New Facebook Law Won't Help Our Teens

facebook sign upA new state law that will make Facebook friendships between students and teachers illegal sounds like a great idea. Just think, a ready excuse handy for all those teachers who just want to be allowed to have a personal thought and admit it on Facebook without having to make a friend requesting kid feel bad! If only they'd offer something similar for the rest of us over-18s who'd like a little distance from the neighborhood ankle-biters. 

But as much as I'd love to show the State of Missouri some love for drawing a clear line between adult and child, I'm going to let the grinch out. Really, Mom and Dad, it had to come to this?

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According to folks in Missouri, the "student protection act" will help cut off all those naughty student/teacher sexual relationships. It will protect our children! [Clutches pearls to chest] The bill, as it reads, notes that:

Teachers cannot establish, maintain, or use a work-related website unless it is available to school administrators and the child's legal custodian, physical custodian, or legal guardian. Teachers also cannot have a nonwork-related website that allows exclusive access with a current or former student.

Beyond the fact that the words "former student" are rather nebulous (I'm friends with former teachers on Facebook, and I've had private messages with some of them that included titillating topics such as "how old is your daughter now?" and "where are you working these days?" I'm a grown-up, but I'm still technically a "former student." Edit: this law does dictate "former students" must be under 18, but doesn't actually require the child ever actually BE the teacher's student. The child need only have attended the school where the teacher works.), the law is legislating that parents have to be involved in any teacher/student communication online. Didn't they learn anything from California's attempts to pass a "Facebook law" giving parents authority over their kids' social media?

Laws don't make kids honest. Smart, involved, good parents do. An involved parent should know who their teen is friends with online. A smart parent has talked to their kid about what makes for an appropriate adult-to-kid relationship. And a good parent stays on their kids about it.

We don't need this law. We need parents to take responsibility for parenting their own kids ... and maybe to tell their kids to leave the adults alone on Facebook.

Do you see any merit to this law? Are your kids friends with their teachers?

 

Image via Facebook

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