Accepting every friend request vs. leaving people out

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Accepting every friend request vs. leaving people out

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Friend requests are challenging, because kids want to collect friends, they want to collect the number of friends. Many parents feel horrified by the number of "friends" kids have, and at the same time you don't want a child to reject friends, or exclude people. We teach our children from a very young age to include everyone, be aware of other children's feelings, look around you, and so how do we navigate that as they get older, and as they go online. My feeling is you have to give them some leeway. You're going to be sending a mixed message if you say, "Only 'friend' people that you know face to face" and then somebody who may think they're cool, from another school who is a geek, they don't want to "friend." You can't send them the message "Don't 'friend' everybody, but be really nice and don't leave that person out." You have to give them some leeway to figure out who's appropriate to "friend" and who's not appropriate to "friend" and who they feel comfortable with. If you feel like it's turning into a bullying situation, and there is one person that all your child's friends are excluding, that is a different matter; then you may want to talk to your child about including that person at least online, because it's really not that difficult to hit "okay" to a friend button, but I would say don't push your child to friend a whole bunch of people they don't know, or to friend people just because they're going to be left out.

See Yalda T. Uhls, MBA, PhD 's video on Accepting every friend request vs. leaving people out...

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Yalda T. Uhls, MBA, PhD

Regional Director, Common Sense Media

Yalda T. Uhls, MBA, PhD, is the Regional Director of Common Sense Media, the leading non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. Yalda's own research with the Children's Digital Media at UCLA was written about in the New York Times, CNN, Time Magazine, The Huffington Post, and more. As an expert on media’s effects on children, Yalda has been featured on the BBC News, KPCC, the LA Times and many other news outlets. Her awards include UCLA's Psychology in Action Award for excellence in communicating psychological research to audiences beyond academia as well as honorable mention for the National Science Foundation's GSRF. Yalda's former career as a Senior VP at MGM, in film production, informs her perspective that media content has great power to socialize children, to inspire and teach as well as to be used inappropriately. In her talks, she brings her deep knowledge of the latest research about how children ages eight to 18 use media, as well as a realistic understanding of how digital natives use media from her experiences with her two children, ages 10 and 13.  Her newest book, Media Moms & Digital Dads: A Fact-Not-Fear Approach to Parenting in the Digital Age will be published in Fall 2015. 

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