How does your 12 yo explain to someone that he doesn't want them as a friend on FB?

(43 Posts)
beachyhead Wed 28-Aug-13 18:27:02

Boring boring FB question, but we have just allowed our 12 yo ds to have it, as he turns 13 soon, and wanted to contact people over the summer... He has a bit of a being bullied history at school, so I've been very aware of who he has accepted as a friend and who he has rejected...

I know when he returns next week that he will be asked 'why did you say no to my friend request?' by a couple of the lads in the 'it' group who are not very pleasant to him. What's a good response?

He could go the 'well, you and I don't get on' or the 'I'm only having a few people on it'...

What has worked for you? (and yes, I know he is only 12, but..)

pizzaqueen Wed 28-Aug-13 18:33:45

as far as I know they won't know he's rejected the friend request so he could just say 'oh I haven't checked it in ages' or say he just forgot?

PavlovtheCat Wed 28-Aug-13 18:37:11

If you are even worrying about this, and he has been bullied, what an earth are you doing letting him have an account? It is legal at 13, but it's not compulsory .

beachyhead Wed 28-Aug-13 18:38:17

I know one little shit lovely boy has asked twice, so I'm assuming he knows he's been rejected the first time... Just want to arm him up for his return... but you are right, saying he hasn't checked is good, I just don't want it to become an issue (equally I don't want the unpleasant ones to have 'access' to him at home)

beachyhead Wed 28-Aug-13 18:58:57

It must be possible surely to have a FB account and NOT be bullied? It was to enable him to chat to his actual real lovely friends while they were all on summer break....

It's just how to explain to the bullies that he is not accepting them as friends, in a way that doesn't lead to more bullying?

Any ideas?

TheFallenNinja Wed 28-Aug-13 19:01:33

How's about I don't want to be your friend because you are a tool.

Pretty unambiguous.

Kaluki Wed 28-Aug-13 19:01:39

Could he add them as friends then restrict their access to his page.
I did that with my SIL as I really can't stand her but would cause a row to delete her. To her it just looks like I don't have any pictures or statuses. She just sees my profile pic and a few basic details.

monstermissy Wed 28-Aug-13 19:04:25

You could accept the friend request but put them on a restricted profile so they only see his basic info rather than all his comings and going, you can make a friend list with settings customised to only see certain stuff. Then hide them from his news feed so he won't see their news without going looking for it. Lots of faff tho...

Moxiegirl Wed 28-Aug-13 19:05:17

I would suggest accepting for an easy life then ditch and block them later, they probably wouldn't notice. Or accept and put them on limited profile viewing. Or just say (tbh this would be the toughest option to do) say 'I've only got people I'm actually friends with in there!'
With kids the logical option is not always the easiest to carry out!

JohnnyUtah Wed 28-Aug-13 19:11:36

What would happen if he accepted the request now, then unfriended them later? Would they get a notification? They probably wouldn't ever think to check their friends list for his name.

purpleroses Wed 28-Aug-13 19:16:00

If he accepts and then unfriends them later they won't get any sort of notification and probably won't notice.

pizzaqueen Wed 28-Aug-13 19:21:55

kaluki you just prompted me to put my own sil on a limited profile. will she know? she doesn't post much so I think she might have me on one?

IrisWildthyme Wed 28-Aug-13 19:22:12

On FB you can put friends into different groups - I have "real-life friends" "distant friends" "friends of friends" and "colleagues". He could have "Actual friends" and "classmates" - You can then set the default for most status updates and other actions to only be available only to Actual friends rather than all friends - perhaps putting an occasional thing on that is visible to everyone. The as far as the less-nice people in the class know, he's just someone who doesn't bother with facebook much.

AmberLeaf Wed 28-Aug-13 19:23:59

This is why it isn't a good idea to have facebook at that age/or if there have been bullying issues.

I really don't think accepting them as friends but restricting what they can see is wise either, that's starting off having people you don't want on there! better to stick to trusted people. even if you restrict what they see, they can still private message him which is where the bullying often is.

It's just how to explain to the bullies that he is not accepting them as friends, in a way that doesn't lead to more bullying?

There probably isn't a way.
Why do you think they want to be his 'friend' on facebook though? because if they have already been arseholes to him, they aren't going to suddenly be nice are they?

