infomation but with facebook its easy to keep up with. Take today i was able to celebrate in the birth of a friends baby. I wouldn’t have gotten to talk to her about the pregency or known to keep her in my prayers today while in deilvery if not for facebook. One status update and everyone is aware! It Is it addicting…well it can be…but that is a different thread.

I know my younger cousins (under 21) are on facebook but i haven’t befriend any of them yet. I will wait until they are out of college because i am sure they don’t want to see their older cousins talking about babies and how old we are until they are old enough. I just believe there is an age difference that needs to be respected. Some of my friends who teach HS CCE classes make it clear that we (their friends) aren’t allowed to post certain things on their walls since others can see them and it wouldn’t be apporiate for HS’s to see.

First she shouldn’t have an account but since she does its a moot point. If you do add her then limit her profile so that she can only see your profile picture and thats it. Then you could keep the “great chat” feature open. (btw i hate facebook chat it is the slowest thing ever and has way to many gliches. Stick to gmail or AIM or yahoo for chat.)

Basically i don’t think you are out of line by not accept her friendship but if you did you could also use it to keep tabs on her and her behavior in pictures or talking with friends (which of course her mother should be doing!) then you could mention stuff to her like i don’t think what you’re wearing is age apporiate. Be the annoying uncle and boom your off her facebook page!:slight_smile:

Me personally, I would not let her be my friend. i would not allow my Daughter to have FB account, If i had kids. There are so many evil people out there I would not want to expose her to that until i felt she was mature enough to handle me explaining why those people are evil. I would not even let my 11 year on the internet until I explained why there are certain sites that are blocked.

Stick to your Guns Good sir. Even if it makes them hate you. If you feel it is wrong then to you it is wrong and if it Goes against your conciseness and you willing do it. Guess what that is 2 out of 3 for mortal sin, might as well be.

Obviously your wife’s aunt knows and has allowed her daughter to go against the rules of facebook , and create an account which would include her entering a false birth date. Bad judgment IMHO and I would use that as your reason for not friending her.

For what it’s worth both of my younger sisters, ages 12 and 11, have made facebook accounts with false birthdates and friend requested me. I won’t friend them either.

It’s not so much that as:

  1. Our lives are way different. She lives a child’s life with her parents and I live an adult life with my wife. We never even talk except when we are there to visit, or they are here to visit. Also, they live about 300 miles away so it’s not all too often.

  2. Chatting on facebook isn’t needed in my opinion. While it is nice to say hi, and ask how school is going and such, there really isn’t much to say after the pleasantries. We go there about twice a year (so it’s not like we talk a lot anyway) and it’s not like I have a lot in common with an 11 year old. The phone can be picked up if there is something we need to talk about, birthday wishes, etc.

  3. As she is a child, one might expect her to act like a child. This could mean making inappropriate comments about family disputes or happenings on my status update or wall which should really not be aired for everyone to see. Not to mention on other people’s pages as well. She’s not of the age where she understands discretion, and giving her the ability to post something that all of my friends and family will see at the push of a button (i.e. no time to consider what you are saying or who will read it) is not the way to learn discretion.

  4. Can you trust an 11 year old to keep her account secure? What if she gives the password to someone, and they start to write all kinds of stuff all over other people’s pages as a joke? If you were a friend of mine and saw that an 11 year old that I was friends with wrote something indecent on my wall, I would have a lot of explaining to do. People who would be asking “uh…Andy…about that post on your wall…what’s that about.” Best not to even go down that road…

  5. She’s a **young **child and I’m and adult. Just as parent’s shouldn’t try to be their child’s friend (and I’m talking about in real life here), I personally feel that’s going beyond a proper child/adult relationship.

  6. Age and maturity and closeness of relationship do matter to me. If she were 16, mature, and a direct cousin or niece of mine that I was close to, I would think that’s a different story. But think about it, if you were 16 would you be wanting to add your much older uncles and cousins to your facebook? Most I know wouldn’t. Oh, and to the poster who said “wouldn’t she be your cousin?”, technically you are correct. However with such a severe age difference (11, I’m 34, wife is 32) it’s hard to think of it that way.

Oh, for the record, I am not adding her for sure.

Dear AHapka,
Best wishes,
Angel Face
P.S. I’m sure your wife feels the same way and is glad you are not adding your cousin/niece to your FB account! :thumbsup:

I think there can definately be a line that is drawn between an ordinary adult conversation and something appropriate for an 11 year old.

Even something as common as discussing TV shows. There would be nothing “the whole wide world” couldn’t know about his thoughts on the plots of Mad Men or Boston Legal or another “TV-17” show, but does the 11 year old neice really need to be in the middle of it?

The poster who talked about the “kid’s table” vs “adult table” at Thanksgiving was on to the right idea. And so is facebook actually, by having a rule about the minimum age for participation.

How did this child get the account?

2 days ago I tried to help my DS sign up for a FB account and he kept getting the message you are ineligible…so I checked the rules and one has to be 13 to get a FB account. SO I told him he had to wait 3 years as I did not want him lying about his age.

I was helping DS get a FB account with the understanding that I would be a friend and keep an eye

I agree with this completely. I have just over 200 friends on FB (for the person who questioned how someone could have 100 friends, it’s actually quite easy–I nearly hit that just adding family), including coworkers, a couple priests, several of mine & my kids’ current and past teachers, etc. I’d never post something that could come back to haunt me. I have a few friends who landed in hot water over stuff they posted, including one or two who lost their jobs over comments they made.

That being said, I do have a few nieces & nephews aged 10-13 as friends on FB. I’m pretty close to each of them and don’t consider it a big deal. They each have 15-30 friends, all of whom are friends or relatives of their parents, and they primarily use FB to play games. They get a huge thrill anytime they reach me (or any of their grownup friends) on chat or if I leave a comment on their wall. Although I’d never post anything inappropriate, having them as friends keeps me even more mindful of the comments I post. While I wouldn’t let my own kids have accounts before they’re old enough, as long as the kid’s parent keeps close tabs on their child’s online activity, I don’t think it should be a problem.

Ok, while you would never post anything inappropriate, what if they did? My wife actually did add her as a friend and has already gotten comments about how hot so and so is put on her wall.

Also, how would her mom keeping close tabs on her online activity prevent a problem??? For most normal parents, perhaps. But I don’t know that I’d feel the same way with her mom…

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