Old Friend or Pedophile?

I’ve stumbled upon another Internet quandary somewhat new to society.
I know a lot of…younger kids. I teach and work at a summer theater camp that has students from 2nd grade to 12th. And the school it’s held at is within a close-knit community. I went to the same school for 12 years, which was slightly neat, unless you’re Dwoo! and you cried once in 2nd grade during a thunderstorm and by the time you were a senior, you still couldn’t live it down. I’m sorry you Googled yourself, Dwoo, and found out that I retained this tidbit of information that occurred in 1988. I didn’t have it much better. I was the girl who told the 5th grade art teacher that I was not allowed to watch rated-R movies, thus depriving the rest of the class the wonder that was “Running Man,” starring my state’s governor.
My brother also went to the school, and my mom still remains an active member of various activities there. So it’s really like a 1950s town where I can stroll into the pharmacy and ask ol’ Doc Jenkerson how the twins are doing, lob a shiny apple to elderly Mrs. Wetherbee, and tip my cap to the youngsters playing hopscotch outside the local soda jerkery.
So imagine my surprise when, while absentmindedly clicking various myspace links, I stumbled upon a girl I used to babysit. I hovered over the link to add her as a friend, and then I hesitated.
Maybe she doesn’t remember me. I don’t know the names of any of my old babysitters. Would I *want* my old babysitters friending me and coming to my site? I feel like we would then both be limited in potential future postings.
A few of my campers delight finding me on myspace and facebook, because clearly I should be like most adults in the 1950s-like town we grew up in that refer to the entire internet as “AOL,” think e-mailing and IMing are the same thing, and use the internet solely as a way to circulate forwards about angels to everyone they’ve ever met.
Then…some of them forget that I can view their global postings and bulletins about drunken escapades, smokin’ in the boys’ room, and/or various images that would make the Girls Gone Wild producers blush. I don’t judge them any more than I judge some of my friends who do the same types of debauchery, but there’s a line between us. Isn’t there? I’m supposed to be a figure for them — authority, character development, anything. Aren’t I? I knew their mothers when they were pregnant with them!
So I ask you, dear readers. Am I right in thinking that only bad things could come from friending someone much younger than me for the purpose of staying in touch? Will I just be embarrassing myself? Setting up for future disaster on either of our parts because our pasts are so connected?
And, yes, let’s drop our pretenses for a moment and allow me to admit that I do enjoy using these social networking sites as a method of procrastinating. There’s only so many times I can refresh my email.
I guess I just don’t know how it’s done nowadays. My friend Scott is a teacher, and I believe his students have access to his livejournal. Then again, Scott is not the type of person who would ever do the kind of muckraking that’s done here on the HBM. He’s like a Disney movie — enjoyable and funny to both children and adults without sacrificing any humor by not being able to swear or talk about porn.
And, if any of you crazy high school kids read this blog, do your teachers have websites? Would you respect them less or more if they did? I know they would have to censor themselves, just because that’s the way things go. Can’t have Mr. McLanahan blogging about what a douche the principal is, now can we?

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