Happychick1 Wed 28-Aug-13 19:28:06

On Facebook you can set his settings so that he may only request friends. You can also set it as no message until friends. This would be the best way your child can then pick who he requests as friends. When these people look him up they would have no way of contacting via the site x

beachyhead Wed 28-Aug-13 19:39:13

I've set it up as no messages unless from friends, so he is safe on that score... and only friend requests from friends of friends...

I like the 'you are not my friend because you are a tool' but I suspect that might lead to a swift fight smile

I like the restricted nature of certain friends, but like Amber said, I'd prefer him to just have his real mates on there...

But yes, they all ask to be each others friends, even if they don't like each other, think it is a numbers game at that age.

Moxiegirl Wed 28-Aug-13 19:39:56

That's a really good idea happychick' then he has total control.

TheGirlFromIpanema Wed 28-Aug-13 19:53:06

It is legal at 13, but it's not compulsory

its not actually illegal to have a fb account at any age.

I'm stating this so people know they are not breaking the law by allowing under 13's to have one. I'm not passing comment on whether it is or isn't a good idea.

TheGirlFromIpanema Wed 28-Aug-13 19:53:42

It is legal at 13, but it's not compulsory

its not actually illegal to have a fb account at any age.

I'm stating this so people know they are not breaking the law by allowing under 13's to have one. I'm not passing comment on whether it is or isn't a good idea.

TheGirlFromIpanema Wed 28-Aug-13 19:54:11

oops sorry. Hit the back button blush

Viviennemary Wed 28-Aug-13 20:01:29

I think if you even suspect your child is being bullied Facebook is not a good idea. Of course in an ideal world this shouldn't happen. But reading posts on MN it is obvious even adults can get quite upset over things on FB.

exoticfruits Wed 28-Aug-13 20:09:26

Reading posts on MN you wonder why anyone is on it- it causes major upsets!
I would just get him to hide his friends list so that no one knows who he has and then say that he doesn't bother with it much and didn't notice their request- sound vague and bored if they mention it again.

exoticfruits Wed 28-Aug-13 20:10:33

I can't see the point in having different lists- if you don't want certain people to see things then don't bother having them as friends!

PavlovtheCat Wed 28-Aug-13 20:10:39

I stand corrected by the legal age of it. But stand by the comment about it not being compulsory.

TheGirlFromIpanema Wed 28-Aug-13 20:15:03

I genuinely wasn't having a dig at you Pavlov.

It just winds me up when its bandied about as being illegal as dd's headteacher did when she was in yr 6.

Poor kid came home in pieces as she thought we were all breaking the law.

I think Cameron & Co have a bit more on their plates than debating age restrictions on facebook accounts grin

beachyhead Wed 28-Aug-13 21:39:38

I'll think he will be fine, but I think the different lists are worth investigating... Thanks guys...

IrisWildthyme Wed 28-Aug-13 22:57:41

exoticfruits you are lucky then not to have had the dilemma that is quite frequent for many FB users - that if you refuse the FB friend request of someone, you can make your real-life interaction with them difficult. The OP is about precisely this dilemma. I'm glad FB didn't exist when I was at school - but if it had done I know exactly which classmates would have expected to be in the friendslist of everyone in the class but would then delight in making snide, catty and hurtful comments on FB, only just short of bullying. They would make those classmates lower down the social pecking order accutely aware that de-friending on FB would be tantamount to a declaration of war, and would bring far worse consequences. I know this happens and the OP is quite right to think about how to avoid it.

Kaluki Thu 29-Aug-13 00:19:18

Pizzaqueen I don't think SIL knows she is restricted. She has never said anything about it - and she definitely would bitch about mention it if she knew. She's like that!!

exoticfruits Thu 29-Aug-13 07:59:13

I'm glad it wasn't around when I was a teen. But my comment was supposed to be helpful- I don't hide mine - but can't you hide your list of friends from everyone? If they are hidden you can just plead ignorance and say you haven't noticed it- they can't keep asking if you have seen their request.

exoticfruits Thu 29-Aug-13 08:04:35

If your list of friends is hidden and your page has strict controls then they can't know how often you are ion there- you can just loftily imply that you have better things to do and haven't noticed them.

ItsDecisionTime Thu 29-Aug-13 10:10:58

If it's going to cause too many problems, tell him to accept them but put them into a restricted group then set the Privacy settings to exclude them from his posts. They will never know.

PostBellumBugsy Thu 29-Aug-13 10:23:24

beachyhead - really great that you are helping your DS with this. I'm a great believer in setting up FB with your DCs, while they are still young enough to accept your help with it. It is one of the most used sites by young people, so well worth your DS getting his head around it all.

Yes, it is possible for young people to use FB without being bullied, but there are some really important lessons they need to learn as well:

Make sure you have got your privacy settings set properly.

Never friend anyone you don't know.

Never post anything on FB that you wouldn't want your teacher or future employer to see.

Never slag anyone off on it - however tempting it may be.

Be careful about acting like a tit in public, where your friends could take pics & post them of you.

If there is someone you are not keen on being friends with, it is ok to ignore their requests - if your privacy settings are done properly, then they won't be able to see that you are active.

Never think that private messaging is 100% private - in the same way that an email could be forwarded to anyone, so could a private message. Basic rule, never put something in writing that you wouldn't be prepared to have shared publically.

If you are a girl, don't put a whole load of pics up showing your midriff, pouting and generally trying to look like Rihanna - unless you want everyone to think you are trying way too hard to get a boyfriend!!!!

Probably teaching my grandmother to suck eggs here, but that is some of the stuff I have gone through with my two.

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 29-Aug-13 10:28:11

Can't he just say "we're not friends"? The idea of friending a bully to placate them makes me very uncomfortable.

beachyhead Thu 29-Aug-13 11:45:47

Thanks Post for your post, that's all great advice. You are right that I'm trying to help him get it right early on, while he will listen..

Also loads of his best friends are outside school, so it's nice that he can sort of bring them together.

His sister who is 16 is helping us through it too, especially the 'don't look like a tit' bit grin

I think the stock response will have to be, 'I'm just keeping it to close friends for now'... And we will see how it goes.

Perfectly prepared to close it down if it all goes wrong, but I think having a fb account and it working for you, not against you, must be possible.

Thanks again to all...

beachyhead Thu 29-Aug-13 11:47:56

Also Iris, you are right about certain people in the year want everyone to be their friend, then they can play them, mock them and defriend them. That's exactly what we are trying to avoid...

Chopsypie Thu 29-Aug-13 11:52:32

Can he blame you? And say my mum only lets me have people that she's met?

zipzap Thu 29-Aug-13 13:38:56

How about 'I'm going for quality not quantity'

exoticfruits Thu 29-Aug-13 17:58:45

Can someone tell me how it works? I can see that you restrict who sees your posts and so they don't appear on their newsfeeds but if they click on your names would they see anything or would it just be what the public in general sees?

MmeLindor Thu 29-Aug-13 18:09:35

Great post, PostBellum.

I agree with all of that, and 'I don't use it much, so just keep it to good friends' is a way of putting it that will hopefully not cause trouble.

if you set your profile (or individual posts) to private, then only the people you have shared with will see your posts, even if they click on your profile.

I check my privacy settings regularly because FB are good at changing things and not telling anyone. Get into the habit of making sure that it is still private, and be careful what you post - as PostBellum said, even a private message can be screenshot and passed on to a third party.

exoticfruits Thu 29-Aug-13 18:13:26

Mine are set to friends MmeLindor, and I regularly check to see what people who are not friends see- I am just not sure what happens if you restrict a particular person. I haven't done it because I can't see the point of having them as a friend if they can't read it all- just curious.

MmeLindor Thu 29-Aug-13 18:16:06

I haven't done it either, cause I only have folk I want on FB, but can understand that it is easier than not accepting a friend request from MIL or SIL

exoticfruits Thu 29-Aug-13 19:01:28

I think that I will test it and see what happens.

MrsMongoose Fri 30-Aug-13 15:20:18

I'd have accepted them, then restricted the settings so that unsavoury people can see nothing, and can't post.

I've done this to my mil!

Everybody wins, mils feelings aren't hurt, boys don't ask your son questions, son gets to use fb as he chooses.

